The great thing about being involved in the Corvette hobby is that there is always something new to learn. For example, you may have heard of a COPO Corvette – which stands for Central Office Production Order, an ordering mechanism designed to allow certain customers (usually dealers) the ability to order non-standard components together. Usually with Corvettes, COPO orders had non-standard colors or interiors, or was ordered with some special options, or no options like radio/heater delete for racing. Another type of order was called the SO – Shop Order – which usually originated from the Chevrolet Engineering Center or the GM Styling Studio. The third and less common was a variation called the F&SO – Fleet and Special Order.
Well, that last one was news to me. Just last week at the Bloomington Gold show, there were a few examples of COPO Corvettes and styling cars that went through the auction. Today though I got a preview of the next Corvette Magazine issue and writer/photographer Richard Prince has a great article detailing a F&SO 1967 Corvette that was built for one of the great Corvette salespeople of 1950’s and ’60’s – Bob Wingate.
When you’re the top Corvette salesman in the country for 5 years running, opportunities from the manufacturer come your way. And in 1967, that opportunity came in the form of a 1967 Coupe outfitted with a 427/435 engine, 3.55:1 Positraction and a Wide-Ratio M20 Four Speed, along with American Racing’s Torq-Thrust Alloy Wheels with Blue Streak tires. The Corvette was painted in Goodwood Green with a white racing stripe and had the six taillight modification that was popular back then.
Bob drove the Corvette all over the western United States promoting Chevrolet products. He did some drag racing and autocrossing in the Corvette, and when the 1967 model year was coming to a close, Bob sold the Corvette and was allowed to keep the proceeds as his bonus.
The kid that bought Bob’s Corvette blew the original engine within a few months, and a few months later was involved in a wreck on the I-10 that totaled the car. Or so Bob thought.
Fast forward twenty-five years later. A Southern Californian named Bob Radke buys a project car and although he didnâ€™t know it at the time, it still had the tank sticker. And unlike all other tank stickers Radke had seen, in the upper right hand site in the box marked COPO/F&SO there was a number in it.
Through diligence and hard work, Radke was able to track down Wingate (he was listed in the phone book!) and from there a bond was formed as Radke set out to restore the Corvette. After 7 years, the Corvette has been restored to its former glory. I love these kinds of stories and the article is very written with awesome photos to boot!
The full article can be found at: Corvette-Mag.com
Photo Credit: Richard Prince