This week John Schnatter (also known as “Papa John”, the founder of the Papa John’s Pizza Chain) was reunited with the 1971 Camaro Z/28 he sold in1983 to start his business. He had sold the car in 1983 for $2800 and just purchased it back….for $250,000!
It’s an inspirational and heartwarming story really. John sold the car he loved to help finance a dream. With hard work and determination he was successful with Papa John’s beyond his wildest dreams….but could never forget that Camaro. He missed it, and he wanted to bring things full circle – to make things right, and get that car back home where it belonged. To pull it off he commissioned a great hunt to find the car called ‘Papa’s Road Trip.’ Long story short, the car ended up being only 165 miles away, and the previous owner is now $250,000 richer!
It brings up an interesting point. Papa John had the resources to get a different Camaro just like the one he had before. He could have just rebuilt a different ’71 from the ground up and been done with it (he actually did have a replica created for the purposes of his Road Trip). Heck, he could have purchased a ’69 COPO Camaro and been done with it…..but he didn’t. Because that wasn’t the point. He didn’t want a Camaro again. He wanted his Camaro again.
Who among us hasn’t had a similar situation? I can’t even count the number of times people have told me “If only I hadn’t sold my….” – and you know the rest. There is a reason we clamor for the type of muscle cars that are listed all over The MuscleCar Place. They don’t just represent the best American muscle from the 1960’s and 70’s – they represent us. They represent a time in our life that was significant – or represent someone that was significant. They may even represent an achievement that we never were able to fulfill – until now. They’re rolling time machines – and they’re all pals.
I for one am very glad that Papa John got his Camaro back – the car is home. I wish all of you the same success. If there is a car out there that you lost, go get it. If there’s a car you always wished you could have….and now finally have the means for, go get it! You’ll never know if it’s just a 165 away and waiting for you until you try!