Gearhead of the Week: Art Rapp

Corvette special!

Gearhead of the Week is featuring local owners of the different generations of Chevrolet Corvettes leading up to the 2013 Bloomington Gold show June 28-30 at the grounds of the State Farm Center in Champaign.

Corvette history: The fourth generation of the Corvette was model years 1983-96 and was the first complete redesign of the vehicle since 1963. It featured a one-piece top with no center reinforcement and liquid crystal displays on the dashboard. The '86 model year offered the first convertible since 1975. Special performance versions, the Callaway Corvettes, were available in 1990-91. The final year of the C4 introduced the 330-brake-horsepower LT4 engine as an option.

Driver's license

Name: Art Rapp

Age: 59

Residence: St. Joseph

Occupation: retired locomotive engineeer

How long I've been a gearhead: "When I was 8 or 10 years old, I saw my first Corvette. It was red with white alcoves."

The vehicle I wish I never sold: "1967 Camaro SS/RS. I got married."

Street cred: Through the years, Rapp also has owned a '70 Camaro, a '77 Camaro, a '77 Pontiac Trans Am and a '72 Chevy Monte Carlo.

On the sticker

Make/model: 1991 Corvette coupe

Powertrain: 350-cubic-inch V8 L90; six-speed transmission; tuned port

Class: modified

The story: This vehicle was used as a test bed for modifications by Mid-America in Effingham and was featured as a project car in 13 episodes of Speed Channel's "Dream Car Garage." Rapp's sister bought the car in a silent auction and drove it for a few years before selling it him. It has been featured on the cover of Mid-America's catalog and several magazine covers. Upgrades include a Corsa exhaust, Baer brakes, stainless steel brake lines and custom rotors, custom wheels and custom interior.

Watch the video

More sights and sounds of Rapp's ride can be found at http://www.news-gazette.com.

Know any gearheads?

Do you know someone who has a passion about vehicles?

Nominate a friend, family member or even yourself for Gearhead of the Week by emailing gearhead@news-gazette.com.

We have received a gratifying number of respondents, so please be patient. We're working our way through the nominees — and we're always glad to receive more.

If you know of any events within driving distance that would be of interest to gearheads in the area, email us. We'll run them occasionally in our gearhead calendar.

Calendar

June 15: Pop the Top, Main Street, downtown Arcola. Registration 10 a.m. to noon (entry fee $10); awards at 3 p.m. Dash plaques for first 50 cards; door prizes; handcrafted trophies for top 25; unique, object d'art trophies for best of show, people's choice, most likely to attract unwanted police attention, unsafe at any speed, best pop top, closest to the spirit of the Hippie Memorial. Proceeds to Arcola Beautification Committee. Contact Drippy Smith at 268-4278 or smith129@consolidated.net.

July 20: 22nd Car, Truck and Custom Semi-Truck Show during the Champaign County Fair. No classes; top 25 earn trophies. Registration 9 a.m. (entry fee $10); show runs from noon to 3:30 p.m.; prizes at 3:30. Dash plaques for first 75 entries; car, truck, semi-truck Best of Show trophies; plaques for best paint, interior, engine, chrome; special plaques for fair queen choice, WIXY choice and Tires Plus choice. Sponsored by Chambana Sales, Reynolds Towing, Tires Plus, Stone Cold M.C. and WIXY.

Aug. 3: Villa Grove Car Show 2013, Cars for the Cure in support of breast cancer awareness. 9 a.m. to 4 p.m., Harrison Park. Registration runs from 9 a.m. to noon ($10 entry fee); trophies will be awarded at 3 p.m. to top 20 cars, top 10 trucks, top 10 motorcycles, veterans' choice, chairman's choice (three), sponsors' choice (three), best paint (three), best interior (two) and farthest traveled. Other features: dash plaques, free goody bags, raffle drawings throughout the day, first 25 entrants receive free T-shirt, free barbecue lunch to all participants, 50/50 drawing to benefit the Mills Breast Cancer Institute. Register/information: Stephen Akers, 832-9778 or 621-3027.

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