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36 classic Corvettes were discovered in a New York garage – ShutterBulky
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36 Corvettes found in underground building

36 classic Corvettes were discovered in a New York garage

1989 VH1 Corvette Giveaway

by Peter Barnes

Classic Corvettes collection

A rare collection of 36 classic Corvettes was found in a New York City basement garage. These classic Corvettes were won in a 1989 VH1 Corvette giveaway, a contest put on by the music channel VH1.

The winner was Dennis Amodeo, a carpenter from Long Island, and reportedly he sold his entire collection to German graphic artist Peter Max. Max wanted to use the Vettes in his bright pop art pieces.

Classic Corvettes collection
Classic Corvettes collection

VH1 Classic Corvettes Giveaway 1989 | Dennis Amodeo featured in this video

Reason for the 1989 VH1 Corvette giveaway

VH1 had ratings issues in the late 1980s. The music video network spent a fortune on 36 Corvettes as a promotional ploy. The following year, the automobiles were given away in a contest, and one lucky winner ended up with the whole collection.

Over 900 numbers were set up by VH1 and cost $2 per call. When potential participants dialed the number to register, AT&T donated $1.49 from each call to the network.

VH1 got its money back in less than two weeks because of the 190,000 calls it received on the first day and the 1.3 million people who enrolled overall. Amazingly, Long Island carpenter Dennis Amadeo, who only competed once, won the competition.

He took a plane to California, where ex-Beach Boy Mike Love presented him with the five-pound bag of keys during a ceremony in Culver City.

36 classic Corvettes found in underground building

According to a period article in Vette magazine, the 36 cars that he bought were “drivers,” not “Bloomington cars.”  14 of them  were convertibles, and 25 of the 36 contained automatic transmissions. The cars were transported from commercial shoot to commercial shoot, kept them fastidiously clean, and generally went to town with the whole mess.

It’s obvious that Max never got around to it, and the Vettes were left to fall into disrepair in the garage for more than 25 years. Each and every Corvette model produced between 1953 and 1989 is represented here.

Classic Corvettes collection found in underground building

In exchange for the exotic collection, Amodeo eventually received $250,000 in cash. In addition to that, he was able to walk away with artwork from Max’s collection that was worth a total of $250,000, and an agreement said that Amodeo would be entitled to up to $1 million in the event that Max ever wanted to sell the collection. Max eventually sold Adam Heller and other members of his family the vintage collection.

In the end, Adam Heller and several members of his family purchased the vintage collection from Max.

A 1953 Corvette, one of only 300 ever produced, is the most valuable vehicle in the collection.

36 Classic Corvettes found in underground building
1953 Chevrolet Corvette

According to experts, the thick dust that formed on the Vettes protected the paintwork. Some of the cars were predicted to only require two weeks of restoration work, while others might need more than a year!

36 Classic Corvettes found in underground building – Video

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Robert Cary December 6, 2022 - 6:20 pm

The white car in the picture is NOT a 1953.

Tim J Jones December 18, 2022 - 5:56 pm

You are correct, the foreground is a 1959, while the car behind it is a 1953.


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