They say, "All good things must come to an end," and no one knows this quote better than Team VETTE's '87 coupe. Originally bought just over a year ago, the "Zombie," then known as the "Phoenix," was picked up dirt-cheap when a friend and employee of Barry White's Street Rod Repair Company was involved in a non-fault, non-injury accident that dinged the frame and punched out some of the rear fiberglass-along with the bumper. The repair, as you may remember, was a cheap, easily done affair that made us wonder why the vehicle had been totaled to begin with. In real-world dollars, the out-of-pocket expense was under 3K, and everything except the frame pull could have been done in anyone's garage. As it were, there was really no need for the chassis repair. It wasn't effecting alignment, but the other quote I'm fond of is, "If you're going to do it, do it 100 percent."
May 2004 is the one-year anniversary of The Zombie's resurgence on America's roadways-or, well, would have been. You see, April 1st will forever mark two things on VETTE Magazine's calendar. First and foremost is the obvious, April Fool's Day. The latter, however, is enough to take the fun out of any day-the last day the Zombie was on the road. Taken down the street to the local Taco Bell(tm) by a Primedia employee who needed a quick fix, Team VETTE's test bed C4 ended up needing a bigger fix when, at a cross-section, a white Acura decided they had enough time to make it across the street before the oncoming traffic made it to their position. You can imagine what happened when a four-cylinder mid-'90s econobox decided it could tangle with a Corvette backed by a V-8 that was already going full-speed. Thankfully fault fell to the driver of the other car, and the injuries, while existent to the driver of the C4, were not so serious that the paramedics were needed.
As I write this, the insurance company handling the other side has yet to settle the claim made against them and their driver; it is now May 1st. So far, the experience, my first when dealing with something like this, has been educational and has run the gamut of ignored phone calls, lowball estimates, and flat-out lying on the part of their adjuster when it came to the condition of the Vette itself. Like a good neighbor? Well, maybe the type that sleeps with your wife when you're away on business. I've learned that insurance companies are your friends until you start asking for some of the money back you've given them over the years. It's no secret that part of their job is to return to you as little as possible. Fighting their claims, such as the tires on the Vette having only 25-percent wear left when the Firestone Firehawk SZ50s we were just about to track test had gone on just the week before proves it. While this may sound like I'm picking nits, this is just a small example of the large list of claims they've made against the condition of a Corvette that was a paint booth away from being good as new.
Speaking of "good as new," Team VETTE would like to take this opportunity to thank the companies responsible for helping us with the "Little Wrecked Corvette" over the past year, who made it possible-albeit temporarily-to resurrect a Corvette given the raw deal. And while we're on the topic of deals, Team VETTE, like any sensible group of people, is purchasing back the salvage. Ideas are flying about such as giving our '78 Stingray, "The Bat's Mobile," an L98 and C4 suspension to buying one of the several other Vettes in the paper that need some work. Is there an '87 convertible that's missing its engine and transmission in our near future? Only time will tell. Until then, safe driving!