The first hearing in a battle to determine who owns one of three 1960 Corvette race cars will be held today in U.S. District Court in Harrisburg, Pa.
Two of the classic race cars have already been restored and are estimated to be worth at least a million dollars each. But the No.1 Corvette, which was driven by Briggs Cunningham in the 1960 24 Hours of Le Mans, had been missing for nearly 30 years.
It resurfaced this year when Pamela Carr of Florida sold it for $75,000 to Lance Miller, co-owner of Carlisle Events in Carlisle, Pa. Miller promptly sold the car for the same price to renowned Corvette restorer Kevin Mackay.
However, a Florida man named Dan Mathis Jr. came forward at Carlisle, holding a title to the car issued in Florida on Aug. 17, 2012, and claiming that the Corvette had been stolen from his father in the 1970s.
In Thursday’s hearing, Mathis is asking that the car be returned to him while questions over its ownership are answered. Named as defendants in his lawsuit, filed Sept. 7, are Miller, his mother, his business partners, Mackay, Carlisle Events, and the Borough of Carlisle.
Ten days earlier, Miller and Mackay had also filed suit – against Mathis and two other men, seeking to have Mackay declared owner of the car and monetary damages for disparagement, defamation, and interference with business.
The car had been stored in a warehouse along with other items collected by Carr’s husband, retired Florida judge Richard Carr, who died in 2010. It was shown at a private event at Corvettes at Carlisle in August, but a planned public unveiling there was canceled by Miller at the last minute.
Mackay’s efforts to find the Corvette racers dates back to the early 1990s when he hired a private investigator to search for them. He was able to get the VINs and actually found car No. 3 and restored it for Lance Miller’s father, Chip, whose efforts to find and restore car No. 3 were turned into a movie called The Quest. Chip passed away in 2004, but his dying wish was for Mackay to get car No. 1 if it ever surfaced.
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