The Peter Max Corvette Collection

Peter Max Corvettes

I have heard stories of the Peter Max Collection, but this is the first time I have seen photos of the entire collection of Corvettes all together. According to the guys over at the Hemmings Blog, the artist turned Corvette owner has finally decided to part ways with all 36 cars. It has taken 25 years, but these Vettes may finally see some use. A daring group of individuals were able to get Peter to part ways with the cars and are now in the process of pulling them out of storage, cleaning them, and getting them all running again. The entire story is an incredible one, so if you haven’t heard of this collection, be sure to read the entire story of how it came to be! Special thanks to Jim S for bringing this news to our attention!

Peter Max Collection

I won’t go into great detail about how the collection came to be, you can read the detailed story over at Hemmings, but for those who want the short and quick version, here it is. The collection started in 1990, when VH1 held a giveaway to drum up some much needed publicity. They had the idea to give away one Corvette of every year starting with a 1953 and ending with a 1989. Most of them were base model cars, but some of the early ones are now highly desirable. The giveaway was a massive success and one lucky winner went home with a massive bag of car keys. That winner was a Mr. Dennis Amadeo of Long Island. After accepting his award he was contacted by Peter Max about possibly selling the entire collection and this is where things started to get interesting.

Cleaning the Max Corvettes

Mr. Max decided to buy the whole collection after seeing it at an auto show, which inspired him to make them into an art project. He claims the morning after the giveaway, he had a dream of the cars driving onto a football field with cheerleaders standing on them with a man standing behind him eating a hot dog with mustard on it. Remember he is known for his psychedelic and abstract art work! He has stated himself that he isn’t much of a car guy, but bought them purely for the art project that he never completed. He was able to make a deal with Amadeo to buy the entire collection and has owned them ever since. Over the years stories about the collection have come out, with the most recent being back in 2010. Each time there has been considerable speculation and attempts to buy them, but nobody had been able to pull it off until now.

Max Corvettes

It is incredible to see so many Corvettes in a single private collection, but it is sad that they have been allowed to fall into such disrepair. Hopefully the new owners will be able to get all of them ready for the road, or at least the majority! I can only imagine the magnitude of an undertaking like this, so I wish them luck. They hope to sell the entire collection as a package deal, but are looking at selling them individually as an option too. It would be amazing for all 36 cars to remain together, but finding a buyer could be difficult. This is one story I will be keeping an eye on and I will be sure to let you guys know if any new information surfaces! So, did anyone here try their luck at the VH1 Corvette Giveaway back in ’90?

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Comments

  1. Frank

    Whoah, I had never heard of this before now, what a strange and intriguing story. A shame these cars were left to rot.

  2. Grumpydan

    Amazing, never heard of this collection, most base cars but any 1953 through 1967 is a desirable car, some of the C3’s yes….the rest I wouldn’t care for, but wowow…

  3. Tony

    Wow I remember this giveaway! I was at the Corvette Homecoming in Bowling Green, Ky. in 1989 when someone started yelling free t-shirts. They had the VH1 logo and on the back they read “36 CORVETTES! ONE WINNER! NO KIDDING!”. Still have that t-shirt.

    Like 1
  4. jordan

    Great story. Seems to me theres the makings of a documentary in here somewhere. If the entire collection is sold as one lot, it would more than likely be broken up anyway. The buyer would likely cherry pick the collection and recoup some of his dough on the lesser cars. Either way its great reading and extremely frustrating for most readers as they know they cant afford one of them…….

    Like 2
  5. MH

    I know of this collection. Never seen it in person as the owner is very secretive. The location of was unknown for many years. Was in a private parking ramp at one time. I would love to own them but it would be overwhelming to keep them all in shape and running.

  6. BradL

    I remember entering the contest. It’s a shame they sat for so long.

  7. Dan h

    I’ll take the VW Bug in the first photo,chuckle-chuckle.

  8. dj

    I entered that contest as many times as I could.

  9. Dolphin Member

    If there is a more bizarre backstory about a car collection I don’t know what it is:

    – dozens of Vettes given away as a promo prize for a failing video music station
    – winner sells the whole lot to non-car-guy artist Peter Max for art project
    – Max buys them based on dream that included 36 Vettes, cheerleaders, and a stadium full of people yelling “They’re Peter Max’s cars!”
    – Max never gets around to creating the art project
    – the Vettes go from one New York City storge location to another for years, likely racking up big storage fees but definitely getting covered in dirt

    Ok, I admit it, that’s enough bizarre for me for one night.
    I think some, or maybe all, have been sold, or might be sold…sometime. But who knows?

  10. davew

    There’s a podcast you can find on iTunes about this, pretty interesting. Look up ‘Car Stuff’ and find VH1 Corvettes

  11. Elizabeth

    VH1 played Michael Bolton and gave away 36 Corvettes!?
    Crazy.

    Sad they are not in garages being loved and driven.

  12. erikj

    Wow, what a story,partly sad. I have a c-3 rough and got it after a 20 year old sleep and the things that rot out from sitting just keep poping up. still love the vette though. So these are all going to need a good going over. Very neat story and im sure most can be brought back to life.

  13. John

    I can’t believe they were left to deteriorate like that.

  14. TVC15

    I remember seeing these cars stored at The Classic Car Loft in White Plains N.Y I also remember the V.H.1 comercial for the giveaway it had all ( ? ) of the cars driving along a hillside at dusk , do I remember right ?

  15. Alan (Michigan)

    I recall hearing of this collection a couple of years back. Glad that the cars will again see the light of day and be brought back to driving condition.

    Personally, I can only imagine being able to buy 36 of any car in one shot…. Corvettes? Even with 1990 values, not exactly chump change!

  16. jimmyrk3

    I don’t think this was a collection. More like a horde. The term collection has a connotation that someone was enjoying taking care of and deriving pleasure from it. It appears the only pleasure here was derived from the knowledge that they belonged to the owner. There was absolutely no enjoyment in their upkeep. I am glad they didn’t burn up in a warehouse fire.

  17. Pablo Jones

    Ive seen this collection! Peter is my ex girlfriends brother in law!! I am going to bid on this!! I saw this after his ex wife appeared on the david letterman show!! Wow!! After all these years!! I remember what you told me peter about the cost!!! Hope your doing well!!

    Like 1
  18. FRED

    i entered the contest more times than i can count. what a shame to see them like that. maybe they sat because he could not afford insurance for all of them. glad to see them getting the care they need

  19. dj

    If I remember correctly, all the cars weren’t the best in shape to start with. It was basically one for each year. Some were original and some weren’t but you got them all. I had a 77 and a 78 Silver Anniversary during that time and thought it would have been great to have them all.

  20. Oldstuff 1941

    I remember this well. I also entered as many times as possible. I was the proud owner of an original 74, Red with Silver leather, L-48, loaded Coupe and an all original 59, automatic, Hardtop only, White with Black car at the time and dreamed of having all those others to make a real collection. I figured if I won, I could drive a different one every day taking my 5 yr old to school, and start over at the first of the next month…lol

  21. Frank Thompson

    I too entered this contest “a few ” times,,,,what a Shame,,

  22. Scott Allison

    Here is a youtube clip of some of the original news footage about the give away

    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=QfLvn-tjHVA

    Interview about how the contest was derived.

    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=x0b5SsbpptE

    The original story was started by a few guys at digitalcorvettes.com
    The entire thread is there:
    http://www.digitalcorvettes.com/forums/forumdisplay.php?s=&daysprune=&f=171

  23. Joe Gaymer

    Hi!: is there a Wankel Rotary Combustion Engine Corvette in this collection? Two were built, once on exhibition in Ford museum in Detroit, a two rotor was saved from scrap by a british writer, and appears often in UK RCE meetings, although never seen with engine running. The one in UK seems not being allowed to go on roads, as front lights don’t meet current requirements. Thanks

  24. Mike_B_SVT

    Ok, I admit it. I don’t remember the promotion, but I do remember the dream. I was the guy eating the hotdog with mustard on it!

    The cheerleaders and corvettes, that was all me, I’m sure. But for all these years I never knew who Peter Max was. Now I know that he was the guy standing in front of me! I swear, he kept blocking my view of the cheerleaders, which is odd because I’m tall and don’t usually have that problem, but it was a dream so I guess that explains that. It got really weird too – the cars started turning funny colors, and I could never finish the hotdog, and the mustard kept getting all over everything. I bet that was Mr. Max’s fault, messing with my dream.

    I wonder if Mr. Max is going to have the cars parade onto the field once they are all running again? Seems like it would probably be his last chance to make MY dream come true…

  25. Gary Lindel

    I remember this contest. I entered and even had a plan on how I would be able to afford the storage. I would sell the 89 Vette to pay for storage for the first year. Then I would sell the least desirable (in my opinion) Vettes, one at a time as funds were needed for storage and upkeep. I figured I would finally get the collection down to a half dozen or so of the Vettes that I liked the most and would be able to afford the storage and upkeep on those cars on an ongoing basis. Good plan, right?

  26. Skip Guarino

    I had my ’66 Corvette Coupe worked on at this shop just before the collection was brought there. I had the opportunity to go to the shop a few times while the cars were there being worked on. It was a large undertaking that the shop is more than capable of handling. The cars are given 1st class treatment by a very qualified crew.

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