MEMBER PROFILE Jim Ecke's `74 Coupe



A Gem in the Rough

By Lynn Nault




Brand new, this white 1974 Corvette coupe with saddle interior was the tops! Optioned out with power windows, air conditioning, power brakes, 4 speed, rear defroster, deluxe leather interior, someone had a great car. Someone does again! That someone is Jim Ecke, from Merrimack, NH. A Gate City Corvette Club member for the past 9 years, Jim is in the process of bringing the luster back to this quality Vette.

Over the past 9 years, Jim has seen the club change and grow. Years ago, he attended meetings that were held in the basement of the Nashua Burger King and shows were held at Nashua's Greeley Park, where you had to be out by 5 pm before the baseball teams took over. Jim was elected Officer at Large for 2 years and has always been a strong supporter of the club.

Jim's interest in Vettes goes back to 1974 when he owned a 1966 GTO. In 1975 Jim bought a brand new Datsun 710 sports car - which he still owns and drives! He really gets a kick out of the thumbs up he gets when he cruises with that car. Still longing for a Corvette, he got that little extra nudge from a running buddy of his who owned a Corvette, and Jim finally bought his 1974 in July of 1992 through a local newspaper ad.

It was the cast off from a divorce settlement (you know the situation, wife goes, house goes, cars go - sigh - the Vette too, a casualty of war). One man's misfortune is another man's luck, and Jim was the lucky one! Over the years Jim has enjoyed his Corvette immensely, averaging 3,500 to 4,500 miles every summer. Jim's a marathon runner, having run the Boston Marathon 3 times! His Corvette can be called a marathon runner as well, with over 133,000 miles on the motor. This car shows no signs of tiring as it purrs up Heartbreak Hill (many runners wish they could say the same)! The body however, had begun to show its age and miles and so this past winter Jim made the decision to give it a facelift.

Another club member, Al Whittier, stripped through the old paint, freshened the body and laid a beautiful new coat of white paint on the car. When Jim got it back, he started working on the interior. He's done the work himself - putting in new seats, carpets, door panels. Now he's focusing on the details - dash, seat belts, steering wheel and column. As anyone knows, it's the details that make the car, and Jim is putting in his best efforts.

Of course when someone shows their car, the more work they put into it, the more work it takes to keep it up. Jim is now looking to move from Street Class to Super Street at the Corvette shows! Jim just recently took first place in Street class at the Corvettes United Show. Way to go, Jim!

As the summer progresses, watch this gem of a car sparkle again like it did back in 1974.