The Once Invisible Corvette Collection of Peter Max

An Amazing Collection of 36 Classic Corvettes Will Soon Be Road Ready Again!

Peter Max Collection 1Most people know about the old VH1 music channel which was launched back on January 1, 1985, but what most people don’t know is by 1988 their ratings were slipping. To boost ratings, one of the most unusual sweepstakes every to take place in the United States was launched. In 1989, VH1 set up a 900 number for $2.00 per call to win a chance at complete collection of THIRTY-SIX Corvettes!! The original sticker price for all thirty-six Corvettes was $610,000 purchased to be given away as a grand prize by the cable music channel. VH1 figured out a way to make lots of money with the $2.00 call selling well over 1,000,000 of them. The lucky winner was Dennis Amodeo, a carpenter from New York and he only made one phone call to win! Dennis received his grand prize of keys in Culver City, California in a promotional event held with ex-beach boy Mike Love. So what did Dennis do with all those Corvettes?

Baby Boomers and VH1Peter Max 1953 Corvette

Aimed at the baby boomers, VH1 put together an amazing collection of Corvettes by obtaining one vehicle from every model year. From the first fiberglass 1953 Corvette, one of only 300 produced, all the way up to the 1989 Corvette. One for each model year represented in the entire collection, minus the 1983 Corvette simply because it didn’t exist! Although not many of the cars were in perfect show room condition, this type of collection would be a car collector’s dream! Unfortunately none of the Corvettes had any rare engines or trim codes, not even a big block V-8, a quality in a Corvette that most enthusiasts prefer and most of the cars were automatic.

Peter Max, best known for his 1960 psychedelic design movement, purchased the entire collection of 36 Corvettes from Dennis Amodeo shortly after Dennis won them for $250,000 cash, $250,000 in artwork, and a modest portion of proceeds if the cars were ever sold in the future. Max shipped all the cars to New York to be stored in a Brooklyn apartment building basement later to be morphed into a psychedelic rolling art collection! Max wanted to use these beautiful American icons to self-promote his work and express himself as an outlandish artist.  He envisioned painting the vehicles in exotic colors and using them as props in weird scenarios. Peter Max appeared to be a dreamer of sorts for none of these cars were ever painted by him and all 36 remained in storage in New York City for the next 25 years only being moved from one storage facility to the next. Peter Max was simply not a Corvette lover and quite frankly, not a car guy at all!

Peter Max failed in the execution of this grand plan, but why may remains a mystery. In 2010, a news article spoke of him adding 14 more model years of Corvettes bringing the total to an even 50. Once again, that never happened. Paper color-test strips taped to only a few of Peter Max Collection 5the cars remain the only clue of Max’s original scheme. His collection had already sat for almost 20 years and the amount of work that was required, plus Max being 20 years older, just didn’t make this project appealing to him. Most of the cars never moved until they were relocated to another storage. The stagnant years were not very kind to this numerical collection. Car collectors know that vintage vehicles sitting mostly dormant and collecting dust is not a very good way to keep the cars in good condition or possibly resale. Their mechanical condition deteriorates as well with flat tires, worn out trim, and engines needing a total overhaul. Max needed a new plan!

Time To Sell The Collection

When Max approached Peter Heller to locate a new storage garage for the Corvette collection, Heller figured this was too good to pass up. Along with the Spindler family, Heller made Peter Max an offer to purchase the entire collection of 36 Corvettes of which 14 of them were convertibles. Max agreed to Heller’s undisclosed offer and cut a deal to turn over the Corvettes. Soon, Heller discovered some of the cars could be cleaned up and show-ready 1971 Chevrolet Corvettewith relatively basic restoration. He also plans to have even the most decrepit vehicles brought back to their original life. Peter Heller, the classic collection’s new owner, is one that will lovingly restore the Corvettes and make them road ready for resale. Heller reportedly plans to restore the entire collection of 36 vehicles and take them to auction for resale as one single and complete unique Corvette collection. Heller should fetch a very nice return on his investment by keeping these wheels rolling along on the forgotten collection of Peter Max.

Restoration Begins

Mr. Heller, not being an expert in Corvettes, solicited the expertise of Chris Mazzilli to evaluate the Corvette collection and prepare for resale. The entire collection and restoration work is currently under the watchful eye of Mr. Mazzilli. The tedious restoration of the very special one in the bunch, the 1953 Corvette, is underway and expected to be completed very soon. This unique collectible, which is number 291 of the 300 Corvettes produced in its inaugural year, is expected to fetch upward of $300,000 if sold as a separate item on the auction block.  The remainder of the cars will be either restored or reconditioned as determined on a car-to-car basis according to Mazzilli’s expert opinion. Mr. Adam Heller confirmed that there are no concrete plans for the entire collection of vehicles yet. Selling some or all as one entire collection at the auction is one option, perhaps keeping one or two for his own private collection could very well be another possibility. According to Mazzilli, most of the Corvettes are going to look like brand new right off the show room floor at the completion of their restoration.

The Corvette car collector world has vastly grown in popularity selling unique fully restored Corvettes for an average of ten to thirty times their original purchase price. Vintage fully restored Corvettes are at the heart of the Corvette enthusiast! This Corvette collection is not likely to be forgotten again and who knows, they may get sold separately so that some of us might have an opportunity to own a piece of this very special and unique Corvette collection.

Peter Max VW BeetleBy the way, the Peter Max collection held one ‘black sheep’ (non-Corvette) in its collection. Its a fully customized Volkswagen Beetle, the only vehicle of Max’s unmistakable psychedelic patterns. We’re sure it just may have the greatest appeal only to the art world. But it’s cool!

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