The build, as shown in the "Split Personality" series, was painstaking, but a mutant monster was not to be its final outcome. Instead, the red coupe met the extremely exacting standards of the Ridler class. "First of all, you have to be accepted in order to get in it," Rich says. "Then, when you arrive, they go through an entire evaluation of the car to make sure that it's as you presented it in your application." It also has to comply with a long-standing Ridler class rule: Contestant vehicles must be newly constructed, never shown or seen in public before in their finished state. "They also do a full operational check, because they want to make sure that it isn't just a 'shell' but actually a driveable car. When you get there, you have to start it up, it has to move on its own forward and backward, and it has to turn and stop, before they'll accept you into the Ridler class. We crossed that hurdle, and there were a total of 23 or 24 cars that were accepted into the class."
From that number, eight were selected as "Great 8" Ridler finalists. Though the Z06 didn't make it into the "Great 8," it was fortunate enough to receive several honors at 2008's 56th Detroit Autorama, scoring First Place in its class (Sports Car), as well as awards for Outstanding Paint, Outstanding Sports Car, and winning the prestigious CASI Cup, named for show producer Championship Auto Shows Inc. "We were told that's considered the Best in Show, outside the Ridler Award," Rich says.
They also came away with more than the trophy hardware-appreciation from fellow car-people, as they'd received with their previous Vette projects. "What we will remember most were the people we met and the comments they made. What we value the most is that people will look at what we've done and can appreciate, at least to an extent, what we went through to design and build it, and make it come out the way it did. That's really our greatest satisfaction-when somebody says, 'Wow! Look at that!' or maybe just seeing the expression on their faces."
While pro shops build many of the cars competing in the Ridler, Rich says the bulk of the labor that went into his Pro Classic Z06 came from him, his family, and friends. "The satisfaction that we get out of this type of project is that it's our concept ideas, our build, and our hands-on work, both design and construction, through every phase," he says. "A project of this extent involves many skilled and dedicated people, such as the folks at the Corvette Center who did the body and paintwork, the chroming by Allied Metal Finishing, the chassis from SRIII Motorsports, upholstery work by Interior Motives, as well as the custom machine work and many other components." Rich adds, "When you put 12,000 hours of your own time into something over four years, and you divide that time into days, you see that it was virtually an everyday, full-time project for those four years."
Over those four years, Rich showed how each area of his Pro Classic Z06 came together in the "Split Personality" series. He says it was a way to answer questions that Corvette lovers have asked and give folks some ideas and suggestions that may save them time on their own projects. "The main reason we did the project series was that we receive a dozen emails a week from people with questions such as 'what did you use' and 'how did you do this kind of thing.' We thought we could reach a broader audience by writing the articles. Putting the articles together was more work than you'd think, but we really enjoyed doing them."
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