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Classic Power Trip Bumper Crop Of Corvettes Turns A Thousand Heads At Car Show

Sun., July 27, 1997

FOR THE RECORD: 7-29-97 Wrong year: A photograph taken in Riverfront Park shows a finned 1957 Checrolet, but the caption in Sunday’s newspaper misidentified the car.

Parley Estes compares Corvettes to “Star Trek.”

“It’s like an aura,” said Estes, next to a 1969 black Stingray.

Estes and his girlfriend, Kim Renowden, joined about 1,000 other spectators at the sixth annual Corvette show in the Clock Tower meadow at Riverfront Park.

The Saturday show was sponsored by the Spokane Corvette Club, a group of 65 car owners scattered across Spokane, Montana, Idaho and British Columbia.

About 50 Corvettes of every color were featured in this year’s show, which attracted car fans of all ages.

“I want that one!” shrieked 9-year-old Stephanie Libey, motioning toward a silver 1997 Corvette. “It’s the style,” she said, explaining why the car was her favorite.

The owner of that Corvette, Ken Warren, has four of the sports cars. His 1997 model is coated with a special “Sebring Silver” paint, and cost about $44,000.

After buying four Corvettes, Warren promised his wife he’d go cold turkey.

“I want the license plate to read: LAST ONE,” joked Margaret Warren, 47.

Driving a Corvette is almost a supernatural experience, owners say.

“It makes me feel alive, and younger,” says 42-year-old Pat Thurber, who is treasurer of the club.

Renowden, 26, compares riding in a Corvette to space travel.

“There’s so much power,” she said.

“You can just take off.”

Corvette club members take off once a month for supper cruises, driving en masse to a regional restaurant for dinner. This fall, members will zoom up to Ainsworth Hot Springs in British Columbia for a 400-mile weekend jaunt.

Next year, Spokane club members will join Corvette groupies across the country on a weeklong cruise to Jamaica and Grand Caymans.

Club members even share special gestures. One of those is the “Corvette wave” exchanged between drivers of passing Corvettes.

“We’re wild and crazy, but it’s all good, clean fun,” said Thurber.

Everyone shares in Corvette pride, whether you buy a used model for $1,000 or a new roadster for $50,000, said Dick McCarthy, president of the Spokane Corvette Club.

Owning a Corvette also provides a certain sense of bonding, said 42-year-old Arlyn Thurber.

In the Clock Tower meadow, Alex May gazed at the cars.

“They’re kinda cool,” admitted 14-year-old May. “I’m not really a car fan, but I wouldn’t mind having one.”

, DataTimes ILLUSTRATION: Color Photo

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