General Motors Bowling Green Assembly Plant Manager Kai Spande, not only builds new Corvettes, he’s also a long-time classic Corvette enthusiast. He has owned a number of Corvettes over the years and is excited about sharing his latest classic 'Vette with visitors to the National Corvette Museum, located near the Corvette assembly plant.
“I have owned a number of Corvettes and many other fun cars in my life,” said Kai. “My Corvettes have been: ‘78; ‘65; two ‘99s; ‘69 and ‘73 models. I performed lots of work on many of them, but for the first time, with my 1966, I bought an old Corvette that was ready to drive. Given the limited time I have to work on cars this made the most sense.”
Spande’s passion, beyond the current Corvette, is midyear big-block Corvettes. His ‘65 was a big-block convertible, although it was not an all-original car; the ‘69 was a real L71 optioned 435-hp coupe that he sold to Corvette restorer Kevin Mackay.
“Last year I decided to start looking for another C2 big-block Corvette,” he said. “I was able to locate this Corvette with only 39,000 miles on it. It was originally purchased in the Northeast United States, but was eventually purchased by a doctor in Franklin, Ken. He sold the car to a well-known collector and restorer who restored it to Bloomington Gold standards. It spent the next part of its life in California, until the owner passed away.”
Spande was attracted by the car’s low mileage, its originality and its level of options such as side pipes, a four-speed manual transmission, a 427-cid 425-hp V-8 and knock-off wheels. The power, noise and nostalgia are spectacular with this car.
“In a way, I believe that the C2 era of Corvette is reminiscent of what the new Stingray has done for the Corvette brand,” noted Spande. “At the time, this car was simply off the charts with technology and unparalleled performance--like the 2020 Stingray. The two cars are vastly different, but to me represent the same level of performance for their respective times. Although, the ‘66 is not the rarest Corvette in the world, it is a shining example of a fantastic time in Corvette history.”
Kai’s Corvette will be displayed in the lobby of the National Corvette Museum in Bowling Green, Ken., for several months. It will be on a turntable for 360-degree viewing. The museum is open daily from 8 am-5 pm Central Time.
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