If you’re reading this, you’re probably a Corvette fan at some level. Look around your home or office and you’ll undoubtedly find some memorabilia related to America’s sports car; a book, a die cast model, perhaps some photos. But there are Corvette fans out there who operate on a whole different level, who devote their entire lives to collecting cars, parts, toys, and more. This week, former Corvette Online contributor Jackie Stockman came across the evidence of one such collection completely by chance, and we followed the trail through some surprising twists.
Stockman frequents local thrift stores and swap meets in search of cast iron cookware (an entirely different, but equally insane kind of collecting), and sent us photos of a huge stack of dozens of Corvette plastic model kits on the shelves at Bargain Hunters Thrift Store in Poway, California. Fans of the A&E reality show Storage Wars will recognize Bargain Hunters owner Rene Nezhoda as one of the stars – we reached out to him to get the story behind all those kits, and he gave us a little background on the Don Majestic collection.
“This was all from an auction in Yucaipa,” Nezhoda explains. “The gentleman collected all kinds of things Corvette-related. He had the actual cars from 1953, all the way down to like I think the last one he bought was in 2006 or 2007. And then, obviously, he had the model kits, he had the die-cast kits, he had books – I mean, I have 1,500 Corvette books [that I bought]. He had everything!”
Don Majestic spent his life accumulating cars, trucks, and especially Corvettes. Per Nezhoda, “He was an older man, who had a huge amount of commercial real estate in Yucaipa. He had no wife, no kids. What he would do is if Kay Bee Toys had a model kit that would sell for $12.99 or 19.99, and then they would put it on sale for $4.99, he would buy everything and just hoard it.”
“He passed away, and he donated everything to his church – the real estate, everything,” Nezhoda adds. “So they just kept going to all his houses and commercial property and literally found he had been hoarding everything you can imagine. I probably got close to 2,000 pieces – that’s what I’ve got, and I only bought a third to a half of the sale.”
Now, he’s selling books, kits, die-cast models, and more, both through the brick and mortar Bargain Hunters store and through eBay. “For some of them, I have the same kit like 20 times, and we still have more stuff – we have a lot of really old, rare kits which we put online – I think the highest we have sold so far is $400 for one kit,” Nezhoda claims.
Interested in any of the kits seen here? “They sell for 9.99, and if you buy 10 or more, you get 10% off. If you buy 20 or more, you get 20% off. The die cast start at 9.99 and the highest we have is $49.99. We have all kinds of Corvette books for $4.99,” says Nezhoda. If full-size Corvettes are your passion, there’s a chance to do some collecting there too. Nezhoda adds, “On April 23rd they are going to sell some of his actual Corvettes with American Auctioneers. Some of them are pretty rough, and some of them are in better condition – they have all kinds of stuff coming up.”