Eric Lein has been in love with Corvettes all of his life. He wasn't sure when he was bitten by the proverbial Corvette bug until April 27, 2003. He was outside, washing his brand new '03 coupe. The smooth, refined lines of his two-day-old Electron Blue Metallic Corvette sent him back to when he was 6 or 7 years old. He and his family were living just outside The Bronx in New York City. Times were tough for his family back then, and they walked to just about every destination. One day, he was walking down the street with his father and brother when he noticed a sweet C2 cruising past them. But this thing didn't just cruise past them--it was a dark beast that rumbled down the street. Eric was smitten. It was unlike anything he'd ever seen, and he vowed to one day own what he thought was the "coolest car ever," the Corvette.
Fast forward to 2003. Parked in his Long Island, New York, driveway is his '03 coupe. It's a daily driver, but he puts it away when winter comes. Eric believes in driving his Corvette as much as possible--isn't that what they're made for?
The car features a 1SB package, a glass roof, high polished wheels, body side molding, a performance axle, and an automatic transmission. It also has tinted windows, a Z06 grille screen, stainless steel lettering, and a waterfall emblem on the torque tube between the seats. Those who know Eric well have nicknamed him "Mountain Bear," so "MTNBEAR" is on the vanity plate at the front of the car. He's been called Mountain Bear since he lived near the Catskills in upstate New York, and he has the personality of a bear--he won't give you any trouble unless you give him a reason. Originally, this vanity plate was on his '91 Corvette. He's tempted at times to make more changes to the '03, but it's a lease and goes back in a few months. Eric thinks about buying it outright since he's grown quite attached to it. What he really loves is the performance and handling of his C5. "It makes me feel like I'm on top of the world," says Eric.
He's so passionate about the Corvette that his life centers around it. He is the Internet Corvette specialist at RAMP Chevrolet Inc. He dreamed of having this position ever since he saw our Dec. '99 issue that had the RAMPAGE Performance Corvettes on the cover. The RAMP Chevrolet Corvette showroom opened in October 2003.
Eric now dreams of owning a Corvette from each generation, and hopes to realize this dream in the span of five years.
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For Walter Kompass, the idea of owning a mid-year Corvette was not a passing fancy. "It is my dream come true," he tells us. "I waited over 30 years, and until my four sons were out of school, to purchase a mid-year. I've owned the coupe for [a few] years now, and still get a rush when I open the garage door. I'm thinking that will never change."
This Corvette is a '65 Nassau Blue coupe with blue and white interior. It has been restored with the original powertrain 327/350 (L79), M20 four-speed, 3.55 Posi rear, factory A/C, side exhaust, repro gold-wall tires, AM/FM radio, and the Comfort and Convenience Group package.
Walter says he is the seventh owner of the car, and he has the names and addresses of all the previous owners. He adds the coupe started out in Long Beach, California, made two stops in Pennsylvania, then traveled to Scotia, New York; Bohemia, Long Island; and Hampton, New Jersey, before landing in Ronkonkoma, Long Island, where Walter lives. Many people have dreamed of taking their Corvettes cross-country. But this mid-year made its way from coast to coast slowly, passed along like a relay baton, until it reached the hands of the man who was waiting for it.