Next Level gets some good press.. CorvetteWeb Magazine feature - 1000 Horse Drop Top.. Click Here to check it out!
|Welcome to The Corvette Club of Orlando! |
As the Most Active Corvette Club in Central Florida, we welcome you to the Corvette Club of Orlando's Website! At CCO, our motto is simple - "Friendship, Family, Fun." Founded in 1992, we have been providing Corvette owners in Florida a truly premier membership experience for twenty-three years. We're owners of Corvette classics from the '50's to the ultra modern 2015 C7 Corvette Stingray! We are a social organization that enjoys fellowship, Corvette road-trips, Corvette car shows, activities & events and we all have a common bond of support for the communities we live, work and raise our families in. This Website serves our members with a portal for club news and information. We also feature our valued sponsors prominently and provide the entire world an opportunity to learn more about the Premier Corvette Club in all of Florida. Please come on in and browse around. Thank you for visiting The Corvette Club of Orlando!
May 20th - Annual Fundraiser Live Auction
Gators Dockside - West Colonial Drive, Orlando - CCO is pleased to announce that the 2015 edition of our annual fundraising Live Auction will be held during CCO's regular monthly business meeting at Gators Dockside on Wednesday, May 20. To accomodate the extra time needed to allow CCO's Auctioneer Extraordinaire, Kurt Chena to 'bid it up,' Mike has promised to keep the 'business' to a minimum. We may even get going a bit earlier than 7:00PM so
gather your Corvette related and other Live-Auction-Ready contributions, come early, get a good seat and enjoy your meal early. On behalf of the entire board of directors, VP Don is encouraging all CCO members to continue a legacy of selfless and generous giving. This year Don believes our situation is a bit different though. "Due to space limitations, our event is a Live Auction only and will not include a silent a silent auction like in the past. It is critical that CCO membership concentrates on contributing items that are of a value
worthy of the time required for Kurt to give each item the attention required to obtain a high bid. So, think big, like $30 to $50 estimated value," Don says. "Always keep in mind that our own generosity and that of our sponsors afford us the opportunity to have a great time as an organization but to also give back to our communities -- every year." Auction night attendance is like any other meeting - member and special guest only, so if any member wishes to invite guests who may want to participate just let Don know for planning purposes. If you have a question about any item meeting the value guidelines for a Live Auction, please shoot Don or any board member a message - we'll get back to you. As always, please bring cash or personal checks to cover your final winning bids with our Treasurer, Ms. Susan. For more info see My CCO Calendar. We are counting on you, our membership, to support this event and are looking forward to a great turnout and record Live Auction results!
Space Coast Drive - Ecklers and Dixie Crossroads
Ecklers Industries massive parking area
Titusville, Florida - On Saturday April 11, over twenty Corvettes converged on Nicks Family Diner for a pre-drive breakfast. As always, thanks to CCO Sponsors Angie, Nick and their staff for always being ready for our crowd with great smiles a super breakfast in Corvette style speed! Upon completing our meal, some socializing and a short drivers meeting, we headed east toward Florida’s Space Coast and Ecklers Industries in three group caravans.
Our gang gathering for drivers meeting after breakfast.
After a pleasant hour-long drive, CCO’s three groups of Corvettes pulled into Ecklers expansive parking area. Located just west of Titusville’s TiCo airport off Grissom Parkway, Ecklers huge new facility houses all fifteen Ecklers Automotive lines in one location. Upon entering the facility we were introduced to staff and set out on a casual guided stroll in the massive warehouse where we were encouraged to browse about and familiarize ourselves with the massive selection of Corvette parts and accessories!
Mike and JR are very curious guests...
Winding up our visit, the ladies went about shopping for Corvette apparel, etc., in the showroom. After about an hour at Ecklers, we drove north to a Titusville landmark seafood restaurant - World Famous Dixie Crossroads. Established in 1983, Dixie Crossroads has been a purveyor of the finest seafood, shrimp and steak specialties along Florida’s Central Coast we’ve likely ever experienced. With a massive amount of seating capacity, the restaurant placed our group near a kitchen entrance and served up a bounty of awesome corn fritters, followed by tasty cooked to order seafood - the author especially liked their seasonal red shrimp offering - in two dozen fashion!
