Excalibur – First Corvette. LS1 V8 (345hp) with 6-speed Borg-Warner T56 manual transmission, black leather interior with all power options. Acquired in August of 1997 in Gaithersburg MD, the name and color were chosen in a vote by all my girlfriends of the time. Originally ordered February 1997 as a 1997 model but due to six months of delays on the six-speed manual transmission (an $815 option!), the body-color targa top, and the 12-disc CD changer, it became a 1998 model. Ordered in my name with my chosen options, I was there at Criswell Chevrolet-Lotus-Lamborghini as it was unloaded from the truck on August 27, 1997. Amidst the overpowering scent of new car and hot leather on a blistering Virginia summer day, I peeled off the shipping plastic on the leather seats, steering wheel and shifter. Buying a new Corvette is a great experience, but having your Corvette built especially for you is ten times better. I promptly drove it back to the factory two days later for the 1997 Labor Day Celebration, during which we received the news that Princess Diana had died in Paris. Wrecked April 1998 during a test-drive by a friend, raced in Virginia from 1998-2001, wrecked again in June 2000, moved to Chicago in 2002 and finally stolen from my apartment with 51,000 miles in June 2003 while I was away at the National Corvette Museum’s 50th Anniversary celebration. In a different car. This was followed by nine months of harassment by Progressive insurance company, who hounded me with attorneys and investigated me extensively for fraud before concluding (whoops!) I’d done nothing wrong and finally paying my claim. I fired them Trump-style and will never do business with them again.