Don’t ever give up hope if your Corvette is stolen.
That’s just one lesson to be learned from a 1964 Sting Ray that was swiped from its owner more than 40 years ago, only to be rediscovered in October some 500-plus miles away thanks to an eagle-eyed observer at a car show.
The story starts in September 1976 when the Corvette was stolen from a woman in Anaheim, California.
Fast forward to 2016 when the same car appeared at a car show in Red Bluff, California, where someone pointed out to the current owner that the vehicle identification number on the Corvette was actually for a different model of Chevrolet and suggested he check it out with the California Highway Patrol.
The man followed through with that advice and learned that the VIN was for a 1964 Chevrolet Impala. Fortunately, other ID marks on the car had not been changed, and California Highway Patrol Officer Dave Madrigal was able to determine that the Corvette had been reported stolen 40 years earlier.
“The number returned to a 1964 Chevy Corvette that was an unrecovered stolen vehicle out of Anaheim Police Department in September of 1976,” Madrigal said. “I contacted Anaheim and advised them of the situation. They researched their microfiche for the stolen report and called me back. They then located the victim from 1976, who is currently living in Arizona and told her we had her car.”
Modesto Fleming was the lucky owner.
We feel mixed emotions – very happy for Modesto, who reclaimed her car on Nov. 4 after traveling to California, but sad for the man who had innocently received the Corvette nearly 30 years ago as a gift from his wife who had bought the car from a now out-of-business dealer in Redding, California.
The story serves as a warning for anyone who’s buying a classic Corvette. You need to make sure you’re buying what you think you’re buying because we assume the man who had owned the Corvette since 1987, apparently unaware it was a hot car until just recently, lost his investment. While his wife no doubt paid much less for the Corvette, it is likely worth upwards of $50,000 now – not a small sum to lose unexpectedly.
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