Quite a few prominent vehicles from motorsports history have been lost in the shuffle through the years but, when the right person recognizes its significance, it can make for quite the comeback story.
That’s the case with the 1959 C1 Corvette “Purple People Eater.” The 1959 Corvette secured the SCCA National Championship that same year, with driver Jim Jeffords behind the wheel. Nickey Chevrolet campaigned the vehicle and, in order to allow the Corvette to stand out from the competition, the car was painted the eye-catching purple hue.
The 1959 Corvette campaigned with the 290 hp 283 cubic-inch V8, paired to a four-speed manual transmission before it was sold into obscurity after 1961.
But, in 1974, Carlisle Events promoter Chip Miller, purchased the car at a swap meet for merely $800, unaware of its racing significance. It quickly became clear how special the car was, and the Corvette was restored to its purple hue.
Other notable upgrades include post-traction, heavy-duty brakes and suspension plus a heater delete in the name of weight savings. Nickey Chevrolet added a hood latch, big fuel tank, safety chains and a roll bar and, finally, removed the stock windshield and replaced it with a slim-racing version.
Now, it;s heading to the auction block. Barrett-Jackson will offer up the iconic racer at its 2016 Scottsdale auction where it will surely fetch a lofty sum due to its racing heritage.