Bowling Green, Kentucky, isn't a bad place to live if you're a fan of the Corvette. But Chris Mills wasn't, until his father took him to work one day so the boy could shadow him. Chris' dad is the business manager at the Corvette assembly plant, and one day was all it took to make a believer out of Chris.
"I always wanted a Mercedes," he says. "I wasn't really into Corvettes. But when I went to the plant and saw what went into these cars, I immediately fell in love, and I had to have one."
So, Chris became pretty ordinary as a teenage boy living in Bowling Green and hungry for a Corvette of his own. Then he did something extraordinary.
Chris and his twin brother, Clinton, began an Internet company when they were sophomores in high school. Hitcents.com is a Web site and software development company that helps businesses manage their e-commerce and Internet advertising.
The company was such a success, by the time Chris was a junior, the 18-year-old was able to purchase this '01 Corvette coupe. Needless to say, the car stuck out in the high school's parking lot.
"It was great," he says. "I got a lot of attention from my friends. The speed is what was so amazing. I was not used to that. Plus, Dad always wanted a Corvette, and I got one before he did."
The '01 features a 350hp stock engine, a black interior, the heads-up display, a removable hardtop, and a CD stereo.
Unlike so many Internet companies that withered as quickly as they blossomed, Hitcents.com is still going strong. In fact, Chris, 21, sold this Corvette in order to move on to a Z06. His family found a unique way to surprise him with the car.
"I had been telling my dad and my brother for a while that the Electron Blue Z06 was the car I wanted," he says. "I was at the [National Corvette] Museum with them, and I saw one that was there for NCM special delivery. I said, 'Man, that is the exact car I would get for myself.' When we got down to the car, I saw it had my license plate on it. I was totally surprised. I drove it right off the floor. It was what I would have ordered anyway, I just didn't have to wait for it."
But even the Z06 probably won't be his last Corvette.
"I've messed around with the idea of getting a C6," Chris says. "I was thinking about getting one of the first ones, but it may be better to wait until they get the kinks worked out. What I will probably do is wait until the C6 Z06 comes out."
Chris is pretty sure he'll go the C6 route eventually, if he wants to keep up with the competition.
"I'm sure the [C6] Z06 will be showing up around here at some point," he says, "and I don't think I can keep up with them with the LS5 engine. I remember when the XLRs came out, you'd see them driving around all the time, testing them out."
It's just another one of the perks when you live in Bowling Green.