Mark and Robin Harkleroad
I am Pennsylvania native who grew up a Pittsburgh Steeler fan watching and helping my father “wrench” on our cars to keep them running. I first got the performance car bug when I bought my first new car, a white 1984 Mustang GT 350. In the 1980's, I moved to Texas and went to work for the General Dynamics where I started a life-long career in the Information Technology field. I currently work for Arapahoe County Government in the IT Department. Through the years, I have always been a passionate car enthusiast and bit of a car nut going to new car shows, and voraciously reading magazine subscriptions such as Car & Driver, Motor Trend, and Automobile magazines. Now, when not involved with tinkering or cleaning the Corvette, I avidly watch a variety of Velocity channel shows with some of my favorites being Wheeler Dealers, Overhaulin’, Bitchin’ Rides, and Chasing Classic Cars.
Robin is a rare Colorado native who grew up on a farm and has lots of stories about chickens, goats, and rabbits. Although she might not admit it, I think she also has a thing for cars having once owned a 1969 Camaro, and a C4 Corvette back in the 1990’s. I sometimes tease her about getting rid of her Corvette before I met her, but more on that later. For longer than she might care to admit, Robin has worked in the Sales profession involving a variety of computer and technology related areas and has had the opportunity to do a lot of business travel, especially to Florida, and once to Tokyo Japan. She does not travel as much as she used to back then and for the past 3+ years, has been working for AT&T managing corporate business accounts and their related communication and network services.
One weekend, instead of going to a marathon because of stress fracture resulting from over-training, I went to downtown Denver for a happy hour where I met Robin. The rest, as they say, is history... Our kids are grown and are spread out living in three different states. We are also proud doggie parents of a Soft Coated Wheaten Terrier and a Kerry Blue Terrier.
We like to travel and I guess that started when we went to Maui to get married, or “Mauied” as we like to say. A couple of our favorites are our trip to Italy where we visited Florence, Sienna, Venice, Cinque Terra, and Rome and to exotic Bali, Indonesia where we visited Denpasar, Ubud, did a “white water” river raft excursion, a bike ride down a mountain through villages and rice fields, and even did a scuba dive around the USS Liberty ship wreck at Tulamben. We like to go to the Big Island of Hawaii where we’ve been about 6 times, twice in 2016 alone, and we have visited Zihuatanejo, Mexico multiple times. We also like to play golf, but not as often as we would like due to our hectic schedules.
As for our first Corvette and how we got it, one night a couple of days before one of our trips to Mexico, I was looking at cars on the web and came across a 2005 Z51 with only 20,800 miles. I showed Robin the car and she liked the color and said, “Get it!” The next day, which was a Friday, I went to the dealer, bought it, drove it home, parked it in the garage, and we got on a plane to Mexico early the next morning! Needless to say, this was the first time that I was going on a vacation where couldn’t wait to get home before I even left! After getting the Vette, I got the “modification bug” causing me to do a lot of work to the car, including upgrading the exhaust, new heads, camshaft, intake manifold, etc. managing to squeeze about 540HP at the crank out of the normally aspirated LS2.
In 2017, our beloved DSOM Z51 was traded for a new C7 Admiral Blue Grand Sport with the 8 speed automatic. The C7 Grand Sports are a technological and performance marvel. For almost two years Mark had fun at High Plains Raceway and various autocrosses testing the Grand Sport's track prowess and Robin enjoyed the GS at Bandimere. But, 2019 rings in a new 2017 Corvette Racing Yellow Z06 coupe with only 1735 miles and the next C7 chapter begins.
I found out about our club from Les, Kelly, Jack, and Ingrid when I met them at a bowling league at Arapahoe Lanes. Robin and I have really enjoyed the club, its members, and participating in activities. Like the NCCC slogan which is turning out to be true for us, “We joined for the car, we stay for the people!”