The annual Amelia Island Concours d’Elegance in Florida showcases some of the most rare and historically significant automobiles in the world. One of the highlights of this year’s show was the 1959 Corvette raced by Jim Jeffords in SCCA B-Production racing in the late 1950s, which thanks to its purple paint scheme, was affectionately nicknamed ‘The Purple People Eater.’
The Purple People Eater, campaigned by dealer Nickey Chevrolet, was unbeatable. Three Purple People Eaters were made, with this particular model winning every race it entered except for the last one. The car was eventually sold in 1961 before resurfacing at an event in Carlisle, Pennsylvania in 1974. The current owner, Chip Miller, and his friend Ken Heckert, bought the car that day for $800, unaware of its historical significance.
The two took the car to autocross events before it sat dormant at the back of Heckert’s restoration shop for 14 years. One day, it was noticed the car had some curious details including a roll bar, a cut out for side exit exhausts, an L-shaped windshield bracket and most importantly, remnants of a purple paint job. They soon figured out it was indeed the Purple People Eater and had the car fully restored.
The car now looks just as it did in 1959 with Jeffords behind the wheel. It features a purple paint job with white coves, a white circle on each door and the hood with black numbers and accurate decals and designs. It was on display throughout the entire Amelia Island Concours d’Elegance event this past weekend with Miller’s son, Lance, alongside.