CCO chows down on good Dixie Crossroads Seafood
After a great meal, and many to-go boxes filled, it was back to the parking lot for our final discussions and good-bye’s. Thanks go to CCO Member Herb Merksamer for suggesting and organizing the itinerary, and running the course ahead of time to firm up directions - that’s detail for ya! Thanks to John Bradham for email blast promoting, handling RSVP’s and finally, thanks to all for making the drive a safe one and enjoying the day!
Congratulations to Tom and Maggie Kinst as their 2008 Pace Car / Callaway Roadster has been selected as CCO's Corvette of the Quarter! Click the image or the link below to see Tom's full BIO on this beautiful and rare Corvette at our Corvette of the Quarter Gallery!
CCO Members, do you want to know more about how you can submit your Corvette for consideration? See the Corvette of the Quarter Rules for Submission.
"Attention - Stand at Ease..!"
Armed Forces Military Museum - Photo's Courtesy of Rich Craig
Largo, Florida - Saturday, March 28 - On a beautiful Saturday, sunny-but-crisp morning, approximately 25 Corvettes from the Corvette Club of Orlando took off for a majestic back roads trip planned by the master himself, Ed Merchut. The adventure took us through some of Florida’s scenic roads and towns as we turned west, then south, then east, then west. After journeying for 1.5 hours, we arrived at the Armed Forces History Museum in Largo, Fl. By the way, the museum was founded in 1996 by John J. Piazza with an additional 15,000 sq. ft. outdoor display space. This Armed Forces History Museum is one of the largest, non-government funded, museums in the entire southeast.
Because we were such a large group, we were split into 2 groups each having their own guide for the tour. Our guide happened to be Frank, a former marine who has studied and researched years and years of factual information regarding the armed forces, the various conflicts and wars, and the multitude of equipment needed for each branch. He was truly a patriot, through and through as well as an exceptional guide, pouring his heart out in every word at each scene. His knowledge of armed forces history throughout our great country’s trials and tribulations of war was exceptional.
At the beginning of Frank’s tour, we saw a large display outside of actual military aircraft, tanks, and vehicles of all shapes and sizes, many of which were restored to their original glory right here at the museum. Once inside this award-winning museum, we journeyed through the trenches of WWI, then we were at Pearl Harbor, the South Pacific, Germany, a French Village during WW2, the Korean War and, we stepped into the jungles of Vietnam and ended with the Cold War, the Gulf Wars and present day conflicts involving the US.
The extraordinary sights, scents and sounds that envelop you actually felt like you were right there during those horrific times. Frank ended our tour in a conference room where Q&A took place for a few minutes. There was a dollar machine that the proceeds went to under privileged children to help fund their tours through the museum. As fortune would have it, many played the machine for the scratch offs and Rich Craig won $100. He immediately turned his winnings over to the museum for the sake of the children. That is simply awesome. Well done Rich!
From here, we fired up the Corvettes and took off down the road for a great lunch at Largo’s The Way restaurant. This was a great spot to accommodate our large group. We can all thank Larry and Karen Greshel for setting this reservation for us. Job well done! As the afternoon progressed and our meals finished, we all said our farewells and headed back to home base. This was an awesome trip, very well executed from departure, the journey, the tour, and finally lunch.
Hip-hip hooray !
~ Article submitted by Nick Francoforte. For more pics by Rich Craig see Armed Forces Military Museum Gallery
Important Member Notice:
CCO members attending our Derby Weekend, May 1-3, need to check email and your My CCO Calendar for new details on our Friday evening, May 1st dinner plans. Be sure to review the entire calendar entry. To sign up for this dinner, please be sure you are in touch with our Derby Weekend Event Coordinator via email. Please click into My CCO Calendar for all event details.
CCO Reopens Membership Opportunities for 2015
Monday, February 2nd - The Corvette Club of Orlando is pleased to announce that the application process for new member induction is currently open. If you are interested in joining CCO or desire more information about memberhip opportunities and the application process, please visit our Join CCO page, carefully read the page and if you are ready to apply, click the link to "Request an Application." Act fast to increase your chances of joining the "Most active Corvette Club in Central Florida!" Once CCO reaches its 2015 Membership Cap, our roster will be immediately closed and application request links dissabled.
~ CCO reserves the right to alter all aspects of membeship management without prior notice.
Backroads to Blackwater via Barberville...
