Famed Peter Max Corvette Collection Finally Leaves Car Storage

The very idea haunts most classic car lovers and collectors.  Thirty-six Corvettes, one from each year starting with the model’s rare 1953 debut through 1989, sitting in a warehouse doing nothing more than collecting dust.  This is no nightmare, however.  It’s a very real story of a famed car collection that is now finally seeing restoration and the light of day.

Pop Art Sensation Peter Max envisioned a large scale project that would juxtapose the quintessentially American iconography of the Corvette with the psychedelic imagery for which he was known.  A run of legal issues combined with various other art projects ultimately pushed the Corvettes to the back burner and into a garage.

Where they sat…and sat…and sat.  Few of the cars were covered while in storage.  Some where even parked with their windows open.  Combine that with decades of non-use and these cars which once would have been the class of any road they traveled look instead like the long-neglected relics they’ve become.

Over the years Max received offers of help in restoring and selling the cars, but he refused each time.  Car lovers around the world didn’t care who owned them at this point, they just wanted to see the cars (particularly the 1953, one of only 300 made) restored as close to their original glory as possible.

Then suddenly this summer, with no explanation or comment, he had a change of heart and sold the entire collection to Peter Heller, a friend of the owner of one of the garages where the cars had been parked.  All sides declined to disclose the final selling price for the collection.

Mr. Heller, along with his cousin and two nephews, intend to fully restore each of the 36 cars and put them up for auction sometime next year.

So it looks like these cars will get a happy ending and Corvette enthusiasts will be treated to at least glimpsing the collection as it should, but if you’re storing an automobile you clearly don’t want it sinking into anything close to this level of disrepair.  Here are a few basic tips for proper car storage:

  • Clean your car thoroughly before putting it in storage. Water stains, bird poo, mud and dirt are all things that can damage your paint over time.  Be sure to get the wheels and under the fenders too.  Adding a layer of wax before storing your car would provide another lay of help for the paint.
  • If you’re storing your car for more than a month, get the oil changed.  Used motor oil can damage an engine over time.
  • Top off the tank with gas.  This prevents condensation from building up inside the tank, which can cause rust.  Add a fuel stabilizer to keep the gas from gumming up in the engine.
  • Keep the battery charged.  If you’re storing your car long-term, you’ll want to have someone start the car and drive it a few minutes every two weeks. This keeps the battery charged and everything in the engine well lubricated.  If that’s not possible, attach a trickle charger to the battery to maintain its charge while in storage.
  • Don’t use the parking brake.  It might make sense to do so, but keeping the parking brake engaged over a long period of time can actually fuse the brake pads to the rotors.  Use tire blocks instead.
  • Speaking of the tires, make sure they’re fully inflated before putting your car in storage.
  • Maintain your insurance while the car is in storage.  You might save money short-term by canceling insurance on a car you’re not driving, but any gap in coverage could lead to more expensive premiums when you re-start your policy.  Additionally, while your storage facility will do all it can for your vehicle while it’s in storage, things can happen.  Don’t be left regretting a decision made to save a few dollars a month.

 The Peter Max Corvettes will finally be made available to public viewing (and even purchase if you’ve got deep enough pockets).  Follow these basic steps for your own car storage and you won’t be left with their restoration needs.