Steven Steele blogs about his fascination with everything automotive, starting with a ’36 LaSalle coupe when he was 15 years old and hitting a high point in 2007 searching for and finding a rare Copper Metallic Corvette. More than a half-century later, he’s still hooked.
It is almost impossible to explain to the novice exactly what a Carguy is, but among peers, it is clear. This person wouldn’t think of taking his or her car out in the rain; can only be brought to tears by a stone chip or scratch. A real Carguy is the one wiping the dust off his car at the show and the guy who thinks nothing of the extra steps to park his car at the edge of a public parking lot. This is truly what marks the difference between real car people and boys with toys, as detailed here in the STEELE DOSSIER: CONFESSIONS OF A CARGUY!
I found my ‘47 TR-1800 Triumph Dual Cowl Roadster on someone’s lawn in 1966. It took me over two years to restore what some generously called a basket case, and another five years before I would leave “Big T” alone at a car show. My fascination with cars had just begun and the beat has never slowed. My interests have changed a hundred times and, after that Triumph and ‘36 LaSalle, came a variety of makes and models: ’04 Cadillac, below, ’64 Olds Dynamic 88, ‘66 GTO, ‘50 Studebaker, ‘60 Corvette, ‘37 Cord Supercharged Phaeton, above, ‘30 Model A Pickup, ‘67 Corvette, Ford Rest-Mod Surfer Wagon and a ‘57 Chevy Bel Air Convertible powered by a dual-quad 283/245 small-block.Restored by Wendell Snowden, one of the country’s most respected Tri-Five Chevy experts, my Bel Air ragtop, below, is believed to be the only one known painted Canyon Coral with a rare black interior. After some 35 or 40 others, I can say that I have matured and now just love Corvettes. That was in 2001; times change!
I have chaired some 30 car shows, been President of a few car clubs, judged cars for most every major organization, including the AACA, VMCCA, ACD, NCRS, VCCA and others. Once a purist, I have learned to accept and even appreciate modified cars, customs and old-school hot rods. However, I still sometimes question why anyone would spend $10,000 or more to modify a new Corvette, but our hobby has plenty of room for those who march to different drummers!
Years ago I stumbled upon a ‘94 Copper Corvette, not realizing just how rare and special it was. I had to think about it for a while, but decided that I loved the color and have always had a passion for odd or special cars. After a little research I learned the meaning of “Love it or Hate it”, which apparently applies to the Copper Metallic color. Just to make things a little more difficult I decided I had to own one, but it had to be a very low mileage example! It took almost four years before I found my car, a “Copper” with under-6, 000 miles. Before this particular car, I had concluded from hundreds of photos and articles that all Copper Corvettes had tan interiors. I wasn’t positive I liked the black interior, but now I can’t imagine my car any other way.
I ran several Wanted ads on Corvette forums, in club newsletters, Hemmings and anywhere else I could think of. I followed every lead and found several cars over the years with 25,000 to 100,000 miles, obviously not the right car for me. I found that Bob McDorman was selling one of his cars, but wanted $40,000+, which simply wasn’t in the budget. In January of 2007, while on a business trip in Orlando, FL, I discovered that Roger’s Corvette Center had a ‘94 Copper Metallic Corvette. Upon inspection of the car, I fell madly in love, but its price was a deal-breaker. Needless to say, I didn’t buy the car (that day).
Almost one year later I was doing my monthly ‘94 Copper online search, and found a car with just under-6, 000 miles. It was only the second car I had heard of with black interior (Roger’s was the first). After having the car inspected by a service and negotiating with the seller, I learned that he had purchased Roger’s car six months prior. Even though he had put on new tires and done a few other maintenance items, he was prepared to take a substantial loss on the car. His loss was my gain. I made the purchase quickly, adding one more Corvette to my STEELE DOSSIER: CONFESSIONS OF A CARGUY!
I haven’t stopped smiling since and with all the cars I have owned over my hobby years, this is only the second car I have truly “loved” and have no intentions of parting with. It is 1 of 92 Copper Metallic Coupes, 1 of 8 with black interior and 1 of just 116 built in 1994.After moving from Miami to Sarasota, FL, in March 2015, I’m experiencing a whole new chapter in my Carguy life. Now living in beautiful Sarasota, FL and having a warehouse instead of a two-car garage, I can finally devote the time (and money) to my passion. I have owned three other Corvettes since living in Miami and have progressed from antique cars to Corvettes, above, ’95 Indy Pace Car; below, ’08 Indy Pace Car, and even slipped in a hot rod for a while. I still have four Corvettes. However, my tastes have changed.
I have been fortunate enough to find a group of REAL Carguys who have lowered their standards to let me into their international lunch group, below – Sarasota Café Racers, http://www.sarasotacaferacers.com/home.html
I have never met a nicer, more knowledgeable bunch of people, even though I have been around car enthusiasts most of my life. These guys have nothing to prove and are always willing to share information or help another member. I often find myself looking through the “car rainbow” at a Ferrari or Ford GT, or who knows what four-wheeled fantasy. Back to EBay and Cars-on-Line for my nightly search for the Supercar of my dreams!
With my office in my warehouse, one might wonder how I get anything done with seven sports cars just a few feet away and a computer that keeps finding it’s own way to Hemmings Motors online. I guess it’s the challenge of trying to make money to buy one more car for that empty spot on one of my lifts. My STEELE DOSSIER: CONFESSIONS OF A CARGUY! Is unquestionably a work in progress.
When Steven Steele isn’t searching for or playing with cars, he spends his time @ https://www.acfineartsite.com/ Still (car) crazy after all these years!