Papa John’s Founder Reunites with Lost Camaro

Aug 26, 2009
In 1983, John Schnatter sold his gold-and-black 1971 Chevrolet Camaro to keep his family’s business afloat. Now, 26 years later, the pizza mogul has been reunited with his long-lost car.

Schnatter sold the Z28 Camaro for $2,800 to save his father’s tavern in Jeffersonville, Indiana.  He used what little was left over to start his own business, which would eventually become the internationally successful Papa John’s Pizza.  Years later, Schnatter found himself still missing his old car and began an arduous search for the missing auto.  He created a website dedicated to his search, made promotional appearances to promote the cause, and eventually offered a reward of $250,000 to whoever found the car.

The search finally paid off.  The original buyers of the car saw Schnatter on television during a pre-game interview for the NFL talking about his determination to recover the Camaro and tracked it down through the auto blog Jalopnik, which contacted Papa John’s about the situation.  The car had ended up 165 miles from Papa John’s headquarters in Louisville, Kentucky in the town of Flatwooods after changing hands only twice since the original sale.

The owner, Jeffrey Robinson, delivered the Camaro to Schnatter this week, earning the $250,000 bounty.  Schnatter is also giving $25,000 to the original buyers for their help in finding the car.

In honor of the find, Papa John’s is offering a free pizza this Wednesday to all Camaro owners. So if your fleet is made up of Camaros, treat your employees to lunch.

Photo courtesy of Zuiun under the Creative Commons License.