Anyone familiar with the Corvette hobby will tell you that despite the production of an estimated 1.5 million Corvettes since the first run in 1953, finding any two the same is like finding two identical human beings. With all the options offered from year to year, each Corvette that rolls out of the assembly plant – although appearing the same on the surface – has its own unique fingerprint given by it’s new owner.
While roaming the countless rows of Corvettes at the Funfest, these similarities tend to blend together, but along the way, you’ll find a multitude of cars that that have been given their own, distinct touch that truly stands out from the crowd. And as we passed the 2001 ‘Vette of John and Anita Wilhelm, the pink ribbon flags symbolizing breast cancer awareness flying proudly in the afternoon breeze were simply impossible to miss. Like every car on the property, this one had a story all it’s own – but this one displayed that story proudly.
Anita Wilhelm herself is a survivor – battling through two bouts with Hodgkins Disease 30 years ago and breast cancer 8 years ago – and is an active regional and national supporter and volunteer for breast cancer awareness programs such as the Susan G. Komen Foundation.
The Wilhelms, already with two Corvettes in their garage (a restored ’64 and a ’99 Mallett 396), purchased this Speedway White convertible (one of 1,047) with a white top and gray interior in 2007 with just 40,000 miles on the odometer. Husband John then set out to make the newest addition as unique and elegant as his fighter of a wife is, enlisting the help of Mid America Motorworks to give the C5 a completely custom new look both inside and out.
With a set of aftermarket Weld Evo Radian II wheels, Baer drilled and slotted high performance brakes, B&B PRT dual exhaust, and a lowered suspension, John then turned to the interior, ripping out virtually every bit of the interior and replacing it in an all-white theme, with pink ribbons in the headrest and console. Cosmetic work was also performed under the hood; the least of which is the eye-catching chrome panel on the underside of the hood emblazoned in the words “Survivor.”
Once completed, the Wilhelms had themselves a looker of a Corvette that proudly honored not only Anita, but the millions of breast cancer survivors all around the world. As they say, a picture is worth a thousand words, and the details found in this car tell an inspiring story of survival and triumph without ever typing a word.