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July 2004 Corvette of the Month

Jim & Rosie Bjornsen's 1999 Pewter FRC and 2004 Magnetic Red Coupe

Name: Jim & Rosie Bjornsen

Current Corvettes: 1999, Hardtop (ala Z06, but not a Z06), & Pewter. 2004, Coupe with both clear & painted tops, & Mag Red. 1962, Convertible and Removable Hard tops, Honduras Maroon with Black Rag top.

Previous Corvettes: The 1999 and 2004 are our 3rd & 4th Vettes respectively. First one I bought in 1966 was a Honduras maroon 61, I converted it from a 283 with powerglide to a built 350 with M-21 4-speed, with a removable top (as they all had). That one was destroyed in 1971 in a garage fire, and the only thing we salvaged from it, thanks to Rosie's bother Melvin, was the motor, trans, and Ansen 5-spoke "mags" we had on it.

2nd one we bought in 1972, and it was another Honduras maroon Vette; but this time we got a 1962. It had a great body, but no motor, transmission, seats, dash etc. I restored it to a really nice looking driver, rebuilt my 350 motor, and painted it myself the original color in my garage; Amazing what you can do with laquer. Maybe 20 years ago it sprang an oil and a water leak, and it hasn't run since. BUT, we still have it, and Rosie is kicking my butt to start restoration soon; which I want to start very soon. Major planned components are a Jim Meyers front suspension kit, the new ZZ383 425 hp crate motor and at least a Tremec TKO 5 speed or even better a 6 speed.

What first attracted you to Corvettes? When was that or how old were you? From a very early age I was interested in cars, and have always been partial to Chevy's. Rosie has shared my joy in cars during our dating years and 35 married years. I never was that enthused about Corvettes until one day my sister's boy friend came over with a nice little 58, with a good 283, dual quads and a 4 speed. After checking it out and getting a ride in it, I was hooked and had to have one. At 22 I bought my first Corvette.

How was this Corvette acquired? Rosie & I bought our 1999 almost 3 years ago. I went with my son to a dealer's lot who was having a "blow out" sale on "everything" they had, looking for a work commuter for my son. They had absolutely nothing he was interested in, and as we were leaving the lot, the last car before the lot exit was the 1999 Vette. Sitting there in one of my favorite colors, Pewter, with chrome rims, black interior, 6-speed, only 21K miles, etc. I had to drive it; it was my first drive or ride in a C5, and that ride made me a believer. I also let my son drive it, and I think he scared the hell out of the salesman; when they got back, all he could say was "man, can that kid drive!!!". I had no intentions of buying it, it was just 3 or 4 days after 9/11. BUT, I thought, what if I made a really low offer that they likely wouldn't accept, and took it home to let Rosie make a decision on whether or not to buy it. Well, she loved it, and after a little struggle, they accepted my original offer. So Rosie & I got our third Vette. The 2004 was a 35th wedding anniversary present for Rosie; it is her car; and Lord does she love that Car!!! While we love the 99, we love the 2004 even more because it's brand new, our favorite color, has all the options and best of all celebrates our 35 years of marriage!

Modifications: The 1999's dubious "claim to fame" is that it is probably the only totally stock C5 in the club, other than rims chromed and custom exhaust tips. Not even a K&N filter! Beyond that the only thing we changed was converting from run flats to Goodrich KDW's which vastly improved the car's handling and noise level. We held back on making mods in anticipation of possibly upgrading later which we have now done. The 1999 only has 27K on it, and runs so good we are going to spoil ourselves and keep it; we like the "his & hers" idea!

Modifications Planned: Rosie's 2004 is our immediate priority. First priorities are to lower it and get a speed lingerie bra on it. Then it will get a complete 3" exhaust system (full length headers, hi flow cats, x-pipe set up and 4" stainless steel tips), a vararam induction system and a predator computer, along with a lower temp thermostat and adjusting the fans to kick on at a lower temp. Custom rims would be nice, but we'll live the stock ones till the mechanical improvements are done.

What do you like best about Corvettes? The long and rich history, the looks, the sound, the performance, the motors, and with the c5's, the sophistication. That they can kick virtually any of the European elitist sports cars butts at half the price of most of them. Lots of bang for the buck, and always gets my adrenalin going to take it for a drive.

How long have you been a member of RCC? We've been members for 2 years.

What offices have you held or runs you've put on? Jim is the club newsletter editor. No offices, at least not yet; might go for VP or Treasurer next year. No runs yet, but would like to do one, and we have something in mind.

What do you like about RCC? We've met many very nice people and enjoy sharing our enthusiasm for Corvettes with them. The joy of owning the Corvettes is that much richer when you can share that with fun loving fellow Corvette enthusiasts. RCC does a lot of good events including fun drives, good destinations and nice social activities. I'm not real big on shows or parades or that kind of stuff, and I like that this doesn't seem to be a big focus of RCC.

Other Facts: Rosie works for the State Dept of Fish & Game at Nimbus Dam and is eligible to retire whenever she thinks the time is right. She works only a couple miles from our home. She also has a part time job at the Elegant Garden in Birdcage Walk. She is totally into "teas", and really enjoys working there every other Saturday. I retired from an accounting office about 2 ½ years ago, and then went to Sierra College for engine building and welding classes. That was fun, but not as easy on my bones as the air conditioned office environment. About 1 ½ years ago I got a chance to go back to work at my old office as a contractor, and have been very happily working at it ever since. Rosie & I enjoy our two "kids" (our 27-year old daughter who got married and lives now in Santa Monica, and our 26 year old son who is a Correction Officer with the State of California), our friends, getting to the gym (never enough though), working on the home and garden, and of course cruising around and tinkering with our cars. I'm a lucky guy to have my little wife who has put up with me all these years. That much more lucky because she fully supports and understands my addiction to cars. The cars is one of the things we always seem to agree on, contributing to having had many nice muscle cars over the years, like our big block SS Chevelles, Z28 Camaros, Novas, Corvettes, (and even a token Mustang and 340 Plymouth Duster along the way). The hardest part for us is to get rid of a car; we get too attached, and usually don't sell one until we can't squeeze anything else into the garage, which currently is beyond capacity.