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
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
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.
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.
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
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!