Some vintage cars, once lost, are never recovered. But occasionally, someone stumbles across and rescues a long-forgotten classic. Or, in the case of the ‘Lost Corvettes,’ classics. These vintage ‘Vettes have been sitting for decades, but are slowly being given away to new owners. And some of these owners got the keys at the 2021 Chicago Auto Show.
Peter Max’s 36 Lost Corvettes: a long tale of search, rescue, and restoration
The story of the Lost Corvettes starts with a VH1 giveaway. To try and drum up viewership figures, VH1 decided to hold a Corvette giveaway in 1989. At the time, the ‘Vette had been in production for 36 years. So, the network decided to give away 36 Corvettes—minus the 1-of-1 1983 model.
When it was all over, Long Island, NY resident and carpenter Dennis Amodeo walked away as the winner. However, Amodeo didn’t have anywhere to put all these Corvettes. So, he sold them all as a lot to graphic artist Peter Max—which is where the story gets complicated.
Max split the ‘Vettes amongst several NYC garages, The Drive explains. But while he initially planned to repaint some of them, and even buy 14 more, he never followed through. Nor, in fact, did he do anything to or with these sports cars, Road & Track says. So, for 25 years, they rotted and gathered dust, and earned the nickname ‘the Lost Corvettes.’
Finally, in 2014 Max privately sold these Lost Corvettes to two New York real estate families, the Hellers and the Spindlers. They hired noted Corvette collector and restorer Chris Mazzilli to bring the cars back to their former glory. And afterward, they formed Corvette Heroes to give the ‘Vettes away as part of a new giveaway, Autoblog explains.
The 2021 Chicago Auto Show is one stop in the Lost Corvettes giveaway
This Lost Corvettes giveaway is split up into several raffles, each benefitting a veteran-owned or veteran-themed organization. So far, two raffles have already taken place. And at the 2021 Chicago Auto Show, the winners of the third raffle got to pick up their new classic cars.
The Chicago Auto Show raffle saw six of the Lost Corvettes get new homes. And each of the winners was a veteran or came from a veteran family:
- 1960 Corvette: Dave Wyckoff, Dunedin, FL (Father served in Marines and Air Force and received a Purple Heart; grandfather was a WWII Marine; mother worked at Clark Airbase Hospital)
- 1961 Corvette: Adrian Madsen, Williamsburg, VA (Served in the Army for 30 years; grandfathers and father served in the military, too)
- 1968 Corvette: Edward Rummel, Penn Runn, PA (Marine and Agent Orange victim; father served in WWII on the beaches of Normandy)
- 1977 Corvette: Kevin Fitzpatrick, New York, NY (Father was in the Army; grandfather served in the National Guard and the Army in WWI under General Pershing)
- 1978 Corvette: Ron Wilkerson, St. James, MO (Father served in the Army)
- 1984 Corvette: David Parker, Glendale, CA (Father was a WWII Lt. Colonel; grandfather was a Colonel in WWI and WWII)
The third Lost Corvettes raffle also saw $250,000 go to Stand For The Troops. It’s a not-for-profit organization that offers aid to veterans suffering from PTSD, traumatic brain juries, and other such “invisible wounds of war.”
There are still some lost-and-found ‘Vettes left
Although the 2021 Chicago Auto Show raffle was third, you still have a chance to win one of the Lost Corvettes. Corvette Heroes has two more raffles left to give away 14 cars. And while there’s no 1963 split-window Corvette left, there’s still a 1955 model. That’s the year the Corvette first offered a V8.
Tickets are up for sale on the Lost Corvettes’ website both individually and in bundles. But if you want that 1955 ‘Vette, it’s part of the fourth raffle, which ends on July 19, 2021. And the fifth and final raffle ends on September 20, 2021.
Who knows, maybe you’ll be the next person to give one of these Lost Corvettes a new home.
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