A VISIT TO BOWLING GREEN
THE CORVETTE MUSEUM AND
Jerry and Vilawan M recently visited Bowling Green, KY and toured the National Corvette Museum and the Corvette Assembly Plant. The assembly process is a thing to behold. Incredibly high tech and very impressive. It's amazing watching all those pieces come together at just the right point to marry with other components and create, exactly "as specified", a car someone ordered. Amazing. But NO CAMERAS allowed. And, the museum really makes your heart go piddy-pat. Then, after touring the assembly plant and museum, head about 30 minutes down the road to Mammoth Cave - the largest cavern system in the world. Another memorable experience.
On our first day in Bowling Green we went to tour the assembly plant only to find that it was closed for tours that day. Union negotiations were going on. Local 2164 was the culprit - it's right there on the sign. But, tours were open the next day so we weren't too upset.
At the assembly plant
Entrance to the assembly
The plant is large and the tour involves
a lot of walking - but it's worth it.
As you enter the museum you come in through a huge entry lobby which has rows of beautiful new Corvettes waiting for their new owners to come and take possession of them. What a sight !!
A new owner (in the car) getting his personalized familiarization briefing before driving away.
And there he goes. Turn right at the corridor and head for the exit doors. See the crowd applauding.
The whole experience of going to Bowling Green to accept your new Corvette is an almost spiritual experience (A person who had done it told me that). Talk to John and Frances W - they'll probably confirm it.
Vilawan thought Zora Duntov had a very cute cam
Pretty realistic displays. How's this for nostalgia?
Some displays really take you back in time
A lot about Corvette racing history in the museum
Many beautiful concept cars
The design process
Who knew that Air Force Strategic Air Command General Curtis LeMay was the force behind the creation of the Corvette? But, it's true.
Victims of the infamous sinkhole. Some of the cars have been restored, but these will probably be kept as testimony of that sad history
In the Corvette Museum's Cafe, try the fabulous Corvette flavored ice cream (KIDDING ! Just kidding)
Have you ever seen a 1983 Corvette? No, because there was no 1983 Corvette. Check the Corvette Black Book which shows no entry between the 1982 and 1984 Corvettes.
But . . . . THERE IS ONE! It's in the National Corvette Museum. Here's a picture of it followed by its story.
The sign on the exhibit explains: "The planned 1983 Corvette brought forward some of the most far reaching design changes in Corvette’s history. Many changes included high-technology that had not been proven for automobile application….Although the technology was available, it had to be developed into the manufacturing process with the quality, reliability, and durability proven before production of saleable vehicles could begin. The initial plan called for introduction of the newly designed 1983 in October 1982. There were 43 pre-production models built (but) a decision was made to withhold production (for sale) until January 1983 and to serialize them as 1984 models. The Corvette was named "Car of the Year" by Motor Trend Magazine in 1984."
So, why were they held off until January? Before production lines began, California voted to make emission controls more stringent than ever, and the 1983 model wasn’t prepared to deal with it.
All 43 prototypes were ordered to be destroyed but canny assembly plant personnel hid one vehicle for years, changing the paint scheme, and moving it around until they received a commitment from GM that it wouldn’t be destroyed. You can see it today for yourself at the Museum!
And . . . . . . NOW you know . . . . the REST of the story !