Featured Corvettes of the Month

Joel and Sharon Karam's 2002 Torch Red Convertible and 1963 Blue/White Grand Sport Racecar

Name: Joel and Sharon Karam

Current Corvettes: 2002 Torch Red/Black 6-Speed Convertible and 1963 Grand Sport, Blue/White 350, 5-Speed, running Weber side-draft carbs, fully race-prepared, with an SCCA racing Log Book .

Previous Corvettes:  Purchased in 2001, our first Corvette was a 1967 Maroon convertible with Black Stinger; it was a 4-Speed with 427/435 HP; Joel did some engine and accessories/interior restoration, and it garnered a NCRS Top Flight Award, and awards at other shows in Northern California.

What first attracted you to Corvettes? When was that or how old were you? We were both attracted to the mid-year Corvettes while in high school, and throughout the years, but neither of us ever gave much thought to actually owning one until 2001, right after our marriage. Neither of us knew the other LOVED Corvettes until the day when Joel was thinking out loud about possibly restoring a ‘56/57 Nomad – which sounded only marginally appealing to Sharon, when he suddenly remarked “or possibly an older Corvette”… Sharon’s reply was ‘a CORVETTE!!! I LOVE older Corvettes!!!!” – (the idea of restoring a Corvette obviously had much more appeal to her)…having reached a consensus on choice of “project car”, we found our 1967 Stingray convertible within 2 months, and about 6 months later we also had our brand new C5.

How did you come to acquire this Corvette? We purchased the C5 new from a Chevrolet dealer in North Dakota, ordering the car, having it built, and taking delivery at a California dealer’s warehouse. Our Grand Sport interest was fueled by three things: 1) Joel has always been very interested in road racing, and a friend owned and raced a Grand Sport; 2) we saw and greatly admired one of the 5 original Grand Sports (S/N 3) on display at the NCRS Convention in Monterey; and 3) while at Laguna Seca two days later, Joel got to speak with Delmo Johnson who actually raced the original Grand Sport S/N3. The idea of owning one was now beginning to form in his brain…Coincidentally, a few days later he bought a couple of vintage 1964 photos on eBay of what turned out to be Delmo Johnson driving the S/N 3 Grand Sport wearing the number “00”.  Once home from the convention, Joel decided to make his dream of road racing a reality, and we began our search for a Grand Sport.  To shorten up the story we found a wonderful Grand Sport for sale, a finished rolling car, no engine or transmission, and a list of other items to complete. Guess what, it was fashioned after the S/N 3 Grand Sport and was wearing “00”.  We trailered it 150 miles back home and eventually named it “Delmo”, in honor of Delmo Johnson. That meant that we  had THREE CORVTTES, so we sold the 1967 not long after acquiring “Delmo”.  Since finishing the Grand Sport in June 2003 we have been in a parade, won awards at major car shows, and Joel has raced numerous times at Thunderhill Raceway Park, Pacific Raceway (Kent, WA), Portland International Raceway, Bremerton Raceway, Laguna Seca Mazda Raceway, Reno-Fernley, and Buttonwillow – racing at least 4 to 6 times annually, and maintaining his SCCA racing license.

What modifications have you done to this car?  To the C5 the only thing done was to disable the skip shift. On the Grand Sport the answer is more what have we not done.

Modifications Planned: C5, none for now; Grand Sport there is not a lot that is needed -- keep it ready for the track.

What do you like best about Corvettes? Driving them…

How long have you been a member of RCC? Almost 2 years.

What offices have you held or runs you've put on? None in this club.

What do you like about RCC?  The people; the fun, social time we have at meetings and on runs. We were in other car clubs in San Jose and Seattle, and this is by far the BEST.

What other interesting facts might others enjoy knowing about you? Joel has managed both marketing and customer support operations, and is currently managing customer support for the government-sector unit of a major software company; his hobby is working on and racing the Grand Sport; he was once a competition water skier, and carried an over-200 bowling average.

Sharon is a former management consultant who now has the pleasure of being an eBay purveyor – buying, researching, and selling historic vintage images, vintage costume jewelry, antique decorative collectibles, and antiquarian books. She is an active member of Daughters of the American Revolution, and two quilting guilds.

Photography by Roger Aylstock  (www.AylstockPhotography.com)

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Last Updated: August 08, 2008
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