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Sandy and I had been seeing Chuck Mallett and his cars at some of the major Corvette events of 1998, but we never got to actually meet him until Funfest at Mid America Direct in September. There, at the VIP dinner, we were privileged to be at a table with Elfi Duntov and Chuck. During a lull in the festivities, he spoke up and told us that he admired what we were doing, and he wanted to help. He knew that we were putting a lot of miles on the C5, and he was sure it could use some maintenance. Any time we were passing near Cleveland and had the time, he wanted us to stop by his shop in Berea for what he referred to as a "full race prep" on the car. We naturally jumped at the chance!

It just so happened that from Funfest we were going back to Carlisle to get the new tires, that Corvettes @ Carlisle had donated, installed on the car. But there was a problem - they had not been able to find anybody locally who could mount the "run-flat" tires. It takes a special tire machine. Chuck said "No problem! I can do that right in my shop. Just have Carlisle send me the new tires to replace the ones that I'll put on for you."

Two days after Funfest ended, we arrived at Mallett Cars Ltd. It was late, about 6:00, but we went right to the shop, to make sure we knew where it was. They were still going strong. Chuck suggested that it would speed things up if we left the car overnight so that it would be cool to work on in the morning. Since our motel was about 8 miles away, they gave us the shop test mule C5 6-speed for the night. Not too shabby as loaners go!

mallettshop.jpg (161845 bytes)Some shops will wash a car after their service is complete. Chuck washed our car BEFORE bringing it into the shop. You have to see this shop to appreciate the significance of this little detail. This is the cleanest automotive shop you could imagine! The floor is white epoxy. When the car was finally allowed inside, it was parked on a huge sheet of white linoleum. The next day, when the car was finally rolled off the linoleum, Chuck himself was instantly on the floor with spray bottle and rags, wiping up any evidence of its presence.

mallettwork.jpg (159227 bytes)The entire crew spent the entire next day working on the car! They replaced the tires, brake rotors and pads, all the fluids, filters and belts. They fixed a couple of minor problems, adjusted the driver's window for wind noise at speed, aligned the wheels, cleaned the engine compartment, waxed the car and applied their logo decals. 

All the while we got to look at all the cars and memorabilia in the shop. There were several Mallett 435 or Mallett 396 production C5s in different stages of construction. Of particular interest were the 1996 "One Lap Of America" race car, the current "One Lap" C5, and Chuck's Dad's 60's Ford drag racer.

Chuck's Mom, Beverly, brought in a fabulous spaghetti lunch for everyone, and came back at 4:00 with more goodies. This is a family operation, with Chuck's Dad - Charlie, who builds all the engines, two brothers - Lance and Glenn, and Chuck's wife, Julie, all active in the daily operation along with Dave Sarafian, Chuck's partner.

chuckblur.jpg (142539 bytes)That day with the Malletts stands out as one of the highlights of our tour! This has become an annual event - every year we return for another "full race prep" as only Chuck and his crew can do it. This photo is typical of Chuck - a blur as he mounts one of the tires that he is now donating himself!  < A little observation here: as Chuck mounted the tires, I noticed that when he was done, all the tires had the lettering aligned to  the valve stem exactly the same way. Typical attention to detail! >

Wonderful people, going overboard to help our cause, and enjoying what they are doing!

When we got the new C6, Chuck jumped right in, donating a set of his trick oversize, powder coated wheels, wrapped in a set of Michelin Pilot Sport PS2 tires!

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Link to Mallett Cars, Ltd