Southern Agenda

Fast Lane

Although it marks its seventieth birthday this year, the Corvette is hardly slowing down. Since rolling off an assembly line in 1953, the iconic ride has been a steady hit, says Sharon Brawner, president of the National Corvette Museum in Bowling Green, which is also home to the sole Corvette manufacturing plant. The car captivated World War II veterans, who had ogled sports cars in Europe but couldn’t find anything similar at home. It became an object of desire lauded by Hollywood stars, astronauts, and musicians. An anniversary exhibit opens on June 30, which Congress has designated as National Corvette Day, and includes all eight generations of the car, along with rarities like the only 1983 Corvette still in existence. (GM made only a few dozen ’Vettes that year because it was changing the design.) Visitors can tour the plant and take a spin on a 3.2-mile road course track. Along with speed, the car’s big appeal is nostalgia—some guests get a little choked up. “They’re tearful. It offers a special connection for folks,” says Brawner, whose father was a drag racer. She was with him when he bought his first Corvette. “He let me drive it off the showroom floor.”