Papa John Finds Long Lost Camaro, Buys for $275,000, Gives Away ‘za

By Matt Van Hoven 

It’s 1983 and John Schnatter is faced with a decision about his future: sell his beloved 1971½ Chevy Camaro Z28 or let his father’s business go into bankruptcy and not buy the equipment he needed to start his own restaurant.

Schnatter, who you know better as “Papa John” is the owner of Papa John’s. They make pizza. Recently, car buffs everywhere were sort of intrigued to learn that Schnatter owned the car to begin with &#151 especially given that it was the linchpin to his current success.

Anyway he sold the car and years later made some attempts to find it, which failed. Then last year he had a replica built and even fitted it with a delivery light on top. How cheesy (pun intended). But it wasn’t enough, Schnatter wanted his ride back, so he offered $25,000 to the owner (assuming he/she would come forward). Then Jalopnik, a blog dedicated to nifty auto stories, posted the news and soon after a commenter was identified as the person Schnatter sold the car to in 83. And then Schnatter upped the reward to $250,000.

The person had sold the car but agreed to connect the current owner and Schnatter (for a small finder’s fee, $25,000). In the end, Papa John got his wheels back, and in great condition (see top image). He was so happy that the pizza shop has decided to give away a free pizza to Camaro owners on August 26th. I’m not going to touch that giveaway.

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