Sweet and Sassy Weldon Whiteman’s ’57 Corvette is a little bit of both. As a teenager, Weldon Whiteman delivered papers on Fort Worth’s Northside — “threw” is the common newspaper lingo, but he walked his route with a shoulder bag filled with papers that he carefully placed on subscribers’ front porches. In high school, he began delivering in Hurst, driving a manual transmission, stick-on-the-column 1959 Plymouth Savoy. After Weldon married Pam in 1974, he kept his Hurst route. But by 1976, he was a distribution manager and driving a compact Chevy Corvair. The couple moved to Burleson not long after the Star-Telegram opened its new printing plant in south Fort Worth. They wanted to live in the country, and Weldon wanted to cut down his commute time. However, he found himself moving up the management ranks in the paper’s circulation department, which led to an office in downtown Fort Worth. In 1990, he was promoted to vice president of circulation, a position he held until he retired in 2008. With Weldon’s growing career came a more focused interest in classic cars. His home in Burleson sits on a bucolic 5-acre lot with mature oak trees and a large pond. Today, it is also home to a pair of classics: a 1957 Chevy Bel Air and a 1957 Corvette. “Ever since high school, I had wanted a Bel Air, and the ’57 was my favorite. I spotted it at a body shop while on vacation in Arkansas.” It boasts classic styling — think period tail fins and lots of chrome — plus a 283-250 cubic engine. Weldon bought it as an investment, although he admits it’s fun to drive around Burleson (just not so much in the summer, as the car’s air conditioner doesn’t cool that well). While the Bel Air, resplendent in its original Matador red paint job, is a head turner, it loses a bit of its luster sitting next to the Corvette. The vette is the reason Weldon now has a man cave in the form of a large metal building that is also used to house the Bel Air. It’s obvious the classic muscle car is his pride and joy. With the 1957 model Corvette, Chevy introduced a much-indemand four-speed manual gear box and a 283 cubic fuel-injected engine. The curvy body styling remained, with the option of contrasting colors for the distinctive “coves” on the sides. While there were 6,309 base models made of the convertible Corvette, there were only 43 of the 283-283 fuel-injected model. “Along with the Bel-Air, this ’57 was also on my wish list,” says Weldon. “Pam and I saw it listed on a brochure at a Texas Can Academies Cars for Kids benefit at the Texas Motor Speedway. It was stored at an Irving dealership.” The couple went to see it in person, and Weldon was suitably impressed. The owner was a prominent collector who wanted to focus on European cars. He donated the Corvette for auction to benefit the nonprofit group that assists at-risk kids. Weldon purchased the car over the phone while he was at work. Pam didn’t know he had made the deal until the car showed up in the driveway, having been trailered from the dealer. “It’s in amazing shape,” he says, noting that everything inside and out is original. “I’m not big on taking it to car shows, but I don’t mind driving it around town. It’s always nice to get a thumbs-up when people see it and hear that motor rumble. It’s sweet and sassy.”
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