We meet Dave McLellan.
We made our usual stop at the Midway Diner out on Route 78 about 8:15 and it was still foggy and cloudy. As long as it didn't rain, the day would be OK. After our usual breakfast--pancakes or eggs--we were off.
We pulled into Carlisle a little after 10AM and it was cloudy, but the fog had lifted. We parked across the street from the fairgrounds on someone's lawn and headed in. This year we decided to start at the top of the fairgrounds and go to the GM tent first--we wanted to thank our Detroit contact in person. The fairgrounds were always a treat to look at as we walked into the main entrance on Clay Street. To the right was the Corvette only parking and on the left at the bottom of the hill were the old parts dealers. Up on the crest of the hill was the new car area along with the car care products and under the grandstand were the select vendors of jewelry, books, clothing items, and the car display of Chip Miller's (the owner of the Carlisle fairgrounds). As we walked in, we could all tell it was going to be a very exciting day for us.
Our friend Rick Conti from ConteCorvettes.Com.
We had already decided that this year we would head for the GM tent and start our journey there instead of the usual 'old parts' area. I can't even begin to tell you the excitement Mike and I felt as we walked up the slight hill towards the tent area. As we approached the GM tent we realized that none of us remembered what our Detroit contact looked like. It had been a few years since we last encountered him at Carlisle. Once we arrived at the tent I recognized one of the GM guys that we had meet at the Bash in April and asked him if he know our guy. He pointed him out to us and I pulled one of my Jersey Corvette Club business cards out of my pocket. As we approached him, he was talking to someone else. He looked over at me and I handed him the card....he started to laugh as he extended his hand out to us and we gave each other a bear hug. And he did the same when I introduced Mike. It felt like we were old friends seeing each other after a long period of time.
We immediately began discussing all the details of our cars and expressed our thanks to him for all his efforts. He was extremely gracious to us and took as much time as we wanted talking about the new interior and all the other features that we had questions on. We took several pictures with him.
It's Will Cooksey just before the famous tire burnout.
He told us that our cars would come off the assembly line on September 17th, the first day the new interiors (4LTs) would be available. He introduced us to one of the people that reported to him and excused himself to make a call. This guy told us that they were in a meeting when my call came in. He ran into the meeting and they were given the word to move these two orders to the top of the list and to tag them with GMNA allocations. The dealer would not have to make any special arrangements to get us the cars. We were told that once they were given their marching orders--the plant was called and our order numbers were put on the top.....it's nice to have friends in high places!!!
Then, out of nowhere Dave McLellan, the chief Corvette engineer from 1975 through the entire C4 era walks up and joins the conversation. We immediately asked to have some pictures taken with him and began discussing the difference between the C6 and the C4. What a terrific experience it was for guys like us. After spending a lifetime of loving Corvettes, to meet the team responsible for actually designing and building them was like being with the Gods of GM and Corvette Land.
From the GM tent we began our usual walk and hunt for old parts and trinkets. We really didn't have too much on our lists of things to buy so the pace of the walking was a little faster than usual. We made a stop at the C-Magic tent and I purchased some wax, we stopped at the Corvette Fever Magazine tent and renewed our subscriptions for another year and got our free T-shirts for doing so, and we stopped to allow John to get some keys made up for his Vettes.