Band of Corvette collectors share more than just cars

The National Corvette Restorer Society’s (NCRS) Annual National Convention was held the week of July 11, in Concord, N.C., corralling collectors from across the country. Some members trailer their vehicles, while others drive to each event in their cars – like Bill and Joe Elliott did in their Vette with 300,000 miles. But no matter where they’re from, or how they get there, they’re all part of a Corvette club like no other.

The NCRS began with a group of friends in the Midwest in 1974, and has spiraled into an international club with 45 chapters around the world. But its humble beginnings formed the foundation for the current nature of the club: It’s a group of friends, rather than just a crowd of collectors.

The NCRS “started as a club, but now it’s a family,” said Gary “Papa” Mortimer, one of the founding fathers and the owner of the No. 1 membership spot.

The club is painting a new portrait of the Corvette enthusiast, as it strives to create fellowship – regardless of ownership. Through the nondiscriminatory nature of the club, everyone and anyone can join, with or without owning a Corvette. But members admit this lack of ownership doesn’t seem to last long once the club gets a hold of you.

Mike Sams restored his first Corvette in 1995 using NCRS literature as a guide, and the rest is history. He and his wife Toni have now been members for 15 years, and they’ve cultivated some strong friendships.

“Friendship is number one, and cars are number two,” said Toni.

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