Purple People Eater


Words by: JPS for duncan quinn

One of the most eye-catching classic custom Corvettes ever created is set to cross the auction block

in Arizona next month when Barrett-Jackson stages its annual Scottsdale sale. Dubbed the Purple People Eater thanks to its unique paint scheme, the fully restored 1959 racer boasts an impressive racing pedigree and could bring in a cool million bucks. Original owner Nickey Chevrolet of Chicago wanted to make his cars stand out from the crowd at the Sports Car Club of America (SCCA) B-production events where they were entered into competition, and so had three of them redone in eye-popping metallic purple and white livery.


Whether it had any effect or not, the snazzy convertibles won every single race but one in their first SCCA season, easily securing the trophy. No doubt that had more to do with the skill of the driver and the car’s zippy 283 cubic-inch V8 engine delivering 290 hp. The example on offer in Arizona is the last of the three Nickey Chevrolet ‘Vettes from ’59, the second consecutive B-Production championship season for Nickey and its driver/mechanic combo of Jim Jeffords and Ronnie Kaplan. A true piece of American motoring history, and a tribute to what a determined sports car owner can do with a can of paint and a little inspiration from a novelty song. Now let’s see what you chaps can come up with…


Words by JPS for duncan quinn