For years, Corvette enthusiasts have been intrigued by the Peter Max Corvettes, that collection of 36 Corvettes owned by the pop art star who became famous in the 1960s.
The Corvettes, one each from 1953 through 1989, were the grand prize in a VH1 contest back in 1989, with a carpenter from Long Island chosen as the lucky winner.
Max apparently was intrigued by the collection and bought it from the winner with intentions of using the Corvettes in a magnificent art project that would bring together the artist’s bright hippie imagery with the ionic nature of the cars.
But then, life came along, and Max never really had a chance to pursue the project, eventually storing the Corvettes in a publicly accessible garage in New York City.
There they remained until 2001 when Peter Heller’s cousin Scott Heller helped Max find a new home for the cars in the Flatiron district, only the first of two more moves, to Brooklyn and then Upper Manhattan, where many of the cars have been since 2010.
Scott Heller unsuccessfully tried earlier this year to get Max to let him get the cars restored and split the proceeds with him. Not long after, though, Max surprised Heller with a proposition to sell him the collection outright.
Over the years, the Corvettes have become something of a legend on the Internet, causing many enthusiasts to get upset and call for a proper restoration of the classic American sports cars.
Finally, they are getting their wish. Max agreed in July to sell the collection to the Heller family at a price not disclosed. You can imagine it wasn’t cheap, even though the cars were caked in years of dirt (some even had the windows left open and others had been damaged over the years).
Now Peter and Scott Heller (and Scott’s sons Adam and Mike) are fully restoring the 1953 model (No. 291 out of 300) and a 1955 (one of just 700 built), with the others being cleaned up and repaired to get them into running condition.
The entire collection will then be on the auction block, perhaps as early as next spring, with the Hellers hoping to sell all of the cars to one person with lots of money.
If that doesn’t happen, they figure there are still plenty of Corvette enthusiasts who would love to have just one of the Peter Max cars.
“We expect that people might pay a premium to own a car from the collection,” Adam Heller said.
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