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Had to have one

Had to have one
Had to have one

When the Chevrolet Corvette began rolling off the assembly line, Gene Harcharik was first learning to drive.

It took many years, but the Streator man eventually came to own one.

The Corvette was unveiled in 1953, when Harcharik was 14. He recalled being impressed with the sports car as a youngster, but his interest went into high gear later on when a friend bought one.

"I told myself, 'I have to get one of those,' " Harcharik said.

The time arrived in 2014 when the Thatcher's Glass retiree spotted a red 2011 Corvette at a show in Champaign. The owner was willing to part with the car, so it found a new home in Harcharik's garage, where it joined his 1966 Pontiac Star Chief Executive and his wife Barb's 1996 Chevrolet Silverado.

"It wasn't brand new, but it was like brand new. It even smelled brand new," Harcharik said of his Corvette.

The Corvette, which has 4,000 miles on its odometer, is a Grand Sport model, meaning it's a little bigger than the regular Corvette. The car features a black interior, with 436 horsepower under the hood.

"It's a Screaming Mimi!" Harcharik said, noting his car's engine.

Harcharik only drives the Corvette on weekends and allows the mechanics at Bill Walsh Automotive to perform tender loving maintenance.

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