‘Vette hounds track down 36 in ‘Corvette Dungeon’

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When 36 vintage Corvettes turn up missing after being stored and neglected for two decades in the garage of a New York apartment complex, you can bet that it won’t go unnoticed by Corvette fans.

Such is the case of the strange, ongoing saga of the cars owned by artist Peter Max.

New York Times reporter Daniel McDermon has dogged the story for several years after finding them in the basement garage of his Upper Manhattan apartment building. He discovered that the cars, a complete set dating from 1953 to 1989, had originally been given away in a contest sponsored by the cable music channel VH1 in 1989. A carpenter from Long Island won the cars then sold them to Max, who planned to repaint them for an art project he had conjured up in a dream. Sidetracked by more pressing projects, the cars were stashed away where the dust began to accumulate, convertible roofs began to collapse, and tires began to flatten.

The first New York Times story ran in 2005, attracting the attention of Corvette lovers who were appalled by the declining conditions of the ‘Vettes. There were offers to buy the cars, restore the cars at no cost, and to give the cars temporary homes until Max needed them. All offers, however, were declined.

When DigitalCorvettes.com learned of the story, they went on a covert mission to document the cars, which were stored behind a chain link fence inside the garage. Despite years of fretting over the ultimate outcome of the cars, they could do little more than serve as a watchdog for the collection.

They have done just that. About a week ago, the cars began to disappear, but the watchdogs weren’t far behind. Give some credit to Twitter that provided DigitalCorvettes.com with pictorial evidence of the move, including tire tracks from where one of the cars apparently had to be dragged out because of a locked wheel.

By last Saturday afternoon, DigitalCorvettes.com had received notice that the cars had been found but the location was not disclosed. Posted were photos of the cars in their new ‘Corvette dungeon’.

What will happen next? According to the New York Times, Max said he would like to purchase 14 more Corvettes to make a total of 50 needed to realize his project plans.

Until that time arrives, the collection will likely remain hidden in their private dungeon.

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