In late September 1999, Rob and Sue Fearon became the proud owners of a Fawn Beige '62 fuelie. During the search for their special Corvette, they traveled many miles and attended many events. They spent a lot of time reading and listening to those people with experience...all in an effort to make the right choice to find the "perfect Corvette." The car they finally found was different than the others...it wasn't restored-it was an unrestored original. Yet, both Rob and Sue knew within minutes that this was the car they were going to buy. They called it "R Fate."
But the story of this '62 has several twists. The car itself has certainly had more than its 15 minutes of fame. In fact, it has been owned by a series of notable collectors-true Corvette enthusiasts.
The car's first exposure to fame was being featured in the 1976 book Corvette, The Sensuous American, Vol. 1, No. 2 by Michael B. Antonick. At that time the car was owned by Jerry Wadsworth. Jerry had bought the car from the second owner and had written to Antonick to get his car in the upcoming book. The car's actual appearance in the book is somewhat unusual in that Wadsworth was not very well known; it is always more attractive to publishers to have celebrity's cars featured. In this series, Antonick opted for a "reader's car" section and the '62 fuelie was on its way to fame.
Soon, the time came when Wadsworth had to sell the car. As with many Corvette owners of the day, he sold the car in order to purchase a new home. The next notable owner was Chip Miller
For this part of the story, it's interesting to note that almost every fuelie owner has developed his or her own special starting techniques to deal with the sometimes recalcitrant early FI systems. In a conversation with Chip, Rob and Sue learned that he had owned the car for six years, from 1980 to 1986. The sale of the car had been a bit of an impulse. Chip had taken it for a drive one day. When he stopped to gas up, it wouldn't re-start. Chip had not yet developed his own special techniques. But it was too late, the decision to sell had been taken.
The car moved to Long Island, NewYork, for the next 12 years and then to Michigan. It was here that Bob Gold found it while searching out collectible cars for various clients. Bob was actually there to look at another car when he saw the '62. He fondly remembered the car from the days when his friend Chip Miller had owned it. Bob encouraged his good friend David Yamall, a mid-year fuelie collector, to buy the car as one way to round out his collection. David couldn't resist considering its incredible unrestored condition, low miles, and rare color combination.
At the same time, Rob and Sue had been searching for about eight years for their first 'classic' Corvette. Subconsciously, Rob always had a '62 in mind. It was the year of his birth and he had always liked the exposed headlights and the duck tail design of the back end...and he wanted a roadster. They both wanted a car that would stand out with a rare color combination. In 1998, Sue saw a beautiful Fawn Beige '62 at Carlisle. That was it. The search focused on a '62 Fawn Beige Corvette.
Once the decision was finally made, the search intensified. But the results were disappointing. In the summer of 1999, they decided that they were going back to Carlisle to look one more time and they registered in advance for the Bob Gold Auction event. In fact, the auction tent was their first stop when they arrived at Carlisle. Sure enough, sitting under the tent they first saw David's '62. They immediately expressed interest in buying it, but David had brought it to Carlisle with the intention of selling it through the auction.
Rob and Sue spent hours talking with David about the history and facts about the car. They discussed in the merits of an all original Corvette and the fact that you can always buy a restored car, but that every day there are fewer unrestored cars in existence. David fondly remembered the trip to Michigan with his son and Bob Gold to pick up the fuelie. When Bob Gold passed away, David lost a good friend. The Fawn Beige solid-axle held some wonderful memories, but on the practical side it was one car too many in his collection...something had to go. Since all of the others were mid-years, the '62 was it.
What David didn't know was that fate was working against him. The car burst a radiator hose on the way into the auction tent and had to be shown as a non-running car. As a result, it didn't meet the reserve and David loaded it into the trailer and headed home. Of course Rob and Sue had been among the bidders, but auction fever had quickly driven even this non-running survivor over the amount they had set as their ceiling. They were very disappointed. The entire drive home was spent trying to figure how they could get David to make the car theirs. Miraculously, when they arrived home three days later there was a voice mail. David had also been thinking about things. He would be happy to sell the '62 to them if they were still interested.
When they inquired as to "why them?" David replied, "that his good friend Bob Gold had sold hundreds of Corvettes and was always so very pleased when he felt that the right car went to the right people-and Rob and Sue were the right people for this '62." It must have been fate.
But we're not finished just yet. Although arrangements to buy the car had been finalized, a severe hurricane passed through parts of the eastern U.S. the week they were to pick up the car. Flooding was extreme. A phone call to inquire on the state of the car resulted in a return fax. There was a hand drawn picture of a house under water and a barn sitting high and dry up on a hill. There was an arrow pointing to a Corvette in the barn and a big happy face on the side. Rob and Sue picked up their "perfect Corvette" the week following and the sun was shining all the way back to Canada.
Happy endings are rare in the automotive business, but this was one. Rob and Sue hadn't been looking for an all-original car. They hadn't even been hooked on a fuelie. They had just wanted a car that spoke to them. In this case, the voice was loud and clear. Their choice of registration tag says it all...R Fate.