On Sept. 16 in west suburban Maywood, I spoke with members of the Chicago Cross-Roads Corvette Club, an automobile club comprising around 200 Corvette owners, most of whom are African American, who hail from nine different states (and the West Side of Chicago). The club, which is the official transportation of the Bud Billiken Day Parade, drives in nearly 170 different events a year, said Marvin Mayberry, the club’s president. During a brief interview, nearly a dozen of the members spoke about their love affairs with the Corvette, among other topics. Below is an aggregation, and summary, of their responses. 

On the secret of owning a Corvette

Work. That’s it. Active and passive income. And good money management. Most of the people in our club are working people. The cars range in price. You can find one for $10,000 on autotrader.com or for $120,000 brand new. If you can afford a new Taurus, you can afford one of these. It might not be a new one, but it will be better than that brand new Taurus. 

On maintaining the cars

“Since 1992, this car has been a year-round car,” said Mayberry. “People don’t want to drive them in the winter because of inclement weather — salt and all of that. But if the streets are clean … I’m driving!” 

Some members, however, said they typically don’t bring their Corvettes out until April. But the need for keeping the cars away from the elements has to be balanced with making sure the car is being exercised regularly — which is critical to good upkeep.

On the club’s activities

We’re a community service organization, so as long as [entities who want to invite them to parades and other events] don’t charge us, we don’t charge them. We also regularly give out $1,000 scholarships to deserving students. 

One West Side native’s testimony

A female member of the group, who was born and raised on the West Side, said that the Corvette “has always been my dream car and now it’s like I’m living the dream. The red one over there is mine. My plate says, ‘God did that.'” 

 Michael Romain