Our next disciple represents the Corvette Community at large. I had the pleasure of meeting Janet and her late husband Mike at a Corvette Enthusiast event in Los Angeles – they were hosting a dinner the evening before we unveiled the CorvetteZ06 -- I'd never met them before, but I knew right away that this was a couple who absolutely embraced all things Corvette... In fact, we had Janet help to remove the cover for the Z06 on the turntable, and we invited her to get in and enjoy the interior as Jim Campbell presented the vehicle to the crowd – I wasn't sure how we were going to get Janet out of the car! She told me right then and there that she was going to order one just like it – and she did! She still has it – along with a new ZL1. I remember her telling me the first time she saw an all-black ZL1 that she had to have one of them, too!
So, Janet! Tell us a bit about who Janet Curran is...
Well – I was Born and raised in California – and having always lived in Southern California, my late husband and I have always been able to enjoy our car addiction year round. I am a 66-year-old mother and car enthusiast. I currently own a 2012 ZL1 Camaro, a 2006 Z06 Corvette, a 2006 Silverado Duramax 4X4 2500 HD Crew Cab, a 1972 Buick GSX, a 1969 Jeep CJ5 and a 1968 Chevy 4X4 pickup (original owner). As we got older, we realized that we'd have to "pare down" our collection of cars to a very small group that we drive regularly and to which we are very attached.
Tell us a bit about the first time that Corvette grabbed you and would not let you go...
As a senior in high school I enjoyed my first ride in a Corvette – I'll never forget it! It was a RED 1963 Split Window Coupe, and have never gotten over that thrill – the feeling of pure exhilaration as we drove around town... Since that time, every car I have looked at has been compared to a Corvette.
You've had a very interesting career over the years – care to elaborate?
For over 25 years I owned and operated my own import business. Both my Father and Father-in-law had been early importers of custom-made emblems from Asia and they both taught me a tremendous amount about manufacturing and marketing. With their blessings I went out on my own and found niche markets in the vintage aviation, automobile, doll and comic industries. Whatever my clients wanted, I created... pins, medallions, buckles, embroidery, bronze figurines, soft sculptures, cold-cast porcelain figurines and many other items. Everything was different, a challenge and very interesting. After 25 years in business I was ready to try something different. That is when John Morris, co-owner of Spring Mountain Advanced Driving School (now the Ron Fellows Performance Driving School) asked if I would like to work for him. At the time I was writing for a small Corvette magazine (C5/C6 Registry) and putting on Corvette events. In this new position, I would market Spring Mountain to Corvette enthusiasts across the country... nothing could be more exciting. Traveling to Corvette shows, races, and all kinds of events where Corvettes gathered, I was there. I had always done this, only now I was representing Spring Mountain, a school I had attended many times prior to my employment. During my tenure at Spring Mountain I was privileged to be acquainted with many of the Corvette engineers, designers, test drivers, race drivers, Marketing team, Pratt & Miller crew, development teams, GM VIPs and, of course, the amazing cars as they were being developed and tested.
You are an exceptional Precision Driver! So much so that we featured your skills...
Well, Several times over the years I was honored that you asked me to drive new model GM cars on the track for video filming. We'd spend three days with a group of precision drivers – a camera truck, several photographers and their assistants – sometimes a helicopter! And somehow your talent company would put all of that together to create a great video that you featured at auto shows across the country. I think some, if not all of them, are still on YouTube! I especially loved blasting around the track in a Red Grand Sport Convertible!
You've always been a "Corvette Gal" – and while you still have an undying passion for all things Corvette – you've also seemed to adopt a similar love for all things Camaro... Tell us a bit about how that happened...
In January 2006 I was privileged to attend the NAIAS and unveiling of the 5th Generation Concept Camaro. I was one of (I guess it was about 250) Camaro/Firebird/Corvette Enthusiasts that had the privilege of attending an amazing evening at the GM Heritage Center with members of the Chevrolet Performance Team – followed by the unveiling of the Camaro Concept the next morning. I'll never forget the whole experience! What immediately attracted me to the new Camaro were the exciting looks, the powerful exhaust sound and the heritage that this car represented.
You wrote a very passionate letter just about the time we were looking to put together a group of Enthusiasts to help with the development of the 5th gen Camaro – talk a bit about that...
When the Camaro Team selected me, a non-Camaro person to become one of the Camaro Disciples – I was shocked, honored, amazed... but most of all I felt that I really had to work and do the job that they expected from me, from all of us. They wanted honest answers of what we felt the Camaro should be, not what I thought they wanted to hear. Fifteen Disciples, sometimes fifteen different answers, we did not give them a consensus. The Disciples are a true cross-section of Camaro buyers. They even converted me, the Corvette person into buying a Camaro! Now I am a Camaro person, I own the hottest Camaro of them all...the fabulous ZL1. I have been converted. I am now a Corvette/Camaro enthusiast. I have the best of both worlds; I have the Camaro ZL1 and Corvette Z06. But I wonder, what is just around the corner? What will those fabulous Chevrolet engineers bring us next?
Tell us a bit about your experiences at the various Disciple gatherings - what stands out in your mind?
I went into the very first meeting feeling that I would not be accepted because I was not a Camaro person. But I was wrong. Everyone accepted me right away. Everyone was chosen because they had something different to offer. This is a very special group of people; all interested in what everyone else has to say. No one is right or wrong, which is why there is a diverse group to represent all of the Camaro enthusiasts.
You mentioned a moment ago about the fact that sometimes there are 15 different opinions from 15 disciples to a question or concern that Team Camaro shares with you - and while it can get noisy at times - you all seem to love being together - why do you suppose that is - and is it, in your opinion, uncommon?
We all have respect for each other. We know that each of us was chosen because of who we are and our backgrounds and those backgrounds create our answers to the questions we are asked. There is a reason Chevrolet has so many different Camaros... because there are so many different people that need and want the different cars.
What's the one message you'd like our readers to take away from this interview about Chevrolet's performance cars?
Today is the best day ever to be a Chevrolet enthusiast. Look at the selection of Camaros available, there is one for everyone. The V6 has more horsepower than my first Corvette, much better brakes, and everything lasts longer. If you want even more go-power there is the SS, 1LE, ZL1 or the new Z/28, and that’s just the Camaros – don’t get me started on the Corvettes!