A long-time love affair

Posted on: Monday, October 13, 2008, 2:15 AM

By Hayley Kappes
Killeen Daily Herald

Texas - The first time Robert Hobby saw a Corvette in 1953, he was hooked for life.

"My daddy's law partner had just bought a brand new Corvette, and that's when I got my first taste for the car," Hobby said. "I was a teenager at the time and got to ride in that car and have been thrilled with them ever since."

Hobby, a retired Army soldier, currently is a teacher at Harker Heights High School where he supervises students with in-school suspension. He has collected Corvettes since 1958 and owns some of the oldest models in the area. He has since owned seven Corvettes, and isn't planning on abandoning his hobby anytime soon.

When he isn't teaching, Hobby spends hours meticulously polishing and cleaning his cherry red 1958 Corvette roadster, which he estimates is worth more than $60,000.

Hobby's other passion is fraternizing with the Mid Texas Corvette Club, of which he has been a member for 22 years.

"The camraderie of owning these cars and the fellowship of everyone in the club is special," Hobby said. "We're all so passionate about our Corvettes."

His Corvette's most recent outing was at the club's fundraiser car show Saturday, which benefitted memorial funds for the 1st Cavalry Division and the 4th Infantry Division on Fort Hood.

Hobby started taking his cars to shows in 1978.

"I like being around people who share my same interests in these old cars," he said. "To me, they're classic from the day they were built."

Caring for the car, which Hobby gingerly drives only 60 miles each month, is a full-time commitment.

"I had this one and a '55 Corvette for two years and it was too much work for me to clean both cars because it's constant," he said. "You just don't ever let it get dirty. If you pin me down before a show, it could take me probably four or five hours, and that's if the car is clean."

Hobby will retire from the Killeen Independent School District at the end of this school year, but his passion for the automobile that he fell in love with as a child shows no signs of waning.

"I will always love Corvettes," Hobby said. "They're classic American, and they're so much fun to drive."

Contact Hayley Kappes at hayleyk@kdhnews.com or (254) 501-7559.

At A glance: Robert Hobby

Age: 65

Hometown: Foley, Ala.

Occupation: Teacher at Harker Heights High School

Favorite movies: "Mamma Mia" and "Phantom of the Opera"

Favorite book: "Texas" by John Grisham

Favorite quote: "Bad news does not get better with age."