Addyman's CornerColumnists

‘The Look’ of Corvettes

By John Addyman

John Addyman in his Corvette with his grandson, Jeremy Loblaw.
John Addyman in his Corvette with his grandson, Jeremy Loblaw.

I know you’re going to do it,” my wife said to me. “I can tell by the look on your face.”

“What look?” I ask.

“That look,” she said, pointing at me.

“Do you see a look on my face?” I asked my grandson, Jaden, 13, who was standing in the kitchen with my wife and me.

“I don’t know what you guys are talking about,” he said, walking out the door.

My wife knew that Jaden and I were going to go out and drive some Corvettes. He was going to be my wingman for this exercise, this adventure.

This was three years ago, and I was thinking — just thinking — about a new car. My beloved Mazda Miata was in perfect shape and a great car, but I wanted something with a little more oomph. I promised my wife I would retire at the end of the year, and I had also promised myself that before I retired, I’d buy something I’d always wanted.

So Jaden and I were off to VanBortel Corvette in Macedon. I’d talked to the sales guy, Matt, after searching the inventory online, and he said he had two cars in my very modest price range — a 2005 `Vette and a 2006.

My first surprise was when we got there.

Three Corvettes were parked right in front. Matt and I shook hands and he handed me the keys to the first Corvette. “Take it for a ride,” he said. “Have fun.”

Jaden and I climbed in and seconds later, I was doing something I’d never done in 60 years of driving — piloting a Corvette. The car was bright red, sounded wonderful and was very comfortable. We put about 15 miles on our test drive.

We got out of the red `Vette and Matt was right there, handing us the key to the yellow ’06. Off we went again, Jaden telling me how this car was different, and it was. I liked the first car more.

As we got out of the yellow car after our run, I asked Matt about the third car that was parked right in front of the dealership. I’d noticed it didn’t have any license plates.

“That was just traded in,” Matt said.

I really liked the color and it had a translucent T-top.

“Can we drive it?” I asked. Five minutes later, Matt had put dealer plates on it and handed us the keys.

“I really like this one,” Jaden said. I did, too. We got back to the dealership and bought it. Matt said it would be inspected and ready to go in a couple of days.

When we got home a little later, my wife was waiting in the kitchen.

Jaden and I did our best to act like nothing had happened.

She was all over me: “What did you buy?” she asked.

“How do you know I bought something?” I asked as innocently as I could muster in my aw-shucks way.

Jaden was looking at the ceiling.

Later, he told me that he didn’t know what “the look” was when my wife, whom my grandkids call “Gammy,” first mentioned it, but now he did.

I loved my 2005 Corvette coupe for two years. I marveled that even though it was 13 years old, it looked great and I got all kinds of compliments about it. People saw that car and thought I’d spent a lot of money on it, but I didn’t — the Miata cost much more. I loved washing the `Vette and waxing it and driving it and having people stop in their tracks to tell me what a pretty car it was. It was splendid. It had a throaty burble that was music to my ears. I started to understand the Corvette mystique.

But then I got itchy for a convertible. The Miata was a convertible, but it was small and didn’t have much power. The 2005 `Vette was bigger and much more powerful, but it wasn’t a convertible.

Then VanBortel’s did it to me.

In the very early spring, the dealership scheduled a “Coffee and Corvettes” event and I got invited. I knew I was going to be tempted, so I took my wife with me — with our grandson, Jeremy, who was 12 at the time. I figured they could safely pull me out of the dealership if I found something that called to the 16-year-old inside me.

My ideal Corvette was a red 2012 convertible, with the “waterfall” bodywork that sort of melts from the outside of the car to the inside. I swoon for that car. I had reviewed the inventory before we set out, so I was sure there were no 2012 red convertibles available…I was safe.

Jeremy enjoyed looking at the cars with me and learning about them.

He also went through half a dozen doughnuts.

My dear wife was patiently chaperoning us, glancing now and then for “the look.”

And then it happened.

Sitting in the back row on the left, serene in its own presence, was a 2010 red convertible. It was exactly what I wanted. It had a crowd of interested people circling it. I heard guys talk about how great it looked, how great the price was and about all the extra equipment it had. It was a Corvette Grand Sport and my heart was going pitter-patter.

I stood next to the car, looking at the inside, daydreaming myself driving it.

“Gammy,” Jeremy asked my wife quietly, “does Granddad know he’s drooling on the car?”

Oh my God, I was.

I pulled out a clean handkerchief and wiped the little drool pool I’d left on the door frame. “I guess I better buy it now,” I said to myself, hoping nobody else had seen what I’d just done. I walked off to find Matt and make sure no one else in the crowd bought the car. “I’ll take it,” I told him. “Put a ‘SOLD’ sign on it. Now!”

My wife was giving me “the look” when I got back to her at the car.

“Is this going home with us?” she asked.

“Not today,” I said, “but yes.”

She shook her head. “Well, it’s pretty. Is this going to hold you for a few years?”

“It should,” I said.

And she gave me “the look” one more time.