• Aug 25, 2009
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]


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    • 1 Second Ago
  • 39 Comments
      ka3ty
      • 3 Years Ago
      Is this even true? offer free pizza to camero owners. Poor gas mileage, can only take one other full size person with them, geesh I am feeling bad already. Whats worse is doing a public search for an old car and paying such a foolish price. Now that I know what Papa Johns does with their profits, I will be getting my pizza else where. I've eaten a lot of pizza in my day and the worlds greatest pizza would have to go to Jim's Variety of Athens Maine. ....Karl from Florida
      • 5 Years Ago
      Thats really great that he found his ride again. Personally I dont ever plan to sell my first car cuz I know I could never live without it
      • 5 Years Ago
      Very moving story. :)
        • 5 Years Ago
        I see what you did there...
      • 5 Years Ago
      This is called too much money, retarded, and can't use the internet. There are plenty of sites that you can pay $20 and do a VIN search to see who vehicle is registered to. He could have gone up and offered the guy like $20K and he would have jumped on the deal. Instead, paid $250K for a $2K junk.

      Can't wait till Papa Johns goes under because that's where this guy will lead it. Build it up from scratch and then tumble it.
      • 5 Years Ago
      So now Camaro clubs have a place to go to free food?

      Hu Za!
      • 5 Years Ago
      Great story!

      ... but I'm surprised that it was so difficult to find the car. Couldn't you just do a VIN # search. Even if there isn't a national database, it wouldn't take long to query each state database to find out if the car had been registered.

      If the car wasn't registered then it would be a whole other issue.
      • 5 Years Ago
      What a guy . A true car crazy enthusiast . Welcome to the brotherhood John !
      • 5 Years Ago
      The national media exposure he is sure to get from this stunt will be worth more then $250k. Unless Michael Jackson dies again today, every local news channel will run something about this, they did the same thing a few years ago when papa johns made fun of the Cleveland Cavaliers. He sold $0.23 cent pizzas all day (LaBron's number). Plus he probably got his company to buy the car as a promotion expense and will buy it from them for real later for next to nothing.
      • 5 Years Ago
      it's the "Pizza for Clunkers" program!
      Marcus Poncho Conkli
      WHEN I WAS 19 I OWNED A 1973 Z-28 THE CAR WENT AROUND THE TOWN TO SEVERAL OTHER PEOPLE WHO DESTROYED IT.I KNOW WHERE THE FRAME AND PART OF THE BODY IS NOT A REAL LOT OF IT LEFT.I CAN IDENTIFY WITH PAPA JOHNS' STORY.
      • 5 Years Ago
      Because of this guy's love for cars, now, whenever I can help it, I'll buy Papa John's instead of Dominos or pizza hut.......

      PS: Jalopnik is the tits!!!!
      • 5 Years Ago
      His house and his garage are sick.
      The car will have a very nice home.

      You can find it on homesoftherich.net
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