Hitting the "Corvette Lottery"

I’m sure that many club members enjoy buying car raffle tickets when the spirit moves them. I like to buy car raffle tickets from time to time, especially for Corvettes that look like they’d be fun to win. I remember seeing an ad in Blue Bars for a 2005 Daytona Sunset Orange Metallic coupe about 6 months ago. The raffle was a fundraiser to benefit the National Kidney Foundation, which is a very worthwhile cause, so I bought (if I remember correctly) 6 tickets for $50, not thinking much about it afterwards. I’ve bought various raffle tickets over the years, only to find the stubs in my desk drawer about a year after the drawing and then toss out my losing stubs.

Well, it’s funny how your life can change with a simple phone call. It was 7:30AM on Monday, August 1, 2005 when my cell phone rang. I assumed it was one of my coworkers who was starting early that day and had an important question for me. Well, it was Patrick Dolan from the NCCC board calling me. I never met him, so I asked what it was about. He asked if I remembered buying some raffle tickets for a Corvette from the NCCC, and I told him that I probably did, since I do buy Corvette raffle tickets from time to time. He told me that on Saturday, July 29, at an NCCC convention in Saint Cloud, MN, that my name was on the winning tickets for the new C6. I thought it was a crank call and was skeptical that this was legitimate. He told me that this is a normal reaction from the winners, and he then gave me the phone numbers of the Chevrolet dealership from where the NCCC purchased the raffle car (Jack Cauley Chevrolet in West Bloomfield, MI) and the phone number of the Chevrolet dealership who currently had possession of the raffle car after the NCCC convention (Gilleland Chevrolet in Saint Cloud, MN). I also asked about a cash alternative, to which he replied that if I elected not to accept the car, I could choose $20,000 in cash instead (which would have been about $12,000 after income taxes), although the C6 was worth $49,195 window sticker.

Well, I told my wife about the phone call, and she thought I was joking or delirious. Then I called both Chevrolet dealerships to confirm that this was “the real deal”. After some serious discussions and deliberations, I called Patrick Dolan back the next day and told him that I would accept delivery on the new C6. After the initial “shock and awe” wore off a bit, it was like a dream come true to have the chance to own the “Starship Enterprise” of Corvette technology. I currently own a show-winning yellow 1973 Corvette Stingray coupe w/LS-4 454, which doesn’t even have a single computer chip in it anywhere. I spent 2 ½ years and a ton of money to restore this ’73 to show-winning condition, and I’ve only driven it about 3,000 miles since the complete restoration was completed in 2001. I now have the chance to really DRIVE a Corvette “super car”, so I couldn’t resist this opportunity.

Of course, with winning the raffle comes the dreaded 1099 form, advising the Federal and IL State Revenue departments of my good fortune, which would increase my income tax liability by around $19,000. The sales tax alone was about $3,500. Therefore, due to the need to come up with the extra cash, as well as lack of additional storage space, I had to make a very difficult decision: sell the new C6 or sell the beloved ’73 Stingray. It wasn’t an easy decision, but after about 2 days, I decided to keep the new C6 and sell my “pride & joy”. At the same time, I told my wife that since I decided to keep the new Corvette that I would also sell my 1997 Ford Mustang GT convertible (with only 27,000 miles) and only have one “toy” to insure and maintain. The hard part of that decision was that I’ve been the President of Stallion’s Gate Mustang & Ford Club for the past 2 years and I have a lot of friends in that club. But to move forward, sometimes difficult sacrifices may have to be made.

My Mustang sold in about 1 week to a local buyer, and with Internet advertising, I received an acceptable offer from an interested buyer in Texas for my ’73 Stingray in about 2 weeks. As I write this, the sales transaction hasn’t been completed, but I anticipate that it will go through okay. I may shed a tear when the ’73 is loaded up in the enclosed transport carrier to take it 1,000 miles away. I will miss this beautiful car, but I’m counting on the new C6 to create new thrills (and new memories) that I haven’t yet experienced when driving the ’73. And I do plan to DRIVE the C6, not keep it as a trailer queen or show car only. In fact, I’m flying up to Minneapolis with a friend of mine on August 19, and we’re going to drive it home to rack up the first 450 miles to “break it in” and to get acquainted with C6 technology.

If any of you who are reading this think about buying car raffle tickets, remember that you can’t win the car if you don’t buy any tickets, and SOMEBODY will win the car. It just happened to be my lucky day on July 29. I will likely still buy more raffle tickets, since lightning just might strike twice.

I would certainly like to thank NCCC for holding these annual raffles, and offering me the opportunity to buy raffle tickets to be the lucky winner of this beautiful new C6.

John R. Gordon
Sunburst Corvette Club MW-277
Midwest Region