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Hot rods rev up county

Kimberly Nicoletti

FRISCO – In a county dominated by sport utility vehicles, Corvettes turn heads, especially when 400 hot rods race into town.

Vette owners throughout the nation pulled into Main Street Sunday to compete for awards at the 29th annual Vettes on the Rockies car show, presented by the Denver-based Looking Glass Corvette Club.

Nearly 300 Vette owners drove from more than 13 states, including Florida, California, Texas and Minnesota, and 80-90 Looking Glass members came to Frisco to show their gems, polished inside and out. From 6 a.m. to 4 p.m., shiny red, white, blue, yellow, black and custom-colored vettes donning license plates such as MY5TH1, CROOZEN, WCKEDGM, ICATCHER, GREATV8 and IMPAID2 lined Main Street with their hoods wide open.

The Looking Glass, one of the largest non-affiliated clubs west of the Mississippi, invited Vette enthusiasts to compete in 13 classes, differentiated primarily by year, including high-performance and modified Vettes. Members of the club compete against one another and receive their awards at a separate ceremony in September; they do not compete against visitors.

“We want to give as many trophies (as we can) to our guests,” Looking Glass Vice President Terry Nuss said.

“We’re a bunch of old hot rodders providing an opportunity for fun for our guests,” judging chairman John Marsico said.

The fun began at the Silverthorne pavilion Thursday with a welcome party, continued with a timed autocross at the high school Friday and a three-hour poker run and rally from Summit County to Buena Vista Saturday, and ended with the car show Sunday.

Judges from the Looking Glass Club gave 58 awards to Vettes in the 13 classes based upon cleanliness, craftsmanship and quality of the engine, interior, exterior, wheels and paint.

Bryan Williamson, who lived in Breckenridge in 1993 and now lives in Las Vegas, won an award in Class B, 1963-67 Vettes, after spending four-and-a-half years rebuilding his 1965 black coupe. His ’65 Vette is one of only 769 produced.

“I bought it in 1999, and it was a complete rag,” Williamson said. “I had to tear it down to the frame and rebuild it from the ground up.”

Williamson purchased the car for $22,000 and spent every night and weekend he could working on and pouring more than $50,000 into it. It’s now appraised at $65,000, and the value increases at a rate of $5,000 per year, he said.

He spent 300 hours repainting it and completed the final touches a few weeks ago, when he found the Vette’s original rims on eBay.

“In 1972, the original owner pulled them off,” he said. “I just found them in New Jersey on eBay. The serial numbers on three out of the four rims match my car.”

“This is the greatest day of my life,” he said, holding up the award. “My wife said “don’t come home unless you win an award.'”

While some owners are dedicated to rebuilding Vettes with original parts, others prefer adding their personal touch to the hot rods.

Arizona residents Arlene and Lowell Vallon won an award in Class M (modified) with their 2001 yellow roadster. They customized both the engine and the interior to match the yellow exterior.

“(It’s more) about personality and creativity,” Lowell Vallon said. “You get a chance to create your personality in the car.”

Nearly 200 members belong to the Looking Glass Corvette Club, and collectively, they own more than 250 Vettes.

“We were drag racing in high school, drawing pictures of modified cars in junior high school,” Marsico said. “We spend hundreds of hours per year (working on Vettes). The hobby provides an outlet for a variety of interests (from racing to shows). It brings all these people together.”

“Our emphasis is on being a family club and having fun,” said Forrest Thompson, Looking Glass member since 1978.

The Vette show has been in Frisco since 1990, but next year it will be held at Beaver Run Resort in Breckenridge. For more information on the club, visit http://www.lgca.org.

Kimberly Nicoletti can be reached at (970) 668-3998 ext. 245 or by e-mail at knicoletti@summitdaily.com.


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