Original 1960 24 Hours of Le Mans Corvette In Center Of Legal Dispute
A legal feud is brewing over a very special 1960 Corvette. It was one of three Corvettes that participated in the 1960 24 Hours of Le Mans – where Corvette earned its first victory at the French endurance race. Today, the car belongs to Harbor Buick GMC, a dealership in Portage, Indiana, and is the shared custody of the dealership’s owners – Gio Burelli and Kevin Mackay.
In a story that was originally reported by Bob Kasarda with NWI.com (The Northwest Indiana Times), we’ve learned that the car, which is insured for $2.5 million dollars, is essentially in the middle of a “custody battle” between the two owners. Burelli, who is believed to be in possession of the car at this time, has 70% ownership of the car, with the other 30% belonging to Mackay . An emergency court hearing is scheduled for Tuesday, December 11, 2018 before Porter Superior Court Judge Jeffrey Clymer, who is seeking to take possession of the vehicle from Burelli.
Per Ryan Schoffelmeer, legal counsel for Mackay, the emergency court hearing was scheduled because “creditors (are) now swarming around Burelli and the car because of the dealership’s closing, and as a result of debt of up to $500,00 owed by a former owner of the car who sold his share to Burelli.”
Schoffelmeer claims that the car had been in storage at the now-closed Portage dealership and that its current whereabouts are unknown to Mackay.
“This car is a part of Americana,” said Schoffelmeer, “We’re trying to protect the car.”
In addition to monies owed for the 1960 Corvette, Schoffelmeer alledges that there are further claims totaling more than $28 million against Burelli. There is also concern about the status of the insurance policy of the car (the aforementioned $2.5 million), given that the car was being stored at the Portage dealership, which is no longer in business (according to the court motion.)
“Mackay does not know where the vehicle is located, if it is being kept in a safe location, or if it is still insured,” according to the motion. “The vehicle may well be outside of the state of Indiana.”
The car is under court order to be sold by Burelli by March 31. Schoffelmeer stated that his client is “OK with a sale, but wants to make sure it is carried out correctly to maintain the vehicle’s value.”
“The most certain way to secure the safety of the Corvette is to remove it from the possession of Burelli,” according to the motion.
Corvsport.com previously published an article documenting the fascinating history of the three Corvettes than ran in the 1960 24 Hours of Le Mans. This car, along with the other two, represent Chevrolet’s first real venture into the world racing circuit. These cars proved that GM had the “stuff” needed to perform in league with Ferrari and Porsche(among others.) While Corvettes are synonymous with world-class racing today, these early pioneers of the sport demonstrated that American automotive manufacturers were capable of engineering a race car with the power and durability to run a 24 hour race – and win it – a feat which had not been accomplished by an American manufacturer prior to this race.