O.C. Latta shares his love of Corvettes with the members of the local Mark Twain Corvette Club and also the people who gathered in downtown Hannibal, Mo., Saturday, Aug. 3, for the club’s annual Corvette show.

O.C. Latta shares his love of Corvettes with the members of the local Mark Twain Corvette Club and also the people who gathered in downtown Hannibal, Mo., Saturday, Aug. 3, for the club’s annual Corvette show.
The show had 130 Corvettes parked along North Main Street, and more than 70 owners received awards in the various classes (see separate article with the first-place winners’ names.)
Latta has owned more than six Corvettes, and is now driving a red 1985 Corvette with a targa (removable) top.
His first Corvette was bought new in 1967, a steel-blue convertible, and he wishes he still owned it.
“It is a collector’s item,” he said. “I had no idea they were going to become as valuable as they are. In 1967 I believe I gave around $6,000 and today they worth anywhere from $80,000 to $150,000.”
Another car he wishes he had held onto is his 1957 Chevrolet, a black convertible with a red interior and white convertible top. “I bought it for $550 in 1963,” Latta said, “and it is worth over $50,000.”
His second Corvette was a new 1979 black one with a red interior and silver T-top.
Later he had 1984 and 1986 models before buying a 2003 red convertible. Although he has the 1985 Corvette, he is looking for another convertible.
Why are Corvettes his favorite? “I got interested in them when I was a teenager and at the time couldn’t afford one. Once I got one, (his wife) Roxy and I began taking trips. When we had the convertible, we went everywhere. We love them.
“I just love the looks of them and I like the ride of the new cars, the new suspension in the ‘90s. They made the car a little roomier in 1997, the car was roomier and the ride system just so much better.”
They also have powerful engines, he explained. “In the late ‘70s they were good engines but not what I would classify as powerful engines, but now they have turned into a really fast car. Today they will go over 200 miles an hour. And on the new Corvettes you can buy chips that makes them faster. They are all run off computers today.”
Corvette clubs have racing contests in different states, he added. “They are time trials with different distances. We have some members in our club that go participate.”

Hannibal show
benefits
disabled veterans

The show in Hannibal is growing in popularity, Latta said, which means the sponsoring Mark Twain Corvette Club raises more funds for its charity donations. “The reason we put on the Mark Twain Annual Corvette Show is so we can raise money for our charity, the Disabled American Veterans (DAV) Chapter 32. It is a regional chapter so the money donated and raised stays here in our area and benefits veterans in this area.”
Each person entered in the show receives the special T-shirt designed for that year’s show.
More than 70 trophies were presented, Latta said, with as many as seven winners in some divisions. Some winners were especially pleased, Latta said, because they had never before won a trophy in any show.
The show had 85 cars entered of the total 130 on exhibit, because local club members are not eligible to compete in the show. This is to give the others an opportunity to win, Latta explained.
Reggie Rowsey, the club president, received emails on Monday, Aug. 5, “thanking us for such a warm-spirited group,” Latta said. “People love to come here.
“I am so proud of our club,” Latta continued. “We have such a good group of people. This was our seventh year.
“Also, we want to thank the city. They cooperated with us. They could have started working (on new sidewalks) on that block in front of Kerley’s. The city engineer called Bleigh’s and asked them to hold off to allow us to have our show.”
The original local show was at Poage’s and when it was moved to downtown Hannibal, the women were happier, Latta said. Now, “the ladies have a place to go and do something instead of just sitting around. The ladies love to come to Hannibal and shop on Main Street.
“We are turning into the most popular Corvette show in the Midwest. It is really good for downtown. A lot of businesses come and thank us for bringing the show downtown, and some do specials for our show.”
See Seen on Scene photo gallery for more pictures.