Chicago weather isn't always perfect. As any resident or visitor knows, when the wind whips in off the lake, it's time to head inside and brave the cold from behind closed doors. But that's a lucky thing for Chicago Heights resident Mark Melka because if he lived someplace like Hawaii where the weather is nice all year, he might never park his 38,000-mile original Charcoal Metallic '89 coupe. And we do mean never.
"I use my Corvette as much as weather permits," proclaims the Chicago musician and recording pro. "I just like to keep my car looking new, like it just came off the showroom floor, but I still drive it as much as I can because driving a Corvette of any year is what it's all about."
Mark purchased the car new in 1989 after heading to the dealership to buy an '88 Corvette. But when he got there, the first of the '89s had arrived. This Charcoal Metallic paint scheme was so attractive, he purchased the car on the spot.
"I thought it had an aggressive look even with the transit coating [shipping coating] still on the paint," says Mark. "Once they removed the coating, you could really see the heavy metalflake in the paint. To this day, people still ask me if this is a custom color. It's great because I wanted something different from the usual color."
The original paint is still in place, thanks to Mark's TLC. Inside, the original saddle cloth interior is in perfect condition, right down to the Bose speaker system. He added the walnut wood dash and console inlays to spice up the interior look, along with a Pioneer CD/radio system for cruise-night comfort.
Underhood, Mark added a custom radiator to help cool the L98 5.7L V-8, and an ADS Superchip to enhance performance. Other changes include a K&N air filter, a throttle-body airfoil, an ACCEL cap and rotor, and a free-flowing Monza Custom EX exhaust.
Clearly, Mark's love affair with the coupe over the past 16 years has been a strong one. He says, "I've been going to car shows nearly all of my life, but the Corvette shows are the best. It's great to still get compliments on my car, be it for the paint condition, color, etc. after all these years."