Interesting story about 36 "hidden" vintage Corvettes in NYC...

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Joined Dec 9, 1999
http://jalopnik.com/5472253/peter-maxs-36-vintage-corvettes-the-full-story



[table][tr][td]In 1989, VH1 gave away 36 vintage Corvettes in a contest. The winner sold those cars to artist Peter Max, who let them rot in a Brooklyn parking garage for twenty years. The cars recently disappeared. This is their story.

Thanks to the smart work of Daniel McDermon over at the New York Times, we're finally piecing together a story that we had heard snippets of for years but never nailed down.

In 1988, VH1 was struggling for ratings. As part of a publicity stunt, the music video network spent a truckload of money on 36 vintage Corvettes. The cars were given away in a telephone sweepstakes the next year, and one winner walked off with the complete set.

The contest was the brainchild of freelance TV producer Jim Cahill. VH1 charged him with the task of raising the network's national profile and attracting the then-vibrant baby-boomer demographic. He came up with the idea — give away one car from every year of the Corvette's three-and-a-half-decade history — while sitting on the freeway in Los Angeles.

What followed was a buying spree of epic proportions. Over the course of several months in 1988, Cahill spent $610,000 — roughly $1.1 million when adjusted for inflation — of VH1's money on what must have seemed like the automotive purchasing orgy of a lifetime. According to a period article in Vette magazine, the 36 cars that he bought were "drivers," not "Bloomington cars." Fourteen were convertibles, and 25 of the 36 contained automatic transmissions (eww). Cahill shepherded the cars from commercial shoot to commercial shoot, kept them fastidiously clean, and generally went to town with the whole mess. He also did what any of us would do — he drove one home each night for 36 nights. (He has since noted that, although some of the cars were healthy and drove well, many of them were nightmarishly bad.)

To facilitate the contest and help recoup some of the investment, VH1 set up a 900 number that charged two dollars per call. Prospective entrants called the number to register, and AT&T gave the network $1.49 from every call. 190,000 people called in the first day, 1.3 million registered in total, and VH1 made its money back in less than two weeks. Amazingly, the contest was won by Dennis Amadeo, a carpenter from Long Island who entered only once. He flew to California and was given the five-pound bag of keys by ex-Beach Boy Mike Love in a ceremony in Culver City.

This is where it gets weird.

Enter Peter Max. Max, a Manhattan-dwelling American graphic artist responsible for a large part of the 1960s pyschedelic design movement, was, and is not, a car guy. He gained fame for his "Cosmic '60s" style and use of vibrant color, and while he has painted everything from a Boeing 777 to Dale Earnhardt's NASCAR Monte Carlo, he isn't the type of celebrity to have a Lenoesque garage full of automotive weirdness.
Nevertheless, he bought the cars from Amadeo. As he tells it, he found out about the collection through a friend, fell asleep shortly after, and had a dream that included cheerleaders, the 36 'vettes, and a stadium full of people yelling "They're Peter Max's cars!" Naturally, when he woke up, he got out his wallet. (We make our spontaneous, million-dollar decisions based on REM sleep, too. Doesn't everybody?)

Max contacted Amadeo, made a deal — $250,000 cash plus $250,000 in artwork and a portion of the proceeds should the cars be sold again — and, despite a few reservations, had the Corvettes shipped to New York. Cahill facilitated the preparation and handover of all 36 cars, ensuring that they were both clean and driveable when they were put on the truck.

This is where it starts to get depressing: Because Max was then involved in a number of different projects (not the least of which was an IRS investigation), the Corvettes sat, were moved, and then sat again. They eventually ended up in the basement of a Brooklyn apartment building that had once been a New York Daily News printing plant. They sat there, gathering dust, for years.

It would not be an exaggeration to say that Max's cars were left to rot, nor that he essentially abandoned them. They remained largely hidden until May of 2005, when a New York magazine writer discovered them and wrote a column. A member of the enthusiast forum Digital Corvettes read the column, got interested, and went to take a look. When he posted pictures, the Internet went nuts.

The people who lived in the 'vettes' apartment building soon complained, *****ing and moaning because their valuable Big Apple parking spaces were being taken up by a celebrity's fiberglass junkyard. A handful of Digital Corvettes members, including site owner Patrick Gramm, went to New York to find the cars, take a quasi-legal look, and get some questions answered. (Big-block cars? Rare options? A '53?) Countless people wrote emails and forum posts, offering to maintain the cars for free just so they wouldn't rot away. No one listened, Max remained mum, and nothing happened until a few weeks ago, when the cars disappeared.

