After sitting in impound for years, Rich Martinez might get his Corvette back.
A Kansas bill recently passed the State House and State Senate that could save a 1959 Chevy Corvette that was confiscated by state highway patrol over a VIN discrepancy. The bill would change the law to exempt at cars at least 35 years old from a law that requires vehicles or trailers with alternated VINs to be destroyed.
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“I don’t blame the Kansas Highway Patrol for what they’re doing in this case,” said Representative Leo Delperdang. “They’re doing their job. I blame the rule-makers. That’s us in this room. We have the ability to do something for the better moving forward.” “Innocence matters,” added Sam MacRoberts, litigation director of the Kansas Justice Institute. “The government should not get to destroy Mr. Martinez’s car for a wrong he did not commit. That is unconstitutional.”
Rich Martinez spent decades searching for the perfect example of the 1959 Corvette and found just the right car at a dealership in the suburbs of Chicago. After driving all night to get it, he loaded it up and took it home with him. He had big plans for the car, but then things went completely off the rails.
When he went to register the car in Kansas, there was an issue with the VIN, but not the VIN callouts, but the plate and how the VIN plate was placed.
“What happened is they took it off to restore it, said Martinez. “When they put it back on, they used modern bit rivets instead of old. You can buy the old rivets to put them back on but they didn't. They just used modern rivets and put it back on.”
While most states allow for the VIN plate to be removed and reattached during restoration, Kansas is not one of those states. So, despite having the proper paperwork, and the car being registered in another state, the state of Kansas now considers the car to be contraband, and impounded it.
As of today, the bill has been presented to the governor.