The Iconic 'Purple People Eater' Corvette Is Coming Up For Auction

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How much will this race-winning Vette get?

Bidders with a lean seven figures to spend will be keen to check out this purple Corvette that once upon a time participated in SCCA (Sports Car Club of America) races and won quite a bit in the 1959 season. Fitted with a 283 cubic-inch V8 producing 290 horsepower and with Jim Jeffords at the wheel, the "Purple People Eater Corvette" (patent pending) won all but the final race in the B-season of the SCCA championship in 1959. It featured mechanical fuel injection which didn't become popular until the 1980s. True racing innovation.

Courtesy of Barrett-Jackson

It completed its racing career in an anticlimactic fashion in 1961 and resurfaced at the first Carlisle swap meet event in 1974, where Chip Miller and Ken Heckert split the $800 asking price and, not knowing its history, reportedly used it as a lunch table in an auto shop for almost 14 years. Since then it has been noticed, and now it will be seen once again next year at the Barrett-Jackson Auction in Scottsdale, Arizona, from January 23-31. Originally when it entered the racing scene in 1959 the Purple People Eater was silver; its color was changed because the owner wanted it to stand out and be noticeable among the other race cars. Clearly the success of that decision has paid off in more ways or one.

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