Like many Corvette owners, Tom Beaird's love of Corvettes began before he could even legally drive one. He continued to dream until years later when his wife, Gayanne, totaled her car. Tom saw opportunity in the midst of misfortune. The two struck a deal: Gayanne would get a used car, and Tom would begin the quest for his long-awaited Corvette. After an extensive search, he found this '69 LeMans Blue Corvette on the showroom floor at the Corvette Store in Maitland, Florida. The Beairds drove the beautiful machine home in October 1997 and have loved it ever since.

The car was restored in 1985 by H&H Corvette in Maitland. Some newer technology, such as polyurethane bushings, was used during the restoration process, but the basic originality of the car was never jeopardized. In 1999, the engine was rebuilt by Corvette Clinic in nearby Sanford. Tom told us that, although changes were made to the inside of the engine, the exterior of it is still stock in appearance, with the exception of the Weiand action-plus-intake manifold. The original steel valve covers were also replaced with original aluminum valve covers to maintain the stock look and prevent oil leaks.

Apparently, both the restoration and engine rebuild have paid off. Since the Beairds have owned the Corvette, it has won Third Place in the Original Class for years 1968-1972 at the Annual Eckler's Corvette Reunion, the Top 50 Award at Classic Corvettes at Disney, and the Ruby Plateau Award from the International Society of Corvette Owners. In addition to these awards, the '69 has also won several First and Second Place awards at various local car shows in Orlando.

The Beairds love to showcase their '69, but they also have fun just driving it. They attend car cruises weekly, including the Old Town Saturday Night Cruise in Kissimmee, Florida. The Corvette stays in the garage during the week, but on weekends it translates to fun.

There's a new little Beaird, Sidney Nicole, to contend with now, but she will undoubtedly slide right into the Corvette lifestyle. Daddy waited too long to give it up now.