Remember that recently-discovered Briggs Cunningham Corvette? The last of three to be found that raced at the 1960 24 Hours of Le Mans? Well, as is customary in matters such as these, a tense legal battle has broiled, with many players to follow, so lets just get into it...
Here's how the story goes: After more than 50 years in hiding, the rare Le Mans racer surfaced in the garage of Pamela Carr, widow of Florida Judge Richard Carr. Richard's son, Rick, had known of the car for years, but only recently checked the VIN, which led him to reach out to Cunningham historian Larry Berman. Through Berman, the Carr family was put in touch with Lance Miller. Lance is the son of the late Chip Miller, founder of Carlisle Events, and Corvette's at Carlisle.
Chip Miller, along with Corvette restorer Kevin Mackay, had gone to great lengths to find the Cunningham Corvetteshaving hired a private investigator in the 1990s to locate the cars. Mackay found and restored Corvette No. 3, which was given to Miller. Their efforts were chronicled in the 2000 documentary The Quest. It was Miller's dying wish that if the last Cunningham 'Vette were ever found (No. 2 is owned by noted collector Bruce Meyer), it would end up in Mackay's hands. If found, the car could be worth over $1 million.
On July 23 of this year, Chip's son Lance purchased the No. 1 car from the Carr family for just $75,000 and three days later, sold it to Mackay. Though it a appeared that the journey had come to an end, trouble had just begun for Mackay.
For the rest of the story, scroll down.
While the Corvette had been in the hands of the late Carr for years, the title was claimed by another man. Jerry Moore says that the Cunningham was titled to him in 1974, and he owned the car during the 70's. Moore then issued the title to one Dan Mathis Jr. of Tampa, FL, who claims the car was stolen from his father in the late 70's. No police report was ever found.
With the car set to be shown at the Corvette's at Carlisle event in late August, Mathis arrived in Carlisle and sought to have the car seized with police assistance. The car was shown at a private event on August 23, then the car was pulled from the show. Mathis, with title in hand and police in tow, arrived at the show to seize the car, but it was nowhere to be found and its whereabouts are currently unknown.
Mathis claims the Carlisle police department has hidden the car, and on September 7, the Floridian brought a lawsuit against the Borough of Carlisle, Mackay, Lance Miller, Miller's mother, Miller's business partners, and Carlisle Events. Before Mathis filed, Mackay and Miller brought a suit against Mathis, Moore, as well as collector Domenico Idoni, who is said to have formed a partnership with Mathis.
With both parties filing against each other, the legal battle has moved to the U.S. District Court in Pennsylvania, and the first hearing is set for September 26. Who will be awarded the Corvette? Only time will tell, but when a decision is reached, we will be sure to report on it.