• May 29, 2009
John Schnatter's 1972 Chevrolet Camaro – Click above for high-res image gallery

It's inconceivable that in 1984 there was any young man in America under 30 that did not love both pizza and the Camaro Z-28. John Schnatter had the Chevy. A '72 Z-28 in gold with black stripes, white-letter BFGs on chrome wheels, a sunroof and chrome-tipped duals. In other words, awesome. John felt a strong pull to try his hand at opening a pizza restaurant. To raise the needed working capital, the beloved Camaro had to go. As much as he loved his car, John loved his pizza plans more.

Twenty-five years later, John Schnatter sits atop his Papa John's empire, 3,400 restaurants strong. John's not the only corporate chief with a hankering for a gold sports car, but going on a quest for your long lost automotive love is certainly a pursuit that speaks to the passion with which the CEO chases his goals. Not satisfied to just hit the road in an assuredly great replica of the car we'll call the "lost Z," CEO Schnatter's off on a road trip, which is being covered comprehensively at the papasroadtrip.com web outpost, and his quarry is the very Z-28 he was forced to liquidate so many years ago. He may be able to get some help from the Lost Car Registry, and the $25,000 reward he's offering for anyone who finds the beloved car is certainly motivational. Along the way on his trip, Papa John will make time to deliver pizzas for local franchises, and his vintage Camaro is way nicer than the clapped out ride you'd normally expect to be wheezing up to the curb carrying your pies.



[Source: Papa John's]


I'm reporting this comment as:

Reported comments and users are reviewed by Autoblog staff 24 hours a day, seven days a week to determine whether they violate Community Guideline. Accounts are penalized for Community Guidelines violations and serious or repeated violations can lead to account termination.


    • 1 Second Ago
  • 23 Comments
      • 5 Years Ago
      it's funny that Wed night, I saw his PJ's commercial and it shows him getting out of a gold Camaro and delivering pizza to a family. I noticed only because I had a same-model gold (no stripes or mags) Camaro. I thought it was odd that someone would be delivering pizza in a 70's Camaro but now I know why.
      • 5 Years Ago
      Man what a cool story! That's the kind of thing I'd do if I was a millionaire. I know where my first car is though. It's in a barn in New Jersey. After a year of pleading with the owner to sell it back to me, I gave up. Maybe some day. I hope when Papa finds his Camaro it is not in too rough of shape...
      • 5 Years Ago
      John is super rich, they say he is worth about $500 million.
      His house is super ridiculous with an awesome 2 story underground garage.
      If you go to homesoftherich.net and type in his name you can see the house.
      • 5 Years Ago
      I guess he wouldn't be able to do a VIN search without a court order. Right?
      • 5 Years Ago
      If the author of this piece is right, I was the only young man in 1984 that thought all Camaros, especialy the Z28 was the ugliest hunks of crap on the road. Go figure!
      • 5 Years Ago
      Good Luck, that's a great car.
      • 5 Years Ago
      DCragtop, I noticed that too! Good point!

      Isn't' there a site where you can put the VIN number in of the car you're looking for and possibly make a hit on where the car might be? A former co worker I knew had one of those "Lil Red Truck" trucks when he was 18, then he was able to locate it via the VIN number some 25 years later on some site and buy it back from the person who had it at that point.
      • 5 Years Ago
      I'm in a Pink Floyd mood today and "Shine on you Crazy Diamond" was playing just as I started reading this post. A bit fitting, eh?
      • 5 Years Ago
      I don't have 25 grand but I'm looking for my 1966 Buick LeSabre vin # 454696c111220. Carfax tells you that there are not numbers in the vin. Any ideas?
        • 5 Years Ago
        CARFAX can only handle the newer standardized 17-character VINs.
      • 5 Years Ago
      Why? Because he CAN, that's why. Ahhhhhhh the whims of the rich and eccentric. He could have 100 times the Camaro built for him whenever he wants, but it has to be THAT one. Meh, I'm no better. If I had his money, I'd buy one of every car I've ever owned just so I could look at them in the garage, starting with my first car, the '74 Plymouth Satellite bondo edition.
      • 5 Years Ago
      Good luck to him! I hope he doesn't find those short-shorts though. Leave those in '84!
      • 5 Years Ago
      Yawn...
    • Load More Comments