One of the largest collections of model Corvettes occupies the man cave of an Oconomowoc, Wisconsin enthusiast.
But 75-year-old Rich Gilbert says once the gas finally runs out on his collection, he hopes to donate it to the National Corvette Museum where visitors can continue to enjoy it.
“I hate to see people have big collections and nobody sees ‘em,” he tells CBS58 reporter Michael Schesinger. “A lot of people know about (my collection); a lot of people come down here and enjoy this collection.”
Gilbert has been collecting the little Corvettes for at least 40 years and now has literally row after row of these less-than-life-size collectibles lining virtually every nook and cranny in what you might call his own “Miniature National Corvette Model Museum.”
The collection numbers about 1,700 now, and Gilbert estimates it’s worth about $50,000. But don’t try to buy one of his cars.
“Nothing’s for sale down here,” he says.
Gilbert doesn’t love just small Corvettes, though. He’s owned several real Corvettes, including a ’71, a ’98, and his current Electron Blue C5.
“Had to sell the first one to get married … the second one I had to sell to get divorced,” he quips.
But marriage and divorce didn’t keep him from starting and growing his collection of miniature Corvettes over the decades.
He explains: “You start collecting anything – you want more, you want more, and all of a sudden, it’s I want to get every one they’ve got out there. I know I’d never do that, but it’s kinda neat.”
He says visitors who have a collection of 15 or 20 models think they’ve got a large collection until they see his cabinets full of little Corvettes. “They come down here and look around and say oh my gosh, I didn’t know they made this many models! The bad part of it is I only have half of ‘em.”
He’d still love to add a rare ’63 made out of solid pewter to his collection, but shakes his head and says that if he does manage to find one on eBay, it would probably cost $2,000. He has better luck, he maintains, finding a good deal at toy shows, swap meets, rummage sales, flea markets, and the like.
“It’s kind of like any type collecting,” he says. “It gets in your blood and you keep going.”
You can watch the entire news feature at www.cbs58.com.
[VIDEO] LEGO Guys Weigh in on C8 Mid-Engine Corvette and Corvette Racing
Before Power Wheels, There Was the Kiddie Corvette
Corvettes for Sale: Full Scale 1957 Corvette Display Model on Casters