Two Men – Two Dreams – Two Cars

David Plante
New England Region

Back in the early 1980’s my father decided to buy the car of his dreams. A 1980 red corvette.  

Not much horsepower then, but it had a 4-speed, and was candy apple red. It only had 6000 miles, and he made me wash it every weekend. (No, I didn’t get paid for it, and he only let me drive it three times).  

The first time he let me drive it was the first time I learned to drive a stick shift.  He was pretty patient, and I logged about 20 miles on the car on the way home, mostly with him holding on to the suicide bar on the glove box. I actually did really well, and I think he exaggerated a little too much. 

The second time, I asked to take it to the prom, and he said yes. I was told if anything happened to the car to not come home and just drive south. He assured me at some point he would catch up and deal with me. I took good care of the car that night, and was the center of attention. I had to have it back by 11 p.m. and ended up switching cars so I could stay out later.

The third time was the last time. I took my friend to the local store, and met someone else with a “Vette.” We bet each other $50 on who could first get to the center of town about 13 miles away, and off we went.  I lost, and one of the cars I passed doing 100 mph was my father’s best friend, Richie.  Richie called my dad and wondered why he was driving like a maniac on a Sunday afternoon weaving in and out of traffic. Once my father put two and two together, he had two things to say in this order”  

  • Did you win the race?
  • Give me the keys back.  

I actually think that if I had won the race, he would have been lenient on me, but I didn’t.  

Fast-forward 35 years.

It is May of 2014. My father is living in Virginia, and is dying. We talked every week, and he had mentioned that he liked the new style of the C7 Corvettes, and it would be cool to drive one. He requested that I drive down to Virginia, and start loading up my car with valuable stuff and get it back to Massachusetts.  I called the second largest Corvette dealer in the United States, and purchased one of those C7 Corvettes. You should have seen the look on my father’s face when I pulled up the driveway to his place. We spent the weekend driving around (he did most of the driving) and had a really good time. I will never forget how happy he was.  

On a side note, in June of the same year, my son asked me if he could take the car to the prom, (which was across the street from my house), and I said no, and he did not take it. My father reminded me how generous he was, and agreed with my decision.  

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