A True Love Story: The Corvette Marriage
To us car guys, our car is our baby. We love it. We care for it. We wash it and pamper it. It’s something that someone who doesn’t share a passion for cars can’t relate to. When we hear someone say “Hey what’s the big deal it’s just a car”, we shake our heads: they simply don’t get it. For us, cars are life, we love our cars and we think somehow they love us back. The raw emotion that comes between car guy and his car is sometimes even similar to that of the emotion related with an actual loving human relationship.
The story of Helmut Gammer and his connection with the Corvette dances along these criteria but incorporates a story of boy meets girl, love and gut feelings. Let me explain:
Helmut was your typical Austrian teenager, he loved to ski, he attended school, he had strict parents and he had a steady girlfriend. His life was going just as he would expect, until one day he met a girl named Regina. He and Regina hit it off immediately, but there was a catch: Regina was leaving Austria to live and work in the dream land of Los Angeles, California, for one year. So she gave Helmut a clear ultimatum: Come visit her in LA for two weeks, then decide whether he wants her or to stay with his current girlfriend.
To some this might seem a bit farfetched: why fly halfway across the world just to spend time with a girl that he just met? Well for Helmut, he just knew: his gut told him he had to go. He knew that he had to see her again, the only thing he needed was a story for his parents so that they would allow him to go. So he did what any lovestruck teenager would do: he came up with the best believable story for his parents to buy into. Helmut asked them if he could go on a skiing trip for two weeks in the Alps. They easily agreed and gave him permission to go. Without hesitation, he took his skis, put them in the car, drove to the airport, and got on a flight headed to Los Angeles.
This was the biggest trip of his life at the time, as he had never been overseas. Regina was supposed to pick him up at the airport, but there was a delay in his flight, so he had to stay one more day in Europe. Regina, unfortunately, couldn’t pick him up the next day, so she sent a friend to pick him up at the airport. Finally, Helmut reached LAX, collected his bags and stepped out into the warm California air. He stood on the sidewalk with his bags, jetlagged, excited, and patiently waiting for his ride. A low rumble started to approach, he looked up and there it was: the most beautiful car he’s ever laid eyes on, a C3 Corvette. The curves of the car, the rumble of the V8, he had never seen or heard a car like that in his life. It turns out that this was actually his ride from the airport, so he got in, and away they went to meet Regina.
…And that’s how Helmut met his future wife Regina. After this trip, he knew his gut feeling was right and she was the girl for him. They got married and had two kids, one of which is a close friend of mine.
As for the Corvette, it stayed in his mind for years to come after that first meeting of the C3. Years later, he decided he had to have one. He attended numerous classic car rallies, did endless research on each specific generation and made his decision on the C1 Corvette for his first purchase. He admired this generation from all of the others; he wanted the first real American sports car. After this purchase, he decided on buying into a more modern version, one that he could really enjoy on a more day to day basis. So the C6 was bought, and now he has both dream cars in his garage.
Needless to say, that trip to LA changed Helmut’s life.
That is what the classic car hobby is about nowadays – buy yourself an old car and make something out of it you’re happy with, hit the road, be cool and use it as often as you can!read more
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