This Corvette Was Hidden Behind a Brick Wall in a Maine Grocery Store for 27 Years
Imagine purchasing a slick new Corvette. Imagine driving it around town and hitting up your usual spots, feeling the Maine summer breeze and fresh air.
Now imagine after only about five years of owning the car, you no longer want to drive it and would rather just seal it away inside a brick vault. And that brick vault will remain closed for nearly three decades.
Wait. What? Why would you do that?
Well, that's just part of the story that surrounds a Corvette and its owner Richard Sampson of Brunswick, Maine.
Only 3,640 Corvettes were produced in 1954, according to corvsport.com, and Sampson got his very own white one, complete with a red interior, that same year.
Sounds normal enough, but it was in 1959 that things took a real turn.
Sampson was apparently done with driving the car, but rather than just get rid of it, he came up with the wild idea to place it inside a brick vault, corvsport.com stated.
The businessman, who built a chain of 33 grocery stores, was building a new one in Brunswick at the site of 42 Bath Road and made the request to seal the car up inside the grocery store, according to the Bangor Daily News. That's the spot where China Rose currently resides.
To take things to the next level, Sampson also said in his will that the roadster would stay inside that brick-and-mortar vault until the year 2000, the National Corvette Museum stated in an article. That would have been 41 years preserved and untouched inside a grocery store.
At least there was a small viewport that one could take a glance at the white vehicle trapped inside, and you can see a recreation of that viewport here, but it would be no more open roads for the car.
Interestingly, Sampson changed his mind about the roadster time-capsule shortly before his death in 1969, according to the National Corvette Museum, and he removed his demands to keep the car in the vault until 2000.
But the car didn't come out in 1969. Instead, it would remain inside the vault for another 17 years when, in 1986, it was finally and carefully freed from its resting place after the purchase of the building by the auto dealer Frank Goodwin, according to the BDN.
Workers removed the bricks to reveal the car while Sampson's daughter, who would be taking the Corvette after, watched the process, the newspaper noted.
Mecum Auctions stated that "although the moisture in its enclosure had caused the car’s Polo White paint to yellow and blister over time, the tires still held air and the chrome, top and interior were still in remarkably good condition."
Not bad for sitting in one spot for that many years: 27 to be exact.
Sampson's daughter held onto the car in Florida for about 10 years, leaving it inside the living room, according to the National Corvette Museum. (Looks like this family really just wanted to keep the car inside!)
The Corvette would move around a little bit after that, including landing in an auction in 2014 and 2016 as well, before finally settling at its current spot: inside the National Corvette Museum in Bowling Green, Kentucky.
The museum found a perfect spot to preserve this famous car, nicknamed the "Entombed" Corvette, and you can even check out a video of the exhibit.
No one knows just exactly why Sampson decided to go with the unique idea to "entomb" his car, but it's certainly a fascinating piece of car and Maine history.
Here's a newspaper clipping of the car being removed from its brick vault:
You can check out some photos of the Corvette included with the Mecum Auction listing for the vehicle in 2014 here or below.
Makes you wish you could drive it.
Is there any item you own (car, perhaps?) that you would put in a brick vault inside for nearly 30 years?