Ground Bound Blue Angel

Corvette has long-standing ties to the military and for John "Sparky" Lersch, his tie to Corvette is because of the military.

After a moderately successful high school football stint in Pittsburgh, PA, Sparky was recruited to play football for a number of college programs, including United States Naval Academy coach Steve Belichick (father of New England Patriot's coach Bill Belichick). "I didn't really want to go. After growing up in the north, I wanted to go south where it was warm and attend the University of Miami," said Sparky. "My dad wanted me to follow in his footsteps - join the Navy, become a Navy pilot, fly off aircraft carriers. On the drive back home after talking to Coach Belichick, as we neared my house we drove right past the high school homecoming queen's house. For her 16th birthday she had received a 1967 dark green Corvette convertible. Fate gave me the opportunity and nerve to say to my dad, 'If I go to the Naval Academy, will you buy me a new Corvette?' He extended his hand and our deal was struck. Tuition at Navy was free, so my dad, an accountant at the time, made out pretty well."

Sparky's Senior year he was finally allowed to have a car on campus, so he and his dad visited the local Chevrolet dealer who offered great deals to midshipman. Sparky picked out a 1973 Corvette, Dark Blue with Beige interior, fully loaded and stickered at $5,600. Eight weeks later, out of the St. Louis factory, his dream car had arrived.

"Up until this point I had never even sat in a Corvette. I wanted my first experience to be with my own car. I'm 6'2", and that's about as tall as you could be to sit in one at the time."

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Source: NCM

Submitted by Phil Ellison