"Dream car" finds new home with lifelong admirer

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Rod Bolsinger of rural Millville, right, recently re-purchased his dream car, a 25th anniversary 1978 Chevrolet Corvette from Dave Brown, left, of Dave Brown Classic Rides. (Photo submitted)

By Caroline Rosacker

Whether a classic car enthusiast falls in love with the elegant features of a luxury classic, the compact style and speed of a sports car, or the powerful engine under the hood of a classic muscle car, they claim buying a vintage automobile is similar to inviting someone to become a member of their family. 

First love

Rod Bolsinger of rural Millville recently shared his personal story involving his first love, a 1978 Chevrolet Corvette. He began, "In 1983, I was a 16-year-old pizza delivery boy for Leroy's Pizza in Dyersville. One day I went out for a delivery. I shot out the back door and hopped in the Volkswagen Bug delivery car and headed down the main drag. As I came up to the stop sign, I looked across the road at Charlie Platz Service Station, and there she was. I laid eyes on the love of my life. She was a shiny, white 1978 Chevrolet Corvette. From the moment I saw her, all I could dream about was taking her for a spin." 

Five years later

Five years passed before Bolsinger would see the car again. He shared, "It wouldn't be until 1985 when our paths crossed again. I moved back to Dyersville after finishing my Culinary Arts Degree from Kirkwood Community College, and was quickly offered a head chef position by Dick Kramer, the owner of the Knight Light Supper Club. One night at work, I glanced out the window and there she was again – pulling into the parking lot, the car of my dreams. I later found out Dick had purchased her from Charlie Platz. That night after work I was telling Dick how passionate I was about that car, and it was my dream to drive her."

A few months later, Kramer approached Bolsinger about driving the Corvette in the annual St. Patrick's Day parade held in Dyersville. "I about dropped to the floor and couldn't spit out 'yes' fast enough! Dick even let me take her home to wash and wax for our big day together. To this day I have never seen a car shine so much in my life. As the parade began, snow started to fall. I still remember thinking those were the first snowflakes to ever hit this car. As soon as the parade was over I wiped her down, tucked her in Dick's garage and thanked him for what I thought was the opportunity of a lifetime," said Bolsinger. 

She's finally mine

A short time passed and Kramer approached Bolsinger and inquired if he would be interested in purchasing the vehicle. Bolsinger commented, "Dick asked if I wanted to make her my very own. I told him I would love to, but I just purchased a new truck and I didn't think the bank would offer out another loan to a 21-year-old kid wanting a Corvette." 

Bolsinger's boss made a generous offer. "Dick offered to trade the Corvette for my truck, and even co-signed the loan for the 'Vette'. I was finally the proud owner of a 25th anniversary 1978 Chevrolet Corvette! I was constantly washing and waxing her, or taking her for a spin grinning from ear to ear behind the wheel," he recalled. 

Saying goodbye

A year passed and Bolsinger realized he could not afford to keep the sporty vehicle. "With payments, insurance, and having to buy a car for the winter, I couldn't swing it financially anymore. I was forced to hang up the for sale sign." He added, "Twenty-four hours later the car was sold. Don Overmann pulled up wanting to buy her for himself. It was a gut-wrenching feeling seeing her drive away, but I told Don if he ever thought about selling her to make sure he called me first."

Hello again!

A lifetime later Bolsinger became reacquainted with his beloved Corvette. "Thirty-two years later I am living outside of Millville, married with grown children and even some grandchildren. I have been employed in the pipeline industry for 30 years. In my spare time I like to walk along the dike in Guttenberg," he explained. "One morning while walking on the northern end of the dike, I turned to head south, and when I changed direction I felt the extreme chill of wind at my face. I decided to head down towards First Street to escape the cold wind. I walked by Dave Brown's lot of classic rides, and noticed a white Corvette with a 78 in the window. I did a double take and felt an overwhelming sensation that told me to go in. I just knew it was her!" 

Bolsinger approached Sue Kane and asked if the former owner was Don Overman. "When she said 'yes' I about dropped to the floor – just the same as the day Dick Kramer said I could drive her for the first time," he said. "Sitting there, she looked as good as the day I sold her. I talked to Dave Brown and told him the history of the car. I walked around showing him any chip or scratch she had weathered in those 32 years. Dave and I talked back and forth, throwing numbers at each other, but the deal wasn't made that day." 

Home to stay

On March 5, after a month of weighing on Bolsinger's mind, he finally purchased the vehicle and brought her home to stay. "The day I sold her the odometer read 28,000 miles and today she sits at 51,000. Only 23,000 pampered miles put on her in 32 years. This summer I can't wait to take her and the other love of my life — my wife, Heidi —  out for cruises. I plan to keep the car in the family, and one day when my daughter Bailey is dressed in white for her special day, I plan to hand her off and also hand her the white Corvette as she also shares my love for classic rides," he said with pride.

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