No one has ever accused John Corey of doing anything the easy way when it comes to the Great Race. I met John for the first time in 2006 in Texas at a regional rally being held in San Marcos. I was building my 1916 Hudson Hillclimber and he was restoring his 1961 Imperial convertible, but neither was ready in time for the spring event. We both happened to be driving rental cars in the rally, me with Robert Dinges and John with David Ullman. I knew I liked John right away when he taped cardboard Imperial-like wings to the back of his rental car.
John has been a regular on the Great Race ever since, missing only a couple of times for work. And he is one of those visionary guys that makes the Great Race the special event that it is – he is always thinking and working on an older car. The latest is a 1931 Buick race car that he has chronicled the building process for several years here on the Great Race website.
Well, after several years of false starts, including one in 2014 where he had to go back home right before the start of the race to get his Imperial after the Buick had a rear end issue, the racer was ready for the 2016 Great Race from San Rafael to Moline. He shipped the car from New York to California for the start only to have engine troubles a few days before the start of the race.
John was heartbroken and going to go home. I told him he should buy a new car off ebay or Craigslist in San Francisco and drive it on the race (this was the Thursday before the start on Saturday). By Thursday night he arrived back in San Rafael with a 1964 Volvo.
John and his son Ethan probably had more fun than anyone else on the event with the car they owned for two days. Once he got back home, he sold the car with an ad in Hemmings Motor News and the car now resides in Burlington, Vermont.
John and Ethan’s adventure has been featured in an issue of ROLLING, the Volvo Club of America’s magazine, and you can read about it at this link: John and Ethan Corey’s Volvo Adventure