"Papa" John Schnatter, founder of the Papa John’s pizza chain, is offering $250,000 to find his original '72 Z28 Camaro.
Schnatter sold the car in 1984 to open his first Papa John’s restaurant in the back of his father’s tavern, and wants the car back for sentimental reasons.
Currently, Schnatter is cruising the country, attending car events to promote his search. He has also turned his search into a contest for his pizza enterprise called the “Papa John’s Camaro Chase Contest”.
The Contest began on May 27 and will end on August 31 at 6:00 p.m. ET. In order to obtain the prize for finding Papa’s original Camaro, you must show proof of official vehicle title stating the names of all past owners, including John Schnatter, and a photo of the Camaro as outlined in the contest.
According to a press release from Papa John’s, Schnatter, set out on a cross-country “Road Trip” last month in a replica of his original Z28. He announced that he would award $25,000 to the person who located his original Camaro. Within hours, leads came in from car enthusiasts and fans all over the country. Given all the support and interest, he increased the reward by 10 times to $250,000.
“We’ve talked to so many car aficionados that we’re convinced the car is out there somewhere,” Schnatter stated in the press release. “It’s not a car that someone would easily turn over to the scrap heap. The real point is, while this car may not be a true classic, it’s near and dear to my heart. It would mean so much if I had any part of that car back. Once people hear the story of why I sold the car, it resonates with them. They understand that sometimes, pursuing your dream requires a heart-wrenching sacrifice…not to mention a lot of hard work and perseverance.”
“Papa’s Road Trip” and the search for the Camaro is being chronicled by two intern sidekicks who have and will continue to log Schnatter’s road trip adventures online at www.papasroadtrip.com via an array of photos, videos, blogs, tweets and rules for the contest. Also on the Web site, Schnatter and the sidekicks continue to release new information about the original ’72 Z28 Camaro in the hopes that someone will reveal the car’s whereabouts.
Also in support of the Road Trip, Papa John’s developed an “augmented reality” icon of Schnatter’s Camaro on the bottom of more than 30 million pizza boxes across the country. A new frontier for marketers, augmented reality is an online application that allows the user to interact in real-time with computer-generated imagery. Available for reviewing at www.papasroadtrip.com, when the icon is recognized by a webcam, customers may virtually take part in Papa’s Road Trip by driving Schnatter’s Camaro and along the way be granted exclusive discounts on future Papa John’s purchases, displayed on billboards along the virtual road.
The Road Trip continues on July 4 in Daytona Beach, FL before making its way through the Midwest in the middle of the month.
Here are some of the original specs for Schnatter’s Camaro:
License plate: 10z 54
Original speedometer read 10 MPH too fast
Velvet interior, not vinyl
BF Goodrich Tires
No air conditioning