Man Gets Seized 1959 Corvette Back From KHP

Aug 29, 2022 2 min read
Man Gets Seized 1959 Corvette Back From KHP

A VIN issue almost caused this classic Corvette to be sent to the crusher.

Rich Martinez had a dream of owning Corvette, that quickly turned into a nightmare, and now it seems that the whole situation might come to an end. Years after it was reported about the Corvette potentially heading to the crusher, Martinez is finally going to get his dream Corvette back. The Kansas Highway Patrol has to give the Corvette back, after declaring it to be “contraband” after an inspection.

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Martinez dreamed of a owning a red and white 1959 Corvette convertible, a car he first saw when he was a teenager. After working his whole life to get one once he retired, he found the perfect Corvette at a dealership in metro Chicago area. After buying the Corvette, he loaded it up on a car trailer, and then things went totally off the rails.

When Martinez tried to register the car in Kansas, there was an issue with how the VIN plate was place. The car had been restored prior, and when they put the plate back on, they used modern rivets, and not period correct rivets, to re-install the original VIN plate.

Kansas state is one of few that doesn’t allow the VIN plate to be removed during restoration. Highway Patrol considered the car to be contraband, and impounded it in 2017.

Earlier this year, the state legislators voted on a bill to drop the VIN inspection requirement for registration, and it passed. Going into effect in June, Martinez went back to court in July. At the end of the ordeal, the court ended up ordering the Corvette’s return.

Unfortunately, it’s not all sunshine since the car is said to have been damaged in impound, with an estimated total damages of $38K. Martinez has also spent over $30K in legal fees. There’s a $20K statute that may allow Martinez to recoup some of the damages, but he’s still got a long way to go with the Corvette.

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