Sometimes you just can’t see the forest for the trees.
That was certainly the case for Ken Heckert, owner of a restoration shop, and Chip Miller, founder of what is now known as Carlisle Events.
Both those gentlemen were very familiar with Corvettes, but back in 1974 at an event called Post War ’74 (now Fall Carlisle), they discovered what they thought was just a regular old Corvette race car that they could bang around in. Little did they know…
Eventually the two men moved on to other toys and the “regular old Corvette race car” was pulled off to the side of Heckert’s warehouse, where it was covered with a sheet and became the bottom of a table used for work space.
Fast forward a few years later, and Miller decided to see if he could find a cool Corvette race car he had heard about from the 1950s that became known as the Purple People Eater, driven by Florida-based driver Jim Jeffords, who singlehandedly ended the West Coast’s domination of Corvette racing late in that decade.
Jeffords and his purple Nickey Chevrolet had proven nearly unbeatable during the 1958/1959 racing seasons, earning the nickname of Purple People Eater.
Miller decided that he wanted to find and restore this important part of Corvette history. After consulting with enthusiasts and other Corvette experts, though, he decided he already owned the car – the one that was serving as the bottom of a work space!
Thus began a restoration project that brought the historic Corvette back to its glory days – complete with the purple paint job with white coves, a white circle on each side and hood with black numbers, as well as original graphics and designs.
You’ll have the opportunity to see this truly one-of-a-kind Corvette during the entire weekend at the annual Amelia Island Concours d’Elegance event, set for March 7-9 at the Ritz-Carlton and Golf Club of Amelia Island, Fla. Even better, Miller’s son, Lance, co-owner of Carlisle Events, will be onsite with the car.
Corvettes on eBay: 1958 Corvette SVRA Vintage Racecar
[PIC] Throwback Thursday: 1959 Corvette Stingray Racer with the 1956 Corvette SS
1967 Corvette Le Mans Racer Serves as Inspiration for Monterey Reunion Poster