Seized 1959 Chevy Corvette Might Be Saved From Crusher by New Kansas Bill

Its owner has been in a five-year battle to prevent it from being destroyed.

A Kansas man’s prized 1959 Chevy Corvette has been threatened with the crusher for the past five years, and it all circles back to an issue with its VIN plate. Richard Martinez, the car’s owner, bought the restored machine in 2017; however, an inspection by state police found the car’s VIN plate had been tampered with. Indeed, it was removed during the restoration process. Ramirez says the convertible isn’t stolen, though, and nothing was removed with nefarious intent.

Authorities have declared Martinez innocent in the situation, but his car remains impounded. And until recently, it was likely destined for the crusher. Fortunately now, as Corvette Blogger reports, a proposed alteration to Kansas law might just save it.

Currently, state legislation says any vehicle with a “destroyed, removed, altered, or defaced” VIN plate must be crushed. The glaring issue with that rule is that it might be necessary to remove a VIN plate if a vehicle is restored. The new bill in the Kansas House of Representatives, HB 2594, would make it so any vehicle more than 35 years old would not be subject to the same restrictions. 

Now, not everybody is on board with it, including the head of the Kansas Highway Patrol, Col. Herman Jones. He says there’s already a rule on the books that says it’s fine to remove a VIN plate from a vehicle during the restoration process as long as an officer is present to document the event. He says HB 2594 should be amended to make this mandatory in an effort to cut down on fraud and hold car thieves accountable.

There’s no clear indication of whether this bill will pass right now, but the public is undoubtedly on Martinez’s side. There’s been social media outrage since the story was reported on by local news, and the Corvette owner has been waiting on action from the Johnson County District Court for half a decade. A “conference proceeding” is set to take place next week concerning the case and Martinez hopes to have more answers by the time it’s over.

In any case, let’s hope Martinez finally gets his C1 Corvette back. As the head of the Kansas Justice Institute Sam MacRoberts says, Martinez’s property was taken without due process, which is unconstitutional. The law, MacRoberts implies, is on the Corvette owner’s side.

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