Kenneth Parr’s Corvette story is divided into two eras that he and wife Susan jokingly refer to as “BC” and “AC” – or “before children” and “after college.” We know many Corvette families have similar eras as part of their story.
Ken’s first Corvette was purchased in 1974, but he didn’t get to keep the car very long. “We found out we were pregnant, and when our son got too large to ride behind the seat of the coupe, we had to get rid of it because we couldn’t afford three cars.”
His next Corvette wouldn’t come for approximately 25 years.
“Our daughter graduated from college in May of 2002, I ordered the Corvette in July, it was manufactured on August 14, which is our wedding anniversary, and we flew to Bowling Green and picked it up at the Museum on September 2.”
Though Ken didn’t tell Susan he was ordering the 2003, she knew it was coming. “I ordered this one and didn’t tell her until after it was all done. She knew I was getting one. I told her when I sold the first that there would be another. I had come home for lunch, and she asked me where I’d been. I told her the Chevrolet dealership (which is about 15 miles from our home). She said, ‘what’d you do, buy a Corvette?’ and I said ‘yes.’”
Ken served in the 101st Airborne Division in Viet Nam, and fittingly, the last three numbers of the VIN of his Corvette are 101. As a nod to his service, Ken has a 101st Screaming Eagles decal on the windshield, and one on the license plate – which is a Bronze Star recipient plate.
For Ken and Susan, many memories were made with the Corvette, including a NASCAR-themed trip with the Museum, the 50th Anniversary of Corvette event, multiple trips to the Museum, traversing Lake Erie and a trek down Route 66. “The only problem with that trip was there were so many things to buy, and with limited trunk space we had to stop and ship stuff twice!”
Unfortunately, an injury at home made it difficult for Ken to get in and out of the Corvette. “When I stop and think about it, I’ve not been in the car since 2015. It’s not that I’ll never be able to get it in, maybe I could flop in, but I’d never be able to get out,” shared Ken. “We’ve had a lot of fun in that car, but as we get older and I can’t get in it, it doesn’t need to just sit around. We have seven grandkids that have enjoyed it too. We’ve taken them all for rides here and there, and I think one or two of them rode in a parade with me. My son has driven it a few times, and a friend took their granddaughter in it for a parade last September.”
A July 2019 visit to the Museum got Ken thinking about what he should do with his car. “I was on my way to a military reunion in Nashville and stopped by the Museum for lunch and shopping. That got the wheels rolling and I thought what a nice gift my car could be. I called my wife and told her ‘by the way, I bought two Corvettes’ and she said, ‘it better darn well fit in my purse!’ It was two Lego Corvette models for our grandsons.”
Ken and Susan shipped their Corvette to the Museum on May 29. “We’ve been to the Museum quite a few times, I just thought it would be something that I would like, my family can go down and enjoy it, the grandkids too. Also, the Vets ‘n Vettes event, maybe there could be a use for it during that.”
Thank you to the Parr’s for their donation and thank you to Ken for his service!