To rainy for outdoor photography so here's a T-Shirt Pic for Sale at the Blackwater Inn
February 28, Astor Florida - "Rain or shine!" - That's what we were thinking as over twenty Corvettes pulled out of CCO's meet-point for anther mystery drive and lunch planned by Don and Ed last Saturday morning February 28. Printed instructions led turn by turn to our first pit stop near Barberville, then on to Barberville Roadside.
Yard Art at Barberville Roadside
One of the largest collections of 'Yard Art and Produce" you could ever imagine has stood at the corner of US 17 and State Road 40 for nearly 25 years. CCO browsed amongst wooden carvings, ceramics, wrought iron and statuary, snatched up roasted peanuts, honey and soda and many promised to return to purchase seven foot tall rooster statues to large to fit in Corvettes!
Don and Jewel get some Bench Rest at Barberville Roadside
Soon, group leaders announced we needed to make our way further west on SR 40 to our final destination - and mystery spot - The Blackwater Inn, directly on the Saint John's River at the crossing of SR 40 in Astor Florida.
CCO would be seated in a separate dining room holding hungary mystery riders and a few overflowed into the main dining room.
Don announcing winner of 'free lunch' for correctly guessing the Mystery Location...
All had wonderful picture window views of the river, even though the weather was limiting normal heavy weekend boat traffic. Astor is just south of massive Lake George, the second largest lake in Florida. The lake draws thousands of daily visitors seeking pleasure, watersports, hunting and fishing opportunities and many travel up the Saint John's River from points south past Astor to reach the lake. Lunch was completely off the menu and excellent seafood and land-lubber dishes came out of the kitchen in good time and was enjoyed by all.
As the rain continued steady through lunch and after, we darted back to our Corvettes, some heading home, others to a third optional stop via another long back roads ride southward to the Mount Dora Brewing Company on Highland Street. There, one last afternoon adult beverage and more social time capped off another successful ride, shopping and a meal, safely traveled on wet roads, enjoyed by a great group of CCO friends! Thanks go to Event Organizer Don Ianitelli, Drive Planner Ed Merchut and our VP of Activities John Bradham for promoting the event and maintaining the event roster!
Photo Credit Joy Symmes and Howard Brown
A Fruitful Mystery Drive
Citra, Florida - On Saturday, January 31, Sixteen Corvettes spanning six generations (1964-2015) led by Ed Merchut departed Mount Dora heading generally northwest. Mr. M, (as John Bradham now refers to Ed as) laid out a beautiful route through Lake, Marion and Alachua Counties heading into Old Florida citrus country. Armed with only partial-route turn-by-turn driving instructions, we drove in small groups to our first regathering for a pit stop. Destination still a mystery, we were handed yet another partial set of instructions to our first discovered mystery: 'The Orange Shop.' The Orange Shop, opened in 1936, has been a family run citrus grower and distributor for three generations and is located directly on old US Highway 301 in the small north-central Florida village of Citra. Once the center of Citrus in Florida, this community saw it's prominence in Florida agriculture decline after several successive freezes in the early 1900's. Now, Pete and Cindy Spyke continue the family tradition growing and distributing award winning citrus from land in Marion and Indian River Counties - despite the hardships of replanting and managing groves decimated by the freezes that have eliminated almost an entire industry this far north in Florida.
After a packing house tour, sampling of tasty citrus products and some social time outside, it was time to roll on to our lunch location. With our last page of driving instructions in hand, we motor on to a place steeped in Florida historical and literary significance - Cross Creek and the 'Yearling' Restaurant. Here, CCO would be introduced to another Old Florida treat. As the photo's in our event gallery will attest, the Yearling is filled with a massive amount of memorabilia reminiscent of renowned author Marjorie Kinnan Rawlings - most noted for her book 'The Yearling.' The story was set right there on the banks of Cross Creek in Alachua County in the early 20th century. After a group lunch including seafood or chicken and accompanyments in a dining room with shelves full of books, antiques and a live harmonica & guitar musical note or two, CCO said their goodbye's and headed out for an afternoon drive home.
Thanks go to Ed Merchut for continuing his tradition of educational, back road, 'Florida on a tank full' type drives. Also we must recognize John Bradham for assisting Ed fill up these events by tirelessly soliciting the membership via email and tracking attendance!
We'll see you on our next Corvette Club of Orlando Back Road Mystery Trip!
See Event Gallery for Photos of this event.
Spotlight on a Champion
Lake Mary, Florida - If one was to look up the definition of the term Champion in Webster’s Dictionary, they’d certainly find the above photo accompanying the entry. Yes, that’s CCO Member Ed Merchut standing proudly behind his treasured Torch Red 1999 Fixed Roof Coupe, sharing the pavement with sixty two trophies this car/owner team has been awarded over the past sixteen years!
Purchased in March of 1999, this award winning Corvette is indeed unique. Ed and his wife, Sandra, have driven only 54,000 miles in this car in all it’s years. But, these miles are a bit more than special as they include attending shows where those sixty-two awards were earned, and a lot of time on road courses and oval tracks all over the southeastern US. Ed says Sebring, Roebling Road, Atlanta Motor Speedway and Daytona International Speedway should just about cover the tracks the Corvette has lapped. Add to this countless day and weekend drives with CCO friends and several trips to the Tennessee, Carolina and North Georgia Mountains - with a detour up or down the Tail of the Dragon along the way when possible.
To top it all, in 2001 along with nineteen other C5 Registry members’ cars on a container ship, this ’99 sailed across the Atlantic Ocean. Destination: the 2001 Running of LeMans. While in France and Belgium, this Corvette was driven more than 1300 miles through the countryside, experienced a 150MPH run on a new French toll road and then the ultimate; An unforgettable four laps of the LeMans track “at speed,” as Ed is fond of mentioning.
Ed & Sandra purchased the car new at an MSRP of $39,122, equipped with $345 in options: Power Drivers Seat, Parcel Net and Floor Mats. Soon after, Ed set out to customize the car to make it truly one of a kind - and a show winner.
Ed and Sandra are loyal CCO members and they prove this over and again by volunteering countless hours to organize and conduct back road drives and mystery trips. Over the years, these drives have always been scenic and educational for our members. Under Ed & Sandra’s guidance, we’ve visited many unique destinations not only with automotive interests in mind, but social, economic and historical significance also. And, these trips are not only in Florida, but to the entire Southeastern region of the country as well. We’re grateful for their friendship and the support they provide to CCO.
Although Ed & Sandra have owned other red Corvettes… (we hear they have plans to add yet another very soon,) we think this Corvette is both a Champion, and a keeper!
CCO Celebrates the Holidays in Style!
CCO Gathers at Heathrow for Annual Celebration
Heathrow, Florida - On Saturday evening, January 3rd, CCO celebrated another great year, recognized the teamwork that makes CCO successful, ate & drank well, and acompanied by great music - danced our way into 2015. This year's event was held at the exclusive Heathrow Golf and Country Club in beautiful Seminole County. We need to recognize the efforts of event organizer Rena Woodley who thought of everything, working closely with Toni Curlin at Heathrow to put together a really great event. Thanks also go out to John Bradham who supported Rena and energized the membership to attend, Rich Craig for his photography and to Susan King for keeping track of the bank!
Please see full gallery of Rich's action photos here or visit our Gallery Menu.
On behalf of CCO President Mike Nostro and the entire Board of Directors, The Corvette Club of Orlando extends our thanks to our membership, our valued sponsors, our website visitors, friends, followers and all the CCO Family for making sure that 2014 was a great year!
Stay tuned as 2015 will be even better...!
Community Corner Returns
In keeping with CCO's commitment to our communities, the feature "Community Corner" returns in 2015 with it's debut spotlight on a very worthy cause - the American Foundation for Suicide Prevention. CCO members Wayne & Terry Levesque (Team Flava) are heavily involved with AFSP and are promoting the 2015 8th Annual "Out of the Darkness Community Walk" which is raising funds to support research, education and prevention initiatives to reduce the loss of life due to suicide. Please consider supporting AFSP and Team Flava! For more info click this link: Out of the Darkness. We appreciate your support!
CCO Honors our Corvette of the Year - 2014
- Nick & Pat's 60th Anniversary 427 Roadster -
CCO Corvette of the Year
Announced at CCO's Annual Christmas Holiday Extravaganza on January 3rd, The Corvette of the Year 2014
Award is deservedly presented to Nick and Pat Francoforte.
See CCO's Corvette of the Quarter Gallery for a Photo and BIO on all of our winners since 2012!
CCO Members: Click here
to find out how to have your car considered for Corvette of the Quarter.
CCO - Lifetime Business Member