When the time comes to make a decision on what to do with a prized Corvette, many people contemplate several options. Do I sell it? Do I give it to a family member? Do I donate it? For Bob Dupuis of Jacksonville, North Carolina, one option stood out, and with the blessings of his wife Lois and daughter Bobbie, donating it in memory of a dear friend was what he wanted to do.
Bob, along with his friend Donnie, drove the 1968 Convertible 327 the entire 830 miles to the Museum to make the donation. “I had a ton of emotion when I brought the car in the back, cried like a school girl, but if you can’t do that here, where on the planet can you do that?” said Bob. “Everybody here gets it.”
Bob’s Corvette story begins when he attended the Naval Academy in the mid-70s. “The seniors parked their cars on campus and it looked like a third of them were Corvettes. I kept seeing this one by the History department. The owner didn’t wash it regularly, and didn’t take care of it. So, I found out whose it was. He had graduated ten years before me and got the car when he was a student. He was a naval aviator and sold it to me on December 10, 1977 for a whopping $2,200.” Bob laughs. “I spent more on car wash and wax over the years than on the car.”
While the car has a strong connection to the Naval Academy and is donated in honor of them, it’s also in memory of his dear friend Keven. “Keven was a Corvette enthusiast and a great guy. He passed away last Christmas and while I have a brick here at the Museum dedicated to him, I think this will serve as a better remembrance for Kevin.”
Bob shared that the memories are the most important part of the car. “When my daughter Bobbie was five months old and she couldn’t sleep, I’d back the Corvette out of the garage, put her in it, start it up and let it idle. She’d fall right to sleep.”
Bobbie has some fond memories of the car as well, sharing that her favorite was their annual trek to the Christmas eve service at church in the Corvette. “We’d put in blankets, turn the heater up and put the convertible top down. We probably did that for fifteen years.”
Though Bob never dreamed he would sell or get rid of his Corvette, so he’s happy it will now be shared with others. “It’s not about the car, it’s about the memories, it’s about the people. I hope this car is a blessing to the museum. I hope it furthers the museum’s mission. I hope it inspires people who see it. I watch the web cams all the time. You want young people to see it and aspire to own one. They’re the next generation, the next legacy. The Museum’s mission is phenomenal.”
Bob’s 1968 is the first of that model year in the Museum’s collection, and though he has left his prized Corvette with the Museum, he didn’t go empty handed. He and wife Lois took R8C Museum Delivery of a brand new 2018 Blade Silver Stingray. Congratulations and thank you to Bob Dupuis and the Dupuis family!