The Queen City Corvette Club is celebrating its 46th birthday this month.
The 300 members range in age from their mid-20s up to their most senior member, Walter Ahrens, who will soon be celebrating his 100th birthday.
A club member since 2003, Ahrens joined at the age of 87 and still owns two Corvettes, although he no longer drives, in spite of the fact that he passed his driving test to renew his North Carolina driver’s license when he was 98. He drove his Corvette during the test.
Intended primarily as a way for Corvette owners to socialize and share their passion for North America’s iconic sports car, the club “provides an opportunity for members to exchange knowledge and information on how to maintain and enjoy their Corvettes,” according to the club’s website.
It also sponsors numerous charitable activities, as well as car shows, overnight road trips, cruise-ins and high-performance driving events. The club’s annual car show, sponsored in part by City Chevrolet, raises money for charities, including Matthews Free Medical Clinic, USO of Charlotte and Barium Springs Home for Children.
In the last week of August, nearly 300 club members will leave the Charlotte area as part of what is known as the Corvette Caravan. Their destination will be the Corvette Museum in Bowling Green, Ky., where Corvettes have been built since 1982. Between 4,000 and 6,000 Corvette owners are expected to converge on the area from all over the United States to participate in this once-every-five-years event.
“The Corvettes draw you in, but the people keep you there,” says club vice-president Bill Cruthis, a Denver resident and club member since 1974. “I’d guess that 90 percent of our members are veterans. We’re all Corvette addicts, true-blue Americans, the backbone of America. We bleed red, white and blue.”