A Rare Corvette Racing Scooter Joins Museum Collection
Although this story was originally shared with the Corvette Museum (you can read the original article by clicking here), we thought this was a great testament to the shared passion Corvette owners and enthusiasts share – and of the desire the community (as a whole) shares to preserve the history and heritage of these amazing sports cars. While this story doesn’t share anything profound about the Corvette Racing program or the Corvette itself, it perfectly complements both.
OJ and Gabriele Webster of Montgomery, Alabama are husband and wife. They are also Corvette collectors.
Over the years, the duo has searched for and collected many unique pieces of Corvette memorabilia, many of which Gabriele has discovered while searching the internet. During one of her searches, Gabriele found a pair of Corvette Racing team scooters – No. 3 and No. 4 (which match the numbers of the team’s two Corvettes) – for sale.
Although the scooters were posted as a pair, Gabriele decided to purchase just one of the scooters – the No. 3. She made the purchase in December, 2015.
The scooter had been used as a means of transportation in the pits during the early days of the C5-R Corvette Racing program. After they had been “retired” officially by the racing team, the scooters had been passed through several Corvette Racing collector’s hand before Gabriele discovered them for sale.
Upon receipt of the scooter, Gabriele also received a signed certificate of authenticity that documented the sccoter’s history. The scooter had been used for two seasons by the Pratt & Miller Corvette team. It had been signed by Doug Fehan, Corvette Racing’s Program Manager, and by drivers Max Papis, Andy Pilgrim and Ron Fellows (though Ron’s signature has worn off over the years.)
A Scooter’s Story
“I remember we were all excited when the scooters showed up,” said Andy Pilgrim, former Corvette Racing driver. “I zoomed off on one and rode around for a few minutes. When I arrived back, there was word going around the Doug Fehan didn’t want them disappearing for hours at a time, adding they were for marketing and team management. Fun over I thought.”
“Later that day, I was wandering around turn three and saw Kelly Collins and Franck Freon up there with the scooters. It was obvious to me that one of them had been ‘dropped’ as we biker types say. In other words, someone had crashed it and it was scraped up on one side. I asked Kelly if he knew what had happened. We all looked at each other and nobody said a word.”
“We could almost feel the wrath of ‘the Fehan’ from turn three. When I got back to the trailer the scooters were already there. Amazingly, I never heard another word about it. I remained scared to this very day that Doug is just waiting for the right opportunity to deliver his ‘lightning bolt.’”
From One Collection to Another
Although Gabriele enjoyed having the scooter in her collection, she decided after two years of ownership that it was time to re-sell it online. It seemed that just after she posted the scooter for sale online, fate intervened.
While on the internet, Adam Boca, agent with the NCM’s Insurance Agency, spotted the scooter for sale. He recognized the scooter for its historical significance to the Corvette Racing program and immediately reached out to Gabriele, though indirectly at first, to inquire about it.
“I’ve known the Websters since 1998 or 1999 through Museum events, and they’re members of the Museum,” said Adam. “I started off by commenting on her post – saying ‘that (the scooter) would be awesome as part of our collection.’”
After contacting Gabriele, Adam reached out to Museum Curator Derek Moore to see if the scooter would be something we would like to have in the collection.
Mr. Moore’s answer was a definitive “yes!”
With the encouragement of the NCM’s curator behind him, Adam messaged Gabriele about the scooter. “I asked if she’d consider donating it because of its role in racing history.”
It took Gabriele less than an hour to make her decision. “OK you’ve talked me into it,” she said of the scooter. “It’s here at your convenience.”
Derek and Adam drove to Montgomery to pick-up the scooter from the Websters, and transported it back to the National Corvette Museum in Bowling Green, Kentucky. The scooter will soon be displayed as part of the exhibit ‘Louis to Le Mans,’ which will showcase the history of Chevrolet (and Corvette) Racing. The exhibit is scheduled to open in June, 2018.
As a footnote to this story, the National Corvette Museum is home to dozens of Corvettes, many of which have been donated to the museum by families like the Websters. When walking thru the museum, these generous donations are seen throughout – from an original 1953 Corvette that greets you as you enter the exhibit hall, to a multitude of unique Corvettes (of all generations) in the Museum’s Skydome.