Thursday, January 22, 2015

Ivan and Mary Schrodt Donate Five Corvettes

With a mutual love for cool cars, Ivan and Mary Schrodt were meant to be together from the beginning. When they got married, Mary was driving a ’68 Camaro and Ivan had a sporty Datsun. For years they went on to enjoy several different sports cars, but not a Corvette. “We had just donated our Toyota MR2 to a charity benefiting troubled youth,” Ivan recalls, “so we were without a fun car and looking for something new. We were thinking that maybe a convertible would be good this time as it had been awhile since we had one of those.”

One day Ivan got a call from Mary while he was at the office. “She never called work unless there was a reason, but this time she talked about different things until finally I had a meeting to go to and had to ask, ‘Hun, what did you call for?’” That’s when she told him she’d made an offer on a 1996 Polo Green Convertible Corvette. “That was our first Corvette. Mary loved that car and it is one of the ones we donated to the Museum.” He breaks into a warm smile as memories come to mind. “It’s a lovely car.”

Mary’s decision to get a Corvette would change the trajectory of their lives and bring them together with new friends, new experiences, and the National Corvette Museum.

“We almost immediately joined Valley Vettes Corvette Club out of Appleton, Wisconsin—a great group of folks that we are still a part of today. Shortly after that we attended a C5 Bash and became members of the National Corvette Museum.” The Schrodts would stop by whenever they passed through Bowling Green. As they got to know everyone, they began to appreciate the staff and their commitment to the Corvette hobby enough to want to do more. They became Lifetime Members, and Duntov Society Members as well, making the Museum a part of their estate planning.

“In my early involvement, I was invited to join the Board. When I came on we didn’t have the expansion, or even the land for the track. It was a wonderful time to be involved with transforming the Museum into something more. Before it was a Museum with a lot of nice cars to look at, but it became a place to come and interact with the Corvette Museum Family and other enthusiasts. With the CafĂ©, meeting rooms, conference center, exhibit hall, and the bigger store, it makes being here a much bigger experience. Being able to participate in that transformation of the Museum felt so good.”

On December 18th, 2014, they did something else to help grow the Museum. Along with the 1996 Corvette that started it all, they also donated four other Corvettes including a 1966 Rally Red 327 Convertible. “When people find out that you have more than one Corvette, they often wonder why that is. My answer is that they are all so different. They handle differently, they look different, their history is different and the way they evolved makes them all special. For example, a lot of people agree that the midyear is the best looking Corvette ever, and for me it is one of the best looking cars ever made. That is probably the reason we got the ‘66. We took that car out in a lot of parades and made many Sunday trips in it to Culvers for ice cream.”

The next donation they made to the Museum collection was a 1980 Dark Blue Metallic Coupe. “By the time we got this car we already had some other Corvettes and thought it would be fun to have a classic C3 to enjoy. I remember one time we drove through a Chevy dealership lot, and passed a family looking for a new car to buy. The daughter saw us and pulled on her dad’s arm saying, ‘Daddy, daddy, look at that one! Look at that one!’ I think we ruined the new car shopping experience for him as there weren’t any 1980 Corvettes sitting there for sale in the lot.” Ivan chuckles. “Fun car.”

The 2002 Millennium Yellow Z06 Coupe they also donated was a Museum Delivery car. “When we got that one we decided then to put our cars in a trust for the Museum. It’s an incredible car. It’s one of the best touring cars I’ve ever had in my life. It is big enough to pack up for a long trip, and handles superbly on a track. I modified it to make it a dedicated track car with new seats and a five point racing harness. That one and the 2007 black Z06 both love going on a track at speed.”

When they came to the 2014 Labor Day Celebration and got on the NCM Motorsports Park track for the first time, they decided to change their donation plans. “I got to thinking that instead of waiting years before making the donation, we’ve got two cars that could be put to good use now by the National Corvette Museum on this track.  The cars would be where they belong. While a lot of people donate their cars to be preserved, and rightfully so for their history, those two cars were donated to be used up.” He says with a mischievous grin. “We hope they get a lot of track miles and give a lot of track smiles.”

Thank you, Ivan and Mary, for all you have done for the Museum and the Corvette community. We are all so glad that Mary bought that first Corvette, and that it brought both of you into our lives.
If you would like more information on how you can donate your car to the NCM, or if you’d like to learn more about estate planning options, please visit our website at, or contact Connie Russell,at or by phone at 270-467-8815 / or you can contact Gary Cockriel at or by phone at 270-467-8824.