BRUNSWICK, Maine — A 1954 Chevrolet Corvette Roadster once entombed inside a Brunswick building can still be yours.
The pristine hot rod with fewer than 2,500 miles failed to sell at auction Saturday in Florida.
Richard Sampson, a businessman who built a chain of 33 grocery stores, purchased the car new in 1954 and drove it until 1959 when he had workers enclose the car in a vault in a former grocery store under construction at 42 Bath Road. The site is now home to the China Rose restaurant.
The car was removed in 1986 and spent the next 10 years in the living room of Sampson’s daughter, Cynthia, who sold it in 1996 to a dealer in Ohio that then sold the car.
Twenty-seven years bricked inside the door-less room left the car’s paint yellowed and blistered, but it remained in original condition, unrestored, when it went to auction Saturday. The Corvette has an automatic transmission, red interior and a “Blue Flame” 6-cylinder engine with less than 2,500 miles on it.
The car was expected to draw an estimated $175,000 to $225,000, according to Mecum Auctions. The high bid was $100,000.
Meghan Gaines, the presentation coordinator for Mecum Auctions, said the auction was a reserve auction, meaning sellers can set an amount they want for the car, called a “reserve.”
If that amount is not met on the block, the seller can choose keep the car and take it back home. And if the bid comes close to the set reserve, the seller can decide to drop the reserve and sell the vehicle though it hasn’t brought the amount of money the seller wanted.
If the Corvette were placed into the auction with no reserve, it would have sold to the highest bid. According to Gaines, the “Entombed Corvette” did have a reserve amount set that was not met on the auction block Saturday.
Deal still possible
“But keep an eye out because our ‘Bid Goes On’ program still works deals on vehicles after they have crossed the block,” Gaines wrote. “They could still put together a deal on this incredible vehicle.”
Gaines said the identity of the current owner is confidential.