If ever youre driving the interstates and, out of nowhere, a silver streak zips by, it might just be Tom Cook in his 96 Collector Edition Corvette. Until Tom found this Collector Edition, he was, as his wife put it, going into Corvette withdrawal after the sale of his 68 just a few months before. He wanted the gorgeous Sebring Silver Collector Edition, and would have preferred the LT4 engine with an automatic. Since that combination wasnt offered, Tom opted for this automatic with an LT1, knowing he could enhance its performance to rival the LT4. A mild buildupa ported intake, CNCd heads, a performance chip, and a few bolt-ons like short-tube headers, 1.6 roller rockers, rocker arms, and 3.45 gearswould do the trick. The C4 has just under 60,000 miles on the odometer and a few more are added each day. Tom so appreciates the handling and maneuverability of this special C4 that he drives it daily, rain or shine. Theres nothing Id rather drive in the rain, Tom says. With good tires and the Corvettes engineered handling, you cant beat its wet-road grip. Tom is a product of the musclecar era and is, admittedly, an enthusiastic driver. Hes owned a variety of Corvettes over the years: the 68, a 73, and a modified 84.
Toms full utilization of what the Corvette has to offer isnt a worry, though. Hes a hands-on owner and does his own mechanical work on this and the other award-winning show cars hes restored in his fully equipped home shop. I learned to work on cars when gas stations were really service stations and full-service was the norm, he recalls. In high school, I was the night manager of a full-service Shell station in central Illinois. This was a complete repair shop that you dont find at todays gas stations. Even then, and through college, I wrenched on my cars. I had a 69 Firebird with a 400, a 70 Cutlass 442, and a 71 Dodge Charger with a 426 Hemi. After college, I bought a black 73 Corvette that, to this day, is still a favorite. Since Tom graduated from college with a degree and a new favorite, well forgive his youthful transgressions with other marques.
Toms philosophy is that one should respect the Corvettes beauty, grace, and collectability, but also enjoy driving it the way it was meant to be experienced.
We like your style, Tom.