"If it sounds too good to be true, then it probably is..." Those words went through my mind in March of 1998, when my wife called to tell me that she had just received a letter stating she was one of three people selected in a nationwide contest as the winner of new car. She had the choice of a Cadillac Catera, a Ford Expedition, or a Chevrolet Corvette. Needless to say, we decided on the Corvette!

I kept asking myself, "What's the catch?" It turns out that there were no catches (other than to call the prize company and confirm that my wife received the letter). We were told to go to any dealer, select the car of our choice, and the prize company would FedEx a check for the "base" cost of the car to the dealer (we were responsible for any options and all taxes). They also sent a check to pay the income taxes for the cost of the car.

A nearby dealer had about 10 Corvettes on their lot. We wanted a six-speed, but those were scarce, and if anybody had one, they were charging over sticker. We chose an Arctic White coupe with a black interior, automatic transmission, and the following options: Dual Roof Panels, Sport Seats, Active Handling, Dual Zone A/C, 6-Way Passenger Seat, Memory Package, AM/FM Stereo w/CD Player, Fog Lamps, Cargo Cover & Cargo Net, and Floor Mats. We took delivery of the car on March 19, 1998.

In addition to driving the C5 throughout the summer, we have traveled to Buffalo (my 83-year-old grandmother was thrilled to go for a ride!), and to Sharon, Pennsylvania. Each time, we had the top off and had plenty of room for luggage. We averaged over 25 mpg each trip. Our beagles enjoy traveling in the Vette to see family in the Milwaukee area. We have gone to Bloomington Gold for the last three years, too. While at Bloomington Gold '98, we saw the CORSA Corvette, and really liked the look and sound of their product. We had the "Pace Car" system installed shortly thereafter, and it sounds great. We added a K&N filter as well. We take great pride in the car, and spend many a weekend washing and waxing it. The car still looks brand new with 16,000 miles on it.

My dad has had three Corvettes (a '64, a '68 he picked up the day after I was born, and a '71), in addition to his '99 triple-black six-speed convertible. I remember going for rides in the '71 convertible, eagerly looking for other Corvettes so I could wave to them, helping wash and wax it, and going to the car shows with him.

My wife and I are going to continue this tradition, as we are expecting our first child in December 2000. We plan on keeping the car and watching our children grow with the Corvette. I don't know who will enjoy it more-our kids or us!

Editor's Note: This series spotlights reader experiences with their own Corvettes, described in their own words. To be considered for publication, submit 20 vertical-format 50-100 ASA slides and your own typewritten Corvette experience in 500 words or less to: Me & My Vette, Vette Magazine, 774 S. Placentia Ave., Placentia, CA 92870. Please send your submission on computer disk when possible. If we use your story, we'll pay you $75.