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article imageCraigslist junker selling for $700 turns out to be worth millions

By Karen Graham     May 29, 2016 in Technology
You never know what you might find on the Internet today. Corvette lovers are still kicking themselves after discovering an old "junker" advertised on Craigslist five years ago for a paltry $700 was actually worth millions.
The Internet is full of stories about treasures discovered quite by accident, like the Nazi coding machine used by Hitler's generals that was selling on E-Bay the other day for a paltry $20.
Fox News is reporting that closer to home, a post on Craigslist out of Tampa, Florida five years ago offered to sell an old car for $700. The ad, including the typos read:
”SERIAL # X53L on documented 1953 pre-production Corvette Frame. We believe this to be a 1953 Pontiac prototype that was to assume the name Longoria? Info received todate indicates that ZAGATO designed and PINNAFARINA constructed the body for GM in late 52.”
It was fairly obvious the seller didn't have any idea what he or she had because the ad concluded, "Might anyone have knowledge of some former FISHER BODY executive that could assist in further identifying this automobile?” The seller was offering the old junker for $700, but no one took the bait.
The corvette was used as a drag racer for a number of years. It was missing its engine and painted a...
The corvette was used as a drag racer for a number of years. It was missing its engine and painted a hideous purple.
No. 1 Cunningham Corvette
So what was the car? Actually, it is probably the most sought-after Corvette ever built, and could be worth several millions of dollars. It was the famous No. 1 Cunningham Corvette.
No, the car does not have a “documented 1953 pre-production Corvette Frame.” It is one of three 1960 Corvette models turned into race cars by Briggs Cunningham. He was quite the sportsman and raced the cars at the 24 Hours of Le Mans the same year.
The cars were marked with the numbers “1”, “2” and “3," and much to the delight of the fans, the cars took turns leading the race. The crowds loved the thunderous roar of the V-8 engines, and while cars number "1" and "2" did not finish, car number "3" did, winning its class and a permanent place in Corvette stories.
It was assumed the cars would end up in a museum collection someplace. Instead, Cunningham made them street-legal again and sold them through a local Chevy dealer. They seemed to disappear for a number of years until car number "3" showed up. It was restored by the late Chip Miller and his son Lance. They used Kevin Mackay to do the restoration work.
Years went by and then, a number of years later, car number "2" popped up in a junkyard in Irwindale, California. This car eventually fell into the hands of Bruce Meyer, a collector, and Petersen Automotive Museum board member. He had the car restored.
But the elusive car number "1" remained unattainable, at least until the car, with "gaudy purple paint, poorly applied" showed up in the Craigslist ad. After a year-long legal battle over ownership, the car was positively identified as the number "1" Cunningham Corvette and ended up being owned by Gino Burelli, an Indiana car dealer, and collector in 2015.
The car was in a state of deterioration.
The car was in a state of deterioration.
Under the legal agreement forged last year, Burelli has commissioned Corvette restorer Kevin Mackay of Valley Stream, N.Y. to restore the car to its original condition. Mackay earned acclaim for his restoration of the number "3" Cunningham Corvette.
The restoration is expected to last over a year and cost about $500,000. If anyone is wondering if the time, effort and money is worth it, Burelli is "shopping it" says a vintage car lawyer, Bryan Shook. The $700 Craigslist purchase can be expected to fetch anywhere from three to seven million dollars, reports Hagerty's.
More about Craigslist, Cunningham Corvette, Le Mans 1960, Restoration, number 1
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