A 30-year saga involving 36 Chevrolet Corvettes nears its conclusion. In 1989, a ratings-hungry VH1 held a contest giving away a Corvette from every production year between 1953 and 1989. Dennis Amodeo, a carpenter in Huntington, N.Y., who didn't have a garage, won the three dozen prizes. He sold the cars to NYC artist Peter Max, who planned to paint each vehicle in his signature style and sell them on again as artworks. In 2003, Max said he wanted to add 14 more Corvettes to bring the collection up to date and to an even 50 cars. The plans never happened. By the time the Heller and Spindler families bought the collection off Max in 2014 – a sale that brought its own hassles – the mess of filthy fiberglass had spent 25 years rotting in no less than six NYC garages.
Enter Corvette collector Chris Mazzilli and Corvette Heroes. In July this year, we found out the Heller and Spindler families wanted to organize a new sweepstakes to give the 36 Corvettes away. This time, however, the contest would distribute one car each to 36 winners. The families enlisted Mazilli and his Dream Car Restorations shop in Hicksville, N.Y., to resurrect the coupes and roadsters for their new, ideally loving, homes, and created Corvette Heroes to manage a raffle. Proceeds would support the National Guard Education Foundation and other veteran-themed nonprofits.
There will be two raffles. The first, with tickets available from now until April 30, 2020, to U.S. residents in every state except Oregon, gets buyers a chance to win one of the 36 cars. Winners will be chosen at random on or around May 15. A second raffle will randomly assign a Corvette to each of the winners from the first raffle; a winner could end up with the teal-on-cream 1956 convertible (pictured) that cameo'd in "Comedians in Cars Getting Coffee," or the red-on-brown 1975 open-topped Stingray with the 165-horsepower V8.
A single ticket costs $3, five tickets cost $10, 20 tickets cost $25, a bundle of 7,200 tickets is the best deal at just $5,000. (Though the NADA Guide lists low retail on the forsaken 1984 Corvette as $4,725.) Purchasing a ticket isn't necessary, everyone in the U.S. save those Oregonians will be able to score a free entry by sending a letter to the National Guard Education Foundation's headquarters.
To find out everything about the contest and every Corvette up for grabs – some of which haven't been through the restoration yet – head to Corvette Heroes, or head to the FYI channel to stream episodes of "The Lost Corvettes" that look at the cars from ’53, ’56, ‘57, ’66, ’67 and ’69.