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News | April 27, 2018

Hobbies balance work-life

By DLA Energy Public Affairs DLA Energy LNO Luther Hankins shares his passion for three generations of Corvettes

Balancing work and life is not always easy. Hobbies can be a great way to take a break from the routine and reenergize your mind.

For Luther Hankins, Defense Logistics Agency Energy liaison officer to the U.S. Transportation Command, sports cars are his alter ego. If his first Corvette is a statement of his passion for the iconic American sports car, his other two ‘Vettes’ are the exclamation points.

Hankins’ love of Corvettes began when he was a boy.

“My father was a Corvette enthusiast,” Hankins said. “We were a two-car family, and I can’t remember a time when there wasn’t a Corvette in the driveway.”

Hankins acquired his first corvette when his father called and asked him to “come and get it.” It was his 1977 Corvette Coupe with only 32,762 original miles on it.

It was the beginning of Hankins’ three generations of corvettes.

“I bought my first Corvette in 2011 - a 2003 Corvette convertible, 50th anniversary model. A low-mileage, one-owner car,” Hankins said. “In 2016, after many months of shopping I purchased my third car - a 2013 60th anniversary Corvette Grand Sport. Again, a one-owner, low-mileage car.” 

Hankins’s father had a special way of finding the perfect car.

“My father taught me how to shop for Corvettes; you don’t have to buy a new one to experience the pride of ownership,” Hankins said. “He had a ‘system’ where he chooses colors, years, upholstery schemes, ownership, etc., all to determine the ‘pedigree’ of a potential purchase.”

It can take years to find the right Corvette.

“You have to be patient and shop broadly to choose the car that will ‘fit,’” Hankins said. “I have three blue cars, each relatively rare as considered against the total number of cars produced in a specific year. Each of my cars were very low-numbered production in the color choice; each possessing two-toned upholstery where most Corvettes have one color. Low mileage, no accidents, one previous owner and matching engine and transmission numbers are all critical to the choices.”

Hankins and his father share more than just a passion for Corvettes: the bond of military service. Hankins served 26 years in the U.S. Army.

“My father was a Navy enlisted man and Vietnam veteran,” Hankins said. “One does not get rich serving in the military, but we manage to save and earn the things important to us.”

After his father gave him the ’77 Corvette, Hankins knew it would not be long before his father would get the “itch” and start “the search.”

“Dad called me one evening in 2011 and said, ‘Son, I’ve gone and done it again!’ I immediately knew he had gone and bought another Corvette. This time, a 50th anniversary edition model. A one-owner car that to this day has less than 25,000 miles on the odometer.”

Hankins performs all the maintenance on the cars, including rebuilding and refurbishing the ’77.

“These are race cars,” Hankins said. “You don’t just put five quarts of oil in and change the filter. The 2013 has an oil bag, not an oil sump that holds 10 quarts of oil.”

It’s a hobby, more than an obsession, and it grounds me, he said.

“My son has an interest in the cars and helps me maintain them,” Hankins said. “He enjoys the cars, and the history behind them.”

Hankins plans to continue the family Corvette legacy and pass his Corvettes on to his children.