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Walls are living in the fast lane

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    Walls are living in the fast lane

    Walls are living in the fast lane

    By Christopher Behnan DAILY PRESS & ARGUS October 30, 2008



    Livingston, MI - A treasured, vintage sports car spurred both marriage and a new social network for a local couple.

    Larry and JoAnn Wall shared a love of the sleek and fast-paced Corvette while still in the courting stages of their relationship.

    Before they were married, they purchased a 1960 Corvette, which they kept for a few years before selling it in order to buy a larger vehicle.

    "Being young and not knowing any different, we sold it and bought a bigger car and kicked ourselves several times over that we don't still have this one," JoAnn Wall said.

    "The Corvette was just like the original American sports car," she added.

    Decades later, the Putnam Township couple discovered a unique network of friends through fellow Corvette lovers. Much like bikers and hikers, a separate society of Corvette lovers exists.

    Some of their friends have "Corvette rooms" in their homes, where they store Corvette-related memorabilia and keepsakes.

    "It's truly America's first sports car. In a way, it's almost a cult, because these people are just absolutely crazy about their cars," JoAnn Wall explained.

    Most recently, the Walls participated in the 2008 Historic Motorama II a caravan of Corvettes from every model year, which left Bowling Green, Ky., on Sept. 10 and eventually arrived in Detroit.

    The event was part of General Motor Corp.'s 100th anniversary celebration.

    It drew enthusiasts from all over the country, and the caravan split into smaller groups so older, slower models didn't get left in the dust, so to speak.

    The Walls represented model year 1981 with their Corvette.

    As museum members, they had to submit a photograph and biography yes, biography of their vehicle before being chosen from a pool of entries.

    "For us this was kind of a once-in-a-lifetime thing. Obviously, they don't do these thing every year," JoAnn Wall said. "It was an historic event."

    Their 1981 Corvette is beige and dark bronze, and the extra pin striping makes their model unique, JoAnn Wall said. It has a 350, four-speed engine.

    The Walls also own a 1995 model, which they refer to as their "cruiser car" a convertible model they normally drive throughout summer.

    Neither car sees the light of day during winter.

    The 1981 model, which they bought four years ago, only comes out at car shows and other special events.

    Larry Wall grew up in Plymouth, and JoAnn Wall in Westland. Once married, they opted for a more rural lifestyle in Putnam Township, away from the eastern Detroit suburbs.

    The couple participates in a host of local car shows, particularly those that raise money for causes such as breast cancer and leukemia research.

    The Walls are considering joining other Corvette enthusiast groups, such as the National Corvette Restorers Society, a group that aims to preserve the originality of Corvettes.

    Contact Daily Press & Argus reporter Christopher Behnan at (517) 548-7108 or at cbehnan@gannett.com.
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