Man’s Prized Corvettes, Toys Lost In Garage Fire

It’s likely you’ve read in the past about some poor soul whose cars went up in flames and he didn’t have insurance coverage. But what if he had insurance? Would the pain be any less great?

When you’ve owned a car for 44 years, no amount of insurance can cover the loss or pain. Here’s the story of John Hibbeler as told by the State Journal-Register.

John Hibbeler and his three Vettes before the tragedy. Image: sj-r.com

Like a lot of Baby Boomers, John was single guy in 1968 who felt a 1966 Corvette fit the bill. When times were tough, he held onto it, but those were still good times because he had his Corvette. Over the years he acquired two other Vettes, a 1978 with 45,000 miles and a 1991 ZR-1. All three are now gone due to a brush fire that spread to John’s property in Staunton, Illinois.

Chemicals and gas in his shop helped move the fire swiftly through three buildings. The Telegraph reports that the fire crew arrived at 11:28 p.m. and quickly brought things under control, but the damage had been done; they stayed at the scene until 3:30 a.m. but were called back two hours later when the fire rekindled. In addition to the fiberglass Chevys, John also lost a Model A street rod, a 1991 Indy pace car pickup, a Harley Davidson, several Waverunners, trailers, automotive memorabilia… and a ton of memories.

The aftermath. Images: TheTelegraph.com

“I don’t know what the insurance company is going to pay, but it’s priceless,” Hibbeler said. And he still can be thankful that he still has his health and his house.

About the author

Diego Rosenberg

Diego is an automotive historian with experience working in Detroit as well as the classic car hobby. He is a published automotive writer in print and online and has a network of like-minded aficionados to depend on for information that's not in the public domain.
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