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Review: My first Corvette Road Trip


May 12, 2011
New Jersey, United States
White 1986 Pace Car Convertible L98 TPI
For anyone who has read my previous forum posts, you'll know that my Vette isn't in the best shape.
It's an '86 Pace Car Convertible, and it needs a ton of work, starting from the engine, working back to the tranny, to the interior and finally the shag carpet at the back of the convertible top bay.
But with that, I give you this.
Last weekend, I drove the old Corvette to the annual "Corvettes on the Boardwalk" parade and show in Ocean City, NJ. Over 400 Corvettes showed up, and it was an awesome time. Every single model year and model was there.
I live about an hour and a half away from Ocean City, so driving there would be a good little ride.
I started off with the headlights flipped up and L98 singing on the back roads of my hometown, and then I got on the highway.
The vette was surprisingly terrific on the highway, as I upshifted into overdrive and let the motor cruise at a cool 80 miles an hour for most of the way there. There was something about this car that always captivated me, and taking it on a long trip like this was just perfect. The car shakes, it rattles, it squeaks and sometimes shoots smoke out the exhaust, but there is nothing like a driving a Corvette convertible and watching people look on as you blow past them.
I got off the highway, now smiling ear to ear, and flipped the lights under the bonnet as it was late enough in the morning that the sun was peaking over the tips of the trees in the deep forested part of south jersey known as Cumberland County.
With nobody on the road this early in the morning on a Sunday, I had plenty of chances to really see what the car had. With every bend, with every straightaway and corner to accelerate out of, the car just impressed me more. It cornered like the racecar I drive, swiftly and precisely, and it was so confident on the throttle as I'd pick it up and slowly ease off through each bend. With each touch of the brakes the car would respond directly and enter corners without any hesitation. Not that I went fast:cool but if hypothetically I did, the car would have been extremely stable at high speeds, with the nose and front air dam pressed solidly to the ground and rooting the car in place. The steering wheel from the late 80's, my personal favorite of the vettes because it lacks an airbag and is designed like a proper super car's steering wheel should be, was terrific as I guided the car through each bend and winding road on this early morning joyride.
The GPS indicated that I was about 15 miles out of my destination, and I checked my rear view mirror.
At that moment, my entire being shook. A bright yellow, '63 split window filled up the mirror of my C4, and behind him came an '84, an '03, and a brand new Centennial edition Vette, respectively.
Nervous about how my car would stack up to theirs, I cautiously yielded brake and throttle around each curve. Having the 63 on my tailgate was cool for a bit, until I decided it was time to have some fun and opened it up. I jetted away from him only to watch the newer Vettes pass him and duke it out behind me until they caught up and had some fun with me.
As we crossed the bridge into the shore town, the Vette was performing better than ever. Parking amidst 400 other Corvettes was incredible, and driving in one big massive parade onto a boardwalk filled my heart with more pride than words can describe.
The drive home was just as good, with the Corvette having her top now on and some classic rock blasting on the radio.
The car was better than ever getting us home, and upon arrival, I found that I had never had more fun behind the wheel.
I've been driving race cars my entire life, I've driven a Ferrari and a 1,000 horsepower drag truck, but I've never had more fun behind the wheel.
The Corvette was phenomenal. Shakes, rattles, burnt oil and hard shifting all included, it was phenomenal.
My question before last Sunday was "Should I restore this car?"
My question today is "How can I restore this car?"
I love the Corvette.
Here's to other Vette guys. Stay awesome.


Well-known member
Aug 30, 2013
Minneapolis, Mn.
86 Red Convertible

My suggestion is start evaluating the car on restoring it, work from one end to the other then make your plan. Then work your plan as time and money permits. Nothing worse than getting antsy and do something stupid like driving it if there's suspension or brakes issues till they're corrected. I had a couple of jackstand queens when I was young and one was a Dodge truck with a hemi in it. It took about a year to get it back on the road but at least I knew I wouldn't cause an accident in the mean time.

I also bought a 86 convertible recently and have to admit it is a blast to drive. Remember though, it's not worth bending or breaking it while showing off. It's a great driving car and that's what I use.

Good luck and enjoy.


New member
Apr 26, 2004
River Ridge La.
1972 Ontario Orange Convertible
Welcome to Corvette Road Trips There are always something Very special Time even when the car fights the trip.
Start your restoration Project Slowly go over the hole car and make lists what needs to be done. Then make a list what you can do.
Take your time learn as you go. Get your Vette Friends to help you learn. Most importantly enjoy the ride.

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