Looking Back

Reflections on 1988 and the Arkansas Corvair Club's first year

In late 1987 and early 1988, David Blakey, Arkansas Corvair Club founding father, mailed letters to Corvair owners around the state to gauge the interest in forming a new CORSA chapter in Arkansas. The response to Davids inquiry was strong enough to justify his renting a meeting room in the North Little Rock Holiday Inn for Saturday, February 20, 1988.

On that date, some 35 to 40 enthusiasts gathered in North Little Rock, driving 12 Corvairs from various regions of the state. After the first formal group meeting and discussion, everyone was optimistic that a new Arkansas chapter of CORSA was possible.

For that first meeting, the late February weather was unusually warm and sunny. Following the planning meeting, central Arkansans were treated to their very first impromptu Corvair parade, as 11 Corvairs, many with convertible tops down, made their way south on Main Street, through North Little Rock, across the Broadway bridge, and on to the state capitol grounds, where many attendees took pictures and conversed to get acquainted.

A week later, on Monday, February 29, using a template supplied by CORSA, our chapter's charter application was drafted and signed by several of this new group. With that action, the Arkansas Corvair Club, CORSA Chapter 722, came to be. A club newsletter--which soon would become On the Air-- was being published and mailed to members and prospects, to communicate news of club activities and share technical tips. The familiar ACC turbo-based logo was designed shortly thereafter.

Although our founding members had plenty of enthusiasm, the early ACC years were challenging. A fledgling CORSA chapter needs money to survive. To meet that need, Kenneth Eddy, a founding member from Fairfield Bay, planned and arranged for our club to host the seventh annual Fairfield Bay Antique and Classic Car Show, on August 13, 1988. The show was an unqualified success and money earned from it went a long way toward putting the ACC on sound financial footing.

In addition to money, a fledgling CORSA chapter also needs some means to garner recognition, respect, and credibility with other groups and antique car enthusiasts. To get us recognized during that first year of activity, David Sanders contacted Larry Claypool about visiting Arkansas and conducting a technical seminar for the club. On October 22, 1988, the "perfessor" himself presented a slide presentation on the subject of Corvair wheel alignment to an enthusiastic audience of 33 Corvair lovers at the Airport Holiday in Little Rock.

With Larry's presentation at that October 1988 gathering, the Arkansas Corvair Club had finally earned a place on the collectible car enthusiasts landscape.

After months of planning and hard work by a handful of dedicated individuals, CORSA Chapter 722 had indeed arrived and the Corvair's future in Arkansas had grown much brighter. The ACC was in gear and on its way.

The founding chapter signers were:
      Jim Agee
      David K. Blakey
      Jeff Barber
      Kenneth Eddy
      Javier "Joe" Espejo
      Gerald Glass
      Bob Jett
      Elvis King
      Stewart MacLeod
      Gerald McBroom
      David Sanders

The ensuing years have brought about enduring friendships among members of our group as well as those developed at the annual CORSA conventions across the USA. Although we have sadly lost avid Corvair enthusiasts in our ranks, we have also happily welcomed many new members and new friendships along the way. Recent years have brought about an unprecedented growth in our membership. While many other organizations are struggling to maintain their participation levels, the ACC is continuing to grow!

Today, David and Sarah Blakey reside in Clinton, Tennessee and still stay in touch with ACC friends in Arkansas. David, while no longer owing a Corvair, maintains his interest in automobiles by being in a group that enjoys racing an Eagle Talon that they built for the "24 hours of Lemons" events.

Kenneth Eddy was a complete Corvair Man. He passed away in August of 1999. To everyone who knew him, Kenneth is remembered as a kind and generous gentleman, possessed of a keen wit that delighted all around him.

Larry Claypool, who owns and operates the Vair Shop in Frankfort, Illinois, remains the Corvair top gun. Larry is very active with the Chicago-land Corvair Enthusiasts and in CORSA.

Over the years, all three of these individuals were named honorary ACC members. We express our sincere thanks and salute each of them for their important contributions to our CORSA chapter.