That, too, prompted an uprising. The collection was so provocative that the New York Times ran a story and several blog posts on it, even going so far as to get David Burroughs, the CEO of Bloomington Gold, to issue a sight-unseen appraisal on the lot. ($840,000, for the record.) A tenant in the apartment building in question tweeted about the cars' disapparance, expressing joy. A Times writer (the aforementioned McDermon) also lived in the building, and his curiosity prompted him to do extensive research, dig up Cahill, and talk to Max. The result was fairly predictable: The Corvettes were in a new, undisclosed location; Max still planned to do something with them but was waiting on financial backing; and Cahill was a bit sad.

And that, it seemed, was that. Or not.

HERE'S THE COOLEST PART: The Digital Corvettes community got its @!#% together and found the cars. Their new hiding place was discovered by a forum member. The following images appeared on DC two days ago:

...as did, predictably, a new round of outrage.

Max's plans? He wants to buy 14 more cars, bringing the collection to an even 50 examples and the 2003 model year. He also told the New York Times that he wants to paint the cars in a more respectful manner and auction them off. Cahill came out of the woodwork, signing up for a Digital Corvettes membership and spilling the beans on the collection's early days. (Random depression: Max's shippers didn't even want the car covers.) And we are, like everyone else, a little sad.
There is a lesson here, but we'll be damned if we know what it is. Regardless, one thing is for sure: No matter who you are, you shouldn't buy a passel of Corvettes if you're going to let them fester in a basement. And Max, if you're out there, listen up: When people offer to fix your cars for free, you listen. Do us a favor and stop hiding your fiberglass light under a bushel, huh? [/td][/tr][/table]Cliffnotes:
--VH1 is broke; creates contest to get more people to watch
--Has contest involving 36 Corvettes to winner; spend $610K
--Guy wins all the Corvettes and takes them home
--Another guy who's NOT a car guy, has a dream about them, contacts the winner, and buys all of them for $250K
--The "new" owner loses interests due to tons of projects, and lets the cars sit in a vacant building collecting dust for 15 years until discovered
--The story ends up in NY Times, and various other websites, and people are appauled/disgusted/amazed/in shock over all of them

.....and now, the pics:











To see more pics, and additional story info:
http://www.digitalcorvettes.com/forums/showthread.php?s=&postid=409831
 
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Originally Posted by MR MONDAY NIIGHT



There's an abandoned mansion in New Jersey with 2 ferrari's in the garage
is this common knowledge or should I call some Newark people?
 
9,383
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Joined Apr 24, 2008
Originally Posted by ThunderChunk69

Originally Posted by MR MONDAY NIIGHT



There's an abandoned mansion in New Jersey with 2 ferrari's in the garage
is this common knowledge or should I call some Newark people?
Not common knowledge
Spoiler [+]
House been abandoned since 2005








Location: 1298 Canal Rd, Franklin, NJ
Price: was on the market for $18,000,000
Square Feet: 34,000

This 34,000 square foot architectural masterpiece is located on the outskirts of Princeton, NJ. The home was built by John Boulton, a retired electronics magnate who invented a remote-control music system.

The 34,000-SF residence is on 48 acres of woodland, meadows and streams, and surrounded by hundreds of other acres set aside for land conservation, parks, walking paths, trails for horseback riding and the historic Delaware & Raritan Canal. Nearby is the first residence of George Washington after he became president.

Chalan Farm was designed by architect James Kissane with huge open interior spaces. Offered ready for interior finishing, the interconnecting modules of 14-foot floor-to-ceiling glass walls, as planned by the owner and adaptable for redesign, comprise the living room, dining room, gourmet kitchen, master bedroom suite and dressing rooms, plus other open-space areas for entertaining. A glass-enclosed spa and swimming pool are located adjacent to the master bedroom suite.

Beneath the glass house is a 17,000 square foot basement carved from solid rock, offering ample space for an art gallery, gym, studio, screening room, staff quarters, a wine storage vault and interior parking for up to 10 vehicles. The sprawling complex leaves plenty of room for such add-ons as a helipad, private golf course, tennis courts and riding trails, projects that were the owner's intentions.
 

billy hoyle

Banned
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Joined Feb 1, 2010
Originally Posted by MR MONDAY NIIGHT



There's an abandoned mansion in New Jersey with 2 ferrari's in the garage
if you were smart you would go take them since obviously no one actually owns them anymore


i know id do that with a quickness or atleast try to.
 

oh you mad

Supporter
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Joined Oct 28, 2007
Originally Posted by MR MONDAY NIIGHT

Originally Posted by ThunderChunk69

Originally Posted by MR MONDAY NIIGHT



There's an abandoned mansion in New Jersey with 2 ferrari's in the garage
is this common knowledge or should I call some Newark people?
Not common knowledge
Spoiler [+]
House been abandoned since 2005















Location: 1298 Canal Rd, Franklin, NJ

Price: was on the market for $18,000,000

Square Feet: 34,000



This 34,000 square foot architectural masterpiece is located on the
outskirts of Princeton, NJ. The home was built by John Boulton, a
retired electronics magnate who invented a remote-control music system.



The 34,000-SF residence is on 48 acres of woodland, meadows and streams,
and surrounded by hundreds of other acres set aside for land
conservation, parks, walking paths, trails for horseback riding and the
historic Delaware & Raritan Canal. Nearby is the first residence of
George Washington after he became president.



Chalan Farm was designed by architect James Kissane with huge open
interior spaces. Offered ready for interior finishing, the
interconnecting modules of 14-foot floor-to-ceiling glass walls, as
planned by the owner and adaptable for redesign, comprise the living
room, dining room, gourmet kitchen, master bedroom suite and dressing
rooms, plus other open-space areas for entertaining. A glass-enclosed
spa and swimming pool are located adjacent to the master bedroom suite.



Beneath the glass house is a 17,000 square foot basement carved from
solid rock, offering ample space for an art gallery, gym, studio,
screening room, staff quarters, a wine storage vault and interior parking
for up to 10 vehicles. The sprawling complex leaves plenty of room for
such add-ons as a helipad, private golf course, tennis courts and riding
trails, projects that were the owner's intentions.

Edit, read it wrong.

What are the NJ Squatting laws?
 

damu

Banned
1,690
10
Joined Apr 27, 2009
if i knew they were there i would have rolled up with a tow truck hooked one up and rolled out with it. would have waited and if it seems nobody was looking for it i would have came back for the rest.
 
1,289
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Joined Jul 7, 2002
Originally Posted by MR MONDAY NIIGHT

Originally Posted by kidposite

Originally Posted by MR MONDAY NIIGHT



There's an abandoned mansion in New Jersey with 2 ferrari's in the garage
pics? abandoned $#%@ always fascinates me
Look at my last reply
my bad i replied too soon.

what happened to the owner? did he die?

also its gonna take a #%####%# of money to get those vettes running again with all the rubber seasl and whatnot
 
9,383
14
Joined Apr 24, 2008
Originally Posted by kidposite

Originally Posted by MR MONDAY NIIGHT

Originally Posted by kidposite

Originally Posted by MR MONDAY NIIGHT



There's an abandoned mansion in New Jersey with 2 ferrari's in the garage
pics? abandoned $#%@ always fascinates me
Look at my last reply
my bad i replied too soon.

what happened to the owner? did he die?

also its gonna take a #%####%# of money to get those vettes running again with all the rubber seasl and whatnot
he gave up on the house

now it's just rotting there
 

homer

Banned
534
10
Joined Aug 5, 2007
Originally Posted by SIRIUS LEE HANDSOME

Cool story. Peter Max is an ahole
word.
Lets get them ferrari's though NT, it's only right. NT summit codename Ocean's.
 
1,289
10
Joined Jul 7, 2002
speaking of abandoned mansions...

this mansion near me called the marwood mansion was built in the 1920's and lived in by the kennedy and gore family. for about 20 years it just sat there and rot and was alledgedly "haunted" until some guy bought it and completely renovated it. definitely the sickest house in the DC area.


before renovations


now...




more pics here

http://www.barnesvanze.com/new_index.php?/historic/category/659/59

also in the woods nearby there was a station wagon that had been set on fire. there were 3 oil barrels in it
. and theres another 1940's pickup truck thats been rotting away. just makes you think about why/how they got there
 
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