Art cars. Love ’em or hate ’em, and for better or worse, they almost always create a big buzz wherever they go.
Usually, there’s a theme, like a thousand army men or doll heads glued to the car. Beatle John Lennon and songstress Janis Joplin were pioneers in the art-car phenomena, both using high-end cars as a psychedelic palette for drug-induced visions.
Which brings us to this C2 ‘Vette. Built in 1984, the “Penny” Corvette is relatively well-known among plastic-Chevy sports car fans, and it recently went up for sale and sold on eBay for $29,000 with no reserve.
According to the seller, “This car was built for charity and was featured at the Hartford Armory in February 1984, as a fundraiser for the March of Dimes, ironically not the March of Pennies. I can tell you that I had it at a show one time and the number of people that were all over this car was truly amazing! I can only imagine how much it made for the charity, but it must have been a lot.
“The car has a 283ci V8 in it that runs well, but is lightly pushing a little oil — from sitting I am sure. So it smokes from the tailpipe. It drives well with its Powerglide transmission. The interior is in nice shape but has a seam split on one seat. There are 25,000 pennies and other coins on the car’s body, frame, and floors. The car comes with the two magazines (in mint condition) and the two billboards made by the owner (one is pictured, the other is framed). The signatures on the hardtop, which are pictured, are unknown to me.”
While it has a cool backstory, the question is, does the art-car/penny thing add or detract from value? Essentially, this C2 is a 1965 ‘Vette with a tired non-original engine, two-speed automatic, and a worn interior. It’s not the rarest or most-desirable ‘Vette ever produced, but a beautiful mid-year, nonetheless. At just south of $30,000, this thing was probably a bargain.
Although Corvettes and hippies are mutually exclusive entities, the 2019 Burning Man festival is in full swing in Nevada, and I can’t help but picture this thing covered in dust rolling on the playa — with all the other art cars — in the middle of the Black Rock desert.
The real question here is, how much weight do 25,000 pennies add to this little C2 roadster? After an internet search, I found a figure of 145 pennies per pound. Do the math.
May the new owner have the best of luck with this shiny “Penny” Corvette.