Number Five came well documented, but it was still shrouded by several enigmas. The build sheet that was with this exceptional car indicated it was a pilot line car, assembled in late April of 1995, and officially shipped to Display Car Services in Centerline, Michigan. But neither the build sheet nor a tag on the Vette's key fob referring to it as "XS6YG07" could explain why the outer edges of the passenger-side tires were "all chewed up" despite only a few hundred miles on the car. Nor could anything else explain why there was a piece of black felt over the white indicator arrow on the headlight switch. Curious about their new Corvette's past, Tim sent an inquiring letter to Display Car Services.
A number of weeks had past, and as Willa was undergoing yet another round of treatments against the cancer, Tim had completely forgotten about the letter he'd sent. Then he received a phone call out of the blue from a gentleman with Chevrolet Advertising who shed light on that car's history. He explained that the code on the key fob was its designation at Chevrolet Advertising: S stood for show car; 6 was '96 model year; Y for Y-body (Corvette); G meant Grand Sport; and 07 was a coupe. As he told Tim that the felt piece on the headlight switch was used to "keep the glare from the flash out of the interior shot in the brochure," it suddenly registered with Tim. "In a flash, it sank in...Willa had actually gotten that exact car! I called her at work to let her know" says Tim. "She was so excited; the Grand Sport in her garage was the same one she'd swooned over in pictures of for months!"
Number Five's official build date was May 1, 1995 (although it's possible it was actually built during the last week of April since it was reportedly seen at the National Corvette Museum's "Legends Live" celebration on April 30), and it was received by the Chevrolet Advertising Department in Warren, Michigan, on May 16 before being shipped to Los Angeles. From there, it was trucked to Lake Havasu, Arizona, for the sales brochure photography. Next, Number Five was trucked back to L.A. before being sent to San Francisco for dealer driving footage to be used in television ads and action photography for various print ads. In November, GS 00005 was returned to Warren, Michigan, were it sat until being declared surplus. In March 1996, Service Technology Group retrofitted new brake rotors, shocks, and the parking brake cable, plus added the proper warning decals, an owner's manual, and some tire information-all to make the Corvette sellable. In June, the GS was bought at a dealer auction in Bozeman, Montana, by Masid Chevrolet in Nebraska with 243 miles on the clock. Then, on July 14, it was shipped to the Colorado dealership where an ecstatic Willa Barnes drove it home two days later.
The whereabouts of three of the four other "pilot" Grand Sports are known today, thanks to the GS Registry. VIN 001, a coupe with red interior, was an engine test vehicle and is rightfully in the hands of John Heinricy, the talented driver and former Corvette engineer largely responsible for making the '96 Grand Sport happen. Number 002 was another engine development vehicle and was scrapped by GM. Number 003 is an export ragtop with red interior that is currently owned by a gentleman in Germany, while Number 004, the convertible in the '96 sales brochure, is unknown. It is rumored that 004 was scrapped like 002, but Heinricy seems to believe that GM may still have it tucked away somewhere.