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18 & Counting

You really have to love a car to buy it over and over and over again eighteen times. Very few cars possess this kind of passion to inspire someone to buy them again and again. One car does have that type of passion… the Chevy Corvette.

Jeff Armstrong and his wife Sandy have shared this passion for the Corvette for over twenty-eight years. Together they own Splash City, a retail business that carries a wide variety of entertainment and recreational products such as pools, spas, pool tables, foosball, patio furniture, bars and bar stools. They started with a waterbed store in 1979 and have grown to 4 retail locations- 2 in Sioux Falls, 1 in Sioux City and another in Rapid City. They have three daughters, Lisa, Kelli, Kerri and seven grandchildren.

Jeff was born and raised in Duluth, Minnesota and Sandy is from Sioux Falls. Jeff’s first car was a 1940 Chevy Coupe purchased when he was 15 years old. Their favorite muscle car they owned was a rare 1970 Dodge Challenger RT SE. It had a 440 Magnum engine with a 6-pak. “We would still probably have that car today if I wouldn’t have wrecked it”, laments Jeff. Sandy shares Jeff’s passion for cars, growing up in a family with lots of muscle cars. Not all of their cars were powerful speed vehicles. One of these cars was a Ford Pinto station wagon. This was purchased out of necessity when they started the waterbed store, using it to haul inventory.

In 1971 they purchased their first Corvette, a red Stingray Roadster 454 LS6. When asked why he buys the same car, Jeff explains, “It’s the look and
style.” “It is also about the way they handle the road.” They have had eight different colors of Corvettes over the years from red to blue and metallic purple
to yellow. “We have had a lot of different colors but our favorite by far is red.

They currently have a 2008 crystal red Corvette Convertible with a platinum top. Their current Corvette has a paddle shift, which satisfies both of them because Jeff prefers a manual transmission and Sandy an automatic. “We just love the convertible”, says Sandy. “It is a great feeling to take a drive with the top down”.

When asked what Corvette was his favorite, Jeff’s response was “whatever one we are driving”. This explains the passion Corvette drivers have for the vehicle. Jeff and Sandy are members of the Sioux Falls Corvette Club. They have many fond memories over the years of caravanning to the Black Hills for the annual Corvette Rally. However, their most memorable event was caravanning to Bowling Green, Kentucky with the club to the opening of the Corvette Museum. Another
highlight of their passion for Corvettes was meeting the creator of the Corvette, Zora Arkus Duntov.

Corvettes are built for speed and when asked how fast he has driven in one of his Corvettes, Jeff replied, “They have all been road tested”. When pressed further
if he had ever been picked up for speeding, Jeff joked, “Uh…one time I had the misfortune of getting picked up 3 times in a mile!”

Ask a Corvette owner anything about their car and expect to talk to them for quite a while. Ask a person who has owned 18 Corvettes over the past 28 years and watch his eyes light up and be prepared to hear about the passion he has for the vehicle.

However, when you ask Jeff and Sandy what their favorite car is, they surprisingly will not say one of their Corvettes. They will say their 1955 Ford Thunderbird. This doesn’t mean they don’t love Corvettes, because they obviously do. It just says that they can appreciate cars for what they are and do for us…whether that is reminding us of our youth or appreciating the craftsmanship that goes into every one of these fine machines.


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