In 1989, Long Island carpenter Dennis Amodeo won 36 Corvettes (one from each production year stretching back to 1953) in a VH1 contest—and what a long, strange trip it's been for the cars since. Now, after years of gathering dust in various New York City parking garages, the entire collection is about to be given away in a 2020 sweepstakes, with each car up for grabs for the cost of a $3 raffle ticket. The New York Times reports on the "Lost Corvettes" contest sponsored by Corvette Heroes, the group set up by the two families—the Hellers and the Spindlers—who own the cars. Hagerty.com reports they acquired them in 2014, but not from Amodeo.
They've been out of his possession since shortly after the VH1 contest, when artist Peter Max purchased them in the hopes of painting the cars and using them in an art project. Max got into trouble with the IRS, however, and briefly went to prison, and the cars never got painted. The cars have over the years have moved from parking garage to parking garage all over the city. Not many of the cars—which will be given away individually, with the money going to veterans-related charities—are collector's items, though Chevrolet only made 300 of the 1953 model; there are only about 100 or so left. The 1956 model, meanwhile, painted an unusual Cascade Green shade, was used in an episode of Comedians in Cars Getting Coffee with Jerry Seinfeld and Jimmy Fallon. Enter the sweepstakes here for a chance at one of the "lost" vehicles. (Read more Corvette stories.)