Imagine winning not just one, but an incredible 36 Corvettes in one single phone-in competition. That was the situation Dennis Amodeo found himself in when he scooped the huge prize given away by US radio station VH1 in 1990. The prize, which included a Corvette from every year from 1953 to 1989, was designed to help boost the station’s ailing listener figures. It worked, and the $2-per-call entry also raised $1.49m, easily covering the $610,000 spent on procuring the collection.
Once the public hand-over had taken place, during which Amodeo was presented with a bag full of car keys, he didn’t have to deal with the welcome problem of just what to do with 36 cars. Before he collected them, he received a call from artist Peter Max who had a desire to paint all the cars in psychedelic colours. But that never happened.
Instead, once Peter had bought the cars, they remained in storage gathering a thick layer of dust. Occasionally they have moved from one New York City storage area to another, but they’ve essentially remained idle. What started out as ‘reasonable’ condition cars have only fallen into worse states of repair.
But soon they are to be restored to their former glory and put back on the market – in all likelihood, to be sold separately. Peter Heller is the man who has bought them, and has discovered amongst them some real gems. There’s a matching-numbers ’53 model, for instance. Some of the other restorations will be harder to justify financially; the cost of restoring the ’74 and ’84 models will outweigh their market value.
Perhaps those lesser-loved models need to stay in storage for another 25 years until they’re rare and desirable enough to have attention lavished on them…
Photography: Richard Prince