Sonoma Historic Motorsports Festival - Media Day

General Racing, May 16 2013 - Sonoma Historic Motorsports Festival 2013 News: Corvettes take to the track on media day

Three significant and historic Corvettes took to the 12-turn, 2.52-mile Sonoma Raceway for TV cameras on media day, in celebration of the brand's 60th anniversary at the Sonoma Historic Motorsports Festival. Dan Payne, of Petaluma, Calif., drove his white 1963 Corvette Sting Ray, Chad Raynal, of San Jose, Calif., did laps in his bright yellow 2000 Corvette C5R-002, and event organizer Steve Earle, of Santa Barbara, Calif., wheeled his blue 1959 Corvette roadster. Joining them to help promote Sunday's Marin Sonoma Concours d'Elegance at Marin Civic Center, were a 2013 Bugatti Veyron 16.4 Grand Sport Vitesse and a 1954 Kaiser Darrin. The Bugatti was driven by famed sports-car racer Butch Leitzinger, the Bugatti "factory pilot."

"This was a great opportunity for the media to see the different generations of the iconic Corvette brand that we're honoring at this year's Sonoma Historic Motorsports Festival," said Earle, president of General Racing, Ltd., who has organized premier historic car events for four decades. "As soon as the car was conceived it found its way to the race track, and has enjoyed countless racing victories in all classes of competition ever since. We're also proud to share in this year's partnership between the Sonoma Historic Motorsports Festival and the Marin Sonoma Concours d'Elegance."

Thirty-two Corvettes are expected to compete this weekend covering four decades of the brand's successes.

To purchase a Wine Country Classics Flex Pass for both events, customers should visit www.racesonoma.com/historics or call 800-870-RACE (7223).

Digital image attached: From left: 1963 Corvette Sting Ray, 2000 Corvette C5R-002, 1959 Corvette roadster, 1954 Kaiser Darrin and 2013 Bugatti Veyron 16.4 Grand Sport Vitesse.

Image: 1963 Corvette Sting Ray, 2000 Corvette C5R-002, 1959 Corvette roadster, 1954 Kaiser Darrin and 2013 Bugatti Veyron 16.4 Grand Sport Vitesse.

CORVETTES, CATS AND CHRISTIANS

In the paddock of the 2013 Sonoma Historic Motorsports Festival at Sonoma Raceway sat an understated yet stately example of why Corvettes have been universally loved and cherished since 1953. There it was, with its crackled and crumbling paint, rusty underpinnings, slightly askew hood, and seatless interior filled with bygone memories (sunglasses held together with tape, old toys, a pack of cigarettes and a 1954 quarter). It had a way of drawing in passersby and it clearly had a story it wanted to tell.

We sought out the owner, Ron Myska, of Fairfield, Calif., who is at the Historics racing a 1969 Ford Talladega, to find out the provenance of this uniquely photogenic and unrestored car, sitting among its shiny finely-restored brethren, oozing with character and helping to celebrate the Corvette's 60th anniversary. Here is his story:

"It's a 1954 Corvette that has about 110,000 miles on it. I bought it about three years ago from a widow whose husband had owned the car. He drove it until about '65 and then he parked the car and it sat outside in their backyard in Martinez (Calif.) for a number of years and then they moved to Antioch where it was put inside a garage and left there. I had heard about the car from one of my employees (Myska owns All-Points Petroleum, a petroleum distributor in Northern Califoria). He told me it was a '53 Corvette with only 10,000 miles on it (odometers were five-digit back then) and I thought that was too good to be true.

"He pestered me for about three months, so I asked him to send some pictures. Another three months went by and I received a disc of photos. I put it into the computer and I instantly sat up straight in my seat and went, Oh, my gosh, it's real. Unbelievable.

"I called the very nice lady who owned the car and was invited to see it. When I met her I also met her cats. She had a house full of cats. She also had Christian TV on the televion set, and we sit down in her front room, I'm petting her cat, my new buddy, and we're talking about the Lord, watching TV and just chatting. We didn't even talk about the car, we just sat there for a while and connected and had fun. 

"At the end of the conversation she slaps her knees and says, 'Well, I bet you're interested in seeing the car.' I said, Yes, I am. She takes me outside to an old wooden garage with a lock and when we slid the door open all I saw was the back of the car, and I said, Oh my goodness. It's real, it's real. It was sitting on flat tires, had a fiberglass top on it and the tires and wheels on it were very rusty, but it was all there.

"She said every piece that's not on the car she has. We started talking about the car and what her hopes were for it. She said she had tons of people interested in buying it, but, she said, 'Ron, this car is for you.' She obtained the title for it from the DMV and we came to an agreement.

"I promised not to tell everybody how much we agreed to, but one of the cool things about the whole deal was that her daughter needed a roof put on her house, and I put a roof on her house. She also had a fairly new Ford Crown Victoria that was sitting in the driveway that looked like it hadn't been driven in a while. She said the fuel pump was out on it, so I had a Ford dealer friend pick it up, replace the fuel pump and give her a car to drive. And she just absolutely loved it.

"My game plan is to get the car running, get some seats in it, get it mechanically sound and running and drive it looking just like it is. I love old cars. I hadn't been a Chevrolet fan, I've always been a Ford fan, but this is certainly an icon for the Corvettes. And when I read that the Sonoma Historics were honoring the Corvette this year, I said, Wouldn't it be a kick to drag this old thing out here and just have it sit here and watch people enjoy the car?

"To me, this car has romance. If it was all painted up, dolled up, yeah, it would be a nice-looking car, but right now it's got a story and it's got romance."

Ron Myska with his original 1954 Corvette

Digital image Ron Myska with his original 1954 Corvette

Ron Myska with his original 1954 Corvette; the interior

Digital image Ron Myska: the interior of the 1954 Corvette.

 

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