Steve Clinkinbeard is known for two things: having a great name and owning 15 red C4-generation Chevrolet Corvettes. All 15 cars are now up for auction at the Mecum auction in Kansas City and, while all 15 cars are being sold as individual lots, Clinkenbeard is hoping that someone buys them all. He wants someone else to become the next "guy with 15 Corvettes," he told Fox News Digital.
Clinkinbeard's C4 Corvette addiction began in 1985, when he bought his first red Corvette, his dream car, while he was an accountant in Topeka, Kansas. He kept the Corvette until 1992, when he had to sell it after moving to the countryside where paved roads were few and far between. Clinkenbeard needed to trade in the 'Vette for a truck. However, a burning desire to get the Corvette back stayed lit for 20 years, when Clinkenbeard finally reunited with his dream sports car in 2012, another red C4 Corvette.
Since he was able to get the Corvette for surprisingly cheap, he had an interesting idea: what if he bought one from each year the C4 was on sale. Considering C4 Corvette production ran from 1984 to 1996, that meant he needed to buy 15 of them. His only two requirements were that they needed to be red and low mileage.
Five of the C4 Corvettes are even ZR1 models, which ran from 1990-1995. The C4 Corvette ZR1 is special among all Corvettes throughout history, as it's one of the only Corvettes to use a special engine and not just a typical Chevy LS variant. Instead, it used a Lotus-designed V8 that was built by Mercury Marine. It wouldn't be until the 2023 Corvette Z06 that Chevy stuffed a unique engine into a Corvette again. Which might be why the '94 and '95 ZR1s are Clinkinbeard's favorite among his collection.
All 15 cars are currently up for auction with no reserve. Most of the early models, from 1985 to 1989, are the same spec: red with red interior and automatic transmissions. However, as they go on through the years, there are some different interior colors and even manual transmission options. So there's a bit more choice than just a bunch of identical red C4 Corvettes.
Why is Clinkinbeard selling them now? At 75 years old, he just doesn't feel like maintaining them anymore and he'd rather not leave the headache of figuring out what to do with them to his wife, in case he dies. So he's selling them now and hopefully they go to collectors who will care for them as well as he did. However, he is keeping a 16th red C4. It's a 1986 model that needs a little TLC. He has it stashed away, separate from his 15-car collection, and plans on restoring it. So even though his collection will be gone, he'll continue to hold onto his dream sports car, the car that sparked his passion nearly 40 years ago.