The National Insurance Crime Bureau has taken a closer look at just how often 1957 Chevrolet vehicles have been stolen since the car first rolled off the assembly line some 56 years ago. As you may recollect, someone pilfered TV personality Phil McGraw's example from a repair shop in Burbank, CA. As one of 42 '57 Chevy thefts in 2012, the $100,000 two-door wasn't alone. All told, California accounts for the bulk of the classic model's thefts at 6,700 between 1958 and last year, followed by Texas at 2,171 and New York at 1,286.

The car was particularly popular in 1972, when 3,071 examples were stolen from their owners nationwide. Thieves targeted the cars heavily for a five-year run between 1969 and 1974. There is some good news for McGraw, however. Police busted an auto theft ring in the LA area in December, and his '57 was among those found at the location. Check out the full press release below for more information.
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Hot Wheels Classics: Thefts of 1957 Chevrolets

Stylish Icon Remains a Collector's Dream Car

DES PLAINES, Ill., April 10, 2013 – The '57 Chevy is instantly recognized by auto enthusiasts the world over and equally cherished by discriminating auto thieves as well. Last August, none other than television therapist Dr. Phil McGraw had to be consoled after learning that his '57 Chevy, valued at $100,000 was stolen from a repair shop in Burbank, Calif. It was one of 42 thefts of '57 Chevys reported to law enforcement in 2012.

Long the national leader in overall vehicle thefts, it was not surprising that Dr. Phil's '57 Chevy was among California's theft statistics in 2012. Indeed, California posted the most '57 Chevy thefts (1958-2012) with 6,700. It was followed by Texas (2,171), New York (1,286), Washington (909), and Missouri (705).

The most '57 Chevy thefts occurred during calendar year 1972 when 3,071 were stolen. Then, in descending order, it was 1973 (2,682), 1974 (2,098), 1969 (1,648), and 1970 (1,478).

NICB reviewed '57 Chevy theft data contained in the National Crime Information Center (NCIC) vehicle theft file from 1958-2012 and identified 23,250 theft records. As always, readers should note that inconsistency and inaccuracy with vehicle theft reporting may impact the accuracy and reliability of this data.

As soon as the '57 Chevy rolled off General Motors' assembly lines it was destined to be a classic. With its chrome-topped tail fins and twin chrome hood rockets, it was as forward thinking as it was striking in appearance. In "A Century of Chevrolet" published in October, 2011 by Automotive News, John Kraman, director of consignments for Mecum Auctions in Marengo, Ill. said, "These cars are so sought after and iconic because of the legacy buyers who put these cars on a pedestal. It's about the aura, the image and reputation, which have been somewhat romanticized by shows and books. It's the romantic notion that the past is better than the present."

Romantic notions aside, in 1957 Dr. Phil's Bel Air would have cost between $2,238 and $2,757, yet it is valued today at $100,000-not a bad bit of appreciation; and for a thief-all profit.

There is a happy ending to Dr. Phil's story, by the way. In December, officers from Los Angeles County's Taskforce for Regional Autotheft Prevention (TRAP)-which includes a NICB special agent-busted an auto theft ring in the Los Angeles area. Dr. Phil's '57 Chevy was among the stolen vehicles recovered at the scene.

While most consumers do not own a classic '57 Chevy, their vehicle is as likