Dogged determination and persistence in the face of likely failure paid off for one man, who never stopped searching for his 1967 Austin Healey 3000 after it was stolen 42 years ago in Philadelphia. He kept searching the Internet and looking at similar cars to see if his was out there, despite the fact that it could’ve been broken up and sold for parts by whoever had taken it. And then, voila — a hit on eBay.
He calls his decades-long search for his British sports car “quite the knockdown-dragout,” reports the Dallas Morning News.
“The fact that the car still exists is improbable,” he said. “It could have been junked or wrecked.”
He found it listed for sale by a dealer in an online auction on eBay, where he would check now and then to see if someone was trying to unload it. He immediately called the dealer in Beverly Hills, and notified it of the possible theft.
The man said the car’s vehicle identification number matched his Healey’s VIN, and he also had the original key and car title, as well as signed affidavits from friends, including the original owner, indicating that he had never sold the car. But he didn’t have a copy of the stolen-car report he’d filed in 1970.
The dealer said it bought the car from a man who claimed it had been in his family since 1970, which could’ve been kind of true, as that’s when it was stolen. After weeks of haggling, the dealer offered to sell it back to him. Instead, he called law enforcement agencies in Philadelphia and L.A. for help.
The stolen-car report wasn’t showing up in the National Crime Information Center because one VIN letter was entered incorrectly. Philadelphia cops worked it out and finally found a copy of his report, which enabled the authorities in L.A. to impound the car.
The man and his wife drove out to L.A. for the sweet reunion, and took the car back after paying around $600 in impoundment fees, and shipped it back to Texas for $800.
He’s planning on restoring the car again, as the brakes don’t work well.
“It’s a bit of a relief,” he said. “Nothing’s ever linear — you’re up, you’re down, you’re being whipsawed back and forth, and suddenly it’s over.”
Southlake man recovers exotic car reported stolen nearly 42 years ago [Dallas Morning News]