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In January 1977, when Brian Tilles (our president) was 20 years old, he borrowed $3,000 from his parents to purchase some remaining parts inventory, etc. from a local businessman operating a parts company then known as Corvette Specialties. Included were established contacts such as body shops and salvage yards. Prime "J row" spaces to the first Spring Carlisle were also "part of the deal". All phone calls from the former Corvette Specialties were forwarded and Corvette Specialties of MD was up and running on January 25, 1977.
The Corvette industry was in its infancy. Corvette stores and Internet shopping were nonexistent. Sources of parts were only a few obscure body shops and occasional hobbyists. Swap meets were mostly small, disorganized "parking lot" events and were few and far between. Brian's phone was ringing steadily indicating that the demand for parts was there. The problem was finding the parts. There were very few reproductions. Good, used parts were plentiful and often reasonable, however the sources of these items were difficult to uncover. Brian was young, full of excitement and up to the task. It seemed like a treasure hunt with many miles to cover. He scoured his list of current contacts, which provided him new leads. In February 1977, he discovered a fiberglass fabrication shop in Chambersburg, Pennsylvania that was willing to part with a storage trailer full of new and used parts, primarily 1967 and earlier. Throughout years of visiting relatives on Long Island in New York, Brian was aware of the large concentration of Corvettes in the area. Drawing on this recollection, family members noticed an increase in the frequency of his visits. Long Beach, NY became a satellite office with "free room and board". Long Island was a hot bed for good, original Corvette parts. Some great buys were made but funds were running low. Fortunately the first was car show was on the horizon.
With a rented 8 x 5 U-Haul trailer in tow - destination Carlisle, PA. - Corvette Specialties of MD was on its way to the first Spring Carlisle. Prime J-row, otherwise known as "Corvette Row" spaces were awaiting. Brian began setting out his wares at the break of dawn. He was mobbed even as he unloaded the trailer. Business was overwhelming the entire show. The asking price for the parts brought a fair profit, which was re-invested, in the purchase of more parts. The sought after parts were sold to the happy customers at a reasonable price. Many of them still shop with us today and have referred their Corvette friends and contacts to us.
Through continued diligent investigation, Brian found that many obscure parts not listed in General Motors parts catalogs were still serviced by GM and available at a reasonable price. He purchased large quantities of these parts, adding to the roots of his growing inventory.
The next major acquisition would help propel Corvette Specialties of MD to a new level. In 1978, Brian made the acquaintance of a new vendor who had acquired a huge inventory of 1953-67 parts. When this vendor became disenchanted with the Corvette parts business, he indicated that his parts might be for sale. In 1979, Brian purchased the vast inventory, which included many rare NOS, used and current new parts, a yard full of frames, body parts, clips and various "parts cars". Nine tractor-trailers were required to transport the parts to a newly leased warehouse. One 40' shelved trailer in particular was so tightly packed it required weeks to unload, sort and catalog the items.
In the early 90's a service department was opened, and expanded to easily keep 12 car safely under roof at all times. All aspects of Corvette service was performed, with the exception of body and paint work. In Maryland, we had a lot of issues with rust. We replaced and or repaired frames, and also did a huge amount of suspension work. The service department also allowed customers to bring their cars in for gauge and component service. Corvette Specialties could remove the components, send them up to the restoration department, and reinstall the completed components. Often, wiring harnesses and other items would also be replaced.
Brian's continued efforts and perseverance have allowed controlled growth from our humble beginnings in the 70's to our current respected position in the Corvette world. Brian still has a great sense of good opportunity and continues to give his customers the best value for a fair price. He personally oversees all aspects of the company with tight quality control.
In 2010, Brian moved Corvette Specialties of Maryland to its new home in southern California. Now known as Corvette Specialties of MD West, we continue to offer the same quality Corvette parts with the same great customer service. This is how we do it, now in our fifth decade serving your Corvette needs.