John Schnatter, the Papa in Papa John's Pizza, has been looking for his 1971 1/2 Chevrolet Camaro Z28 for nearly 20 years. He sold it in 1983 for $2,800 and used part of that to rescue his father's business and the rest to begin the pizza chain that has gone global. He has spent more than 100 times that much trying to get it back.
Starting off with a FBI agent, then a web appeal and a $25,000 reward, he got nowhere. The reward swelled to $250,000, and then he got on television and talked about trying to get the car back. Some Indiana readers heard about it, and a web engine search led them to Schnatter's story on Jalopnik. Those readers, the Sloanes, thought they knew the owner of the car in question, because they had owned it and recently sold it.
The new owner -- only the third one, after Schnatter -- was a Kentucky man named Jeff Robinson of Flatwoods, Kentucky. He had transformed the original Z28 into an 825 horsepower dragster doing 9.55 quarter-miles at 141 mph. Still, he was unsurprisingly content to sell his car back to Schnatter for the $250,000 reward. The Sloanes also got $25,000 for the assist.
And now their gain may be your gain – if you're one of the Camaro faithful. Papa John is so happy to have his car back that he's giving away free pizza to all Camaro owners tomorrow, Wednesday, August 26. One pizza per Camaro, one visit per Camaro. Although we suppose if you can get that transforming Bumblebee Camaro suit from the Mexican Chevy dealer, you might earn a couple more pies. Thanks to everyone for the tips!
[Sources: Jalopnik; The Associated Press via Google]