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New Corvette Is Dining Room Art For Lewes Couple

Source: CapeGazette.com
October 10, 2006

It sits in the driveway, shiny, black and still in its plastic covering. The new 2007 Corvette Z06 is a GI Joe still in his box or a limited edition comic book that will never be read. It’s a toy that won’t come out of its wrapper. The car hasn’t even been washed.

Owners Jim and Carla Martin were at the dealership when their car came off the truck. They wiped down the hood and cleaned smudges off the mirrors, put it inside a trailer and took it home. “It’s a day everybody will remember,” Carla said.

Anticipating the car
Jim said he’s not waiting for life to be over to buy what he wants, but he’s not about to abuse his new baby by driving her. He’ll probably put a few miles on it, he said, but no more than 1,000. The $100,000 super car is part investment and part toy.

“I didn’t want to wait to own one of the fastest cars on the road,” he said. The car is known to be what Jim called a street-legal racing car.

“You should live your life to the fullest, like today was your last, and hopefully we’ll enjoy this car,” Carla said. There was only one thing that kept the couple from buying the car last year, when it was released on the market. “You never want to buy the first year of a car, and this is one of the first 2007 models,” he said. Waiting one year lets the company work out all the kinks to improve the car, Jim said. He had been dreaming of owning this car for an entire year when he called the C.P. Diver dealership in Lewes to see if they could order it for him. “I called J.B. [Barbarulo, salesman] and told him what I wanted, he said they could do it, and I took him the deposit that day,” he said. Jim’s first car was a Corvette, and he plans to always park one in the garage. “Once you have a Corvette, you continue to have one,” he said.

Fully loaded
According to Jim, there’s not much that could be improved on this Corvette. “It comes standard with the newest technology available, including a meter that reads G-force, a navigation system that shows up on the flat-screen monitor in the console, a DVD player and much more. “We’re not technology people,” Jim said. But they can both appreciate the bells and whistles that came with their new toy. Although the car comes with all the tricks, the Z06 is hardly standard. It has a new body type that is wider than the typical Corvette. “It’s an extremely rare car to be on production. It’s also the best for the buck compared to other cars on the market,” Jim said. He said the car’s is comparable in horsepower to a Ferrari or Lamborghini. “We like American cars,” Carla said. And the vehicles are more than just cars. “They all have women’s names,” Jim said. The Corvette, aka Madison, joins another car, Suicide Blonde, Jim said.

More toys in the garage
Although the couple likes American cars, and they have a few foreign strays in the collection of sports cars. They also have a thing for motorcycles. Besides the new Corvette, there’s the Mercedes convertible and a few Italian scooters.

Carla has a collection of retro-vintage Vespas. For her birthday one year Jim had several imported from Italy. “She wanted a scooter so I had a Vespa sent from Italy,” he said. Just one wasn’t enough, so she now has four scooters from the 1960s and 1970s. Other than Carla’s colorful Vespas, the couple’s toys are all black. “Nothing looks better than a clean, black car,” Jim said. Or a shiny, black, fast bike.

Jim also loves Harley-Davidsons. “We have various high-performance bikes,” he said.

“I enjoy building bikes,” he said. He builds two or three bikes each year and sells them at bike shows in Florida, where the couple lives during the winter.

Racing town
Where else would the Martins live, except the birthplace of speed? They bought a new home in Daytona Beach, Fla., last year. When they went home shopping, the couple kept their hobby and passion in mind. “The garage was the first priority,” Carla said. The house has a climate-controlled garage with one glass wall. “You can sit in the dining room and see the cars, the motorcycles and the Vespas,” Carla said. Their collection is the center of their lives.

“We’re living the no-fear life on the edge of destruction,” Jim said about driving his fast bikes and cars. But that life doesn’t always come easily.

Cuddly toys
The couple always has a stuffed animal with them that reminds them of hard times. “Carla had a major accident where she broke her back,” Jim said. When she got out of the hospital he gave her a little stuffed cow named Tex. “It was a security blanket and now it’s grown into something more,” Carla said. They are well known for dragging Tex with them everywhere – in all their worldwide travels. “He’s sat on biker bars in Key West, been in a race in Daytona, and even overseas,” Carla said. At Christmas time the couple turns their attention away from buying fast toys, to their tiny stuffed good luck charm.

“We shop for him, he has a little remote control Hummer he rides around in, and a tiny Vespa that actually moves,” Carla said. They get a kick out of sharing their love for fast toys with Tex, and with their friends. Jim and Carla bring some of their cars and bikes to Delaware each summer to play with while they’re here, but some stay in the heated and cooled garage in Florida, waiting to be broken in.