Given that you're reading VETTE magazine, one could safely assume that you appreciate Corvettes. More than likely, you also have an example of America's preeminent supercar in your own garage.
More than 9,000 miles away in Sydney, Australia, Murray and Wendy Forman share a burning passion for Corvettes that may burn just a little bit brighter than that of your average fan. With no fewer than five pristine examples under one roof, the Formans' abode is a shrine to all things Vette. So when Murray generously offered to show us around his collection, you can bet we were there in a flash.
Where many a musclecar fan can boast a lifelong association with owning and building fast cars, Murray is a relative newcomer to the scene. "It was about 15 years ago when my daughter was getting married. My soon-to-be son-in-law expressed a desire to have Corvettes in their wedding procession," Murray says. "So, we decided to join the Corvette club, as we both liked Corvettes. We eventually managed to get eight of them for the wedding, including one that my wife bought for me."
That first foray into Corvette ownership was the red '90 C4 you still see taking up space in the Forman garage, albeit in a lot nicer shape than when they first brought it home. Several years passed before Murray and Wendy decided that their newfound love of the C2 model range required satisfaction as well. Also during that time, they'd convinced the National Corvette Restorer Society (NCRS) that an Australian chapter was needed.
"At the time, there was only one other chapter of the NCRS outside of the USA," Murray says. "The year 2005 saw the first-ever Australian-chapter meeting take place in Sydney. I'm actually the president...and Wendy is the secretary. It really is a labor of love."
The Formans' second purchase was to become the first Australian Corvette to be awarded the NCRS International Mark of Excellence. Bought at the Corvettes at Carlisle show for $60,000 (USD), the red C2 was massaged into a point-scoring machine. It eventually gathered scores above 97 percent at three different concours events and covered more than 600 miles without a single mechanical glitch, thus completing the four technical aspects required to be awarded the prestigious title.
Not all of Murray and Wendy's Corvettes are straitlaced concours winners, though. Known as ROKY2, Murray's "hot rod" C2 was originally built by NU Vintage Corvettes in the USA, complete with an LS2 up front and backed by a Tremec five-speed, a Dana differential, and a C4 front suspension. Yes, life was looking good for Murray and the silver midyear—until the car was involved in a rollover accident, fatally rumpling its pristine fiberglass.
"I sent it back to the guys at NU Vintage so they could rebuild it," Murray says. "It's basically an old body with all the 'mod cons' like GPS, digital dash, air [conditioning], cruise control, and seats from a C5."
Considering that wife Wendy shares Murray's passion for the model, it seems only fair that she should have a C2 all of her own, and a silver coupe wearing NCRS number plates fits the bill nicely. "We planned to do something similar to what we did with ROKY2," Murray says. "However, when we finally got it, it was completely stock and in great condition. So, instead of chopping it up and modifying it, we decided to restore it to a condition that Wendy could drive around and enjoy it."
Despite Wendy's C2 being built as a "cruiser," it was still good enough to earn a Top Flight award at the club's competition in Tasmania. Clearly, Murray is a man who isn't satisfied with cut-rate jobs. "I also help out friends with Corvettes," he says. "Sometimes that means doing work for them, but mostly just assisting. I'm also the technical adviser for the NSW Corvette club, so people can ring me with problems and I'll help them out."
As if building and maintaining four top-shelf Corvettes weren't enough, the pair decided to buy a fifth (and final, according to Murray) one a little over a year ago. "We bought the car—a green '67 convertible—from Roy Sinor, who is the national judging chairman of the NCRS in the USA," Murray says. "He'd begun a restoration but decided not to finish it, for whatever reason."
After finalizing the deal stateside, the Formans proceeded to box up all the bits and pieces in specially made shipping crates and send them back home to Sydney. Murray then spent 18 months putting the car back together and returning it to as-new condition, complete with chalk marks, factory-style overspray, and a fastidious level of detail.
"It only has 29,492 original miles on it, and only about 300 miles since 1984 when it was last registered," Murray says. "I don't really want to put any more miles on it, except for the 400 kilometers required to complete the International Mark of Excellence criteria."
With five of the most pristine Corvettes in the country all under one roof, Murray seems confident his collecting days are over. Instead, he's now content to maintain his fleet and continue to improve on them where possible. If the physical collection weren't enough, the Forman house is full of Corvette collectibles of all kinds, from a seemingly endless array of trophies to model cars, Corvette memorabilia, and an assortment of license plates indicating all the U.S. states the couple have visited since 2004.
"Luckily for me, Wendy is as committed as I am," Murray says. "We both agree on what we're doing, so that's great. We've helped New Zealand create a NCRS chapter, as well as [one] in Holland, and we'll keep offering help whenever it's needed."