You never know what you might find on Craigslist.
Take, for example, the case of “SERIAL #X53L” that appeared in a Craigslist ad in the Tampa Bay, Fla., area some five years ago.
Some lucky person could have bought this car for less than $1,000 – some have speculated for just $700.
The seller thought it was a 1953 Pontiac prototype to be named “Longoria” and that it was “ZAGATO designed and PINNAFARINA constructed the body for GM in late 52.” He closed his ad: “Might anyone have knowledge of some former FISHER BODY executive that could assist in further identifying this automobile?”
But it wasn’t a 1953 pre-production Corvette Frame as the ad surmised.
Far from it.
Indeed, the car was seven years older, and some speculate that completely restored, this Corvette might be worth upwards of $7 million or more.
You see, it turned out to be the mysterious No. 1 1960 Briggs Cunningham Le Mans Corvette, one of three 1960 Corvettes that Briggs Cunningham raced at the 24 Hours of Le Mans that year labeled “1,” “2,” and “3.”
No. 3 wound up winning the race, while No. 1 and No. 2 failed to finish.
Nowadays, those three cars might instantly become museum pieces, but back then, Cunningham just changed them back into street-legal Corvettes and they disappeared for years after being sold through a Chevrolet dealer.
No. 3 was eventually discovered and restored by the late Chip Miller and his son Lance. No. 2 was found in a California junkyard and eventually bought and restored by collector Bruce Meyer.
No. 1 remained hidden, however, until it resurfaced in that Craigslist ad. In the years since, a battle over ownership ensued, but Indiana car dealer and collector Gino Burelli owns the car now and agreed to terms in 2015 to have famed Corvette restorer Kevin Mackay of New York do the restoration. Mackay also restored the No. 3 car.
Burelli’s attorney Bryan Shook guided him through the legalities and says the restoration could cost more than half a million bucks and take a year to complete. Right now, the car is in Burelli’s possession until he gets a final payment agreed to in court.
Shook said Burelli is “shopping” the car and believes it will fetch at least $3 million to $7 million. Not bad for a little Craigslist offering, huh? By the way, these are the three Corvettes made famous in The Quest, a documentary that details their success and the search for them years later by collectors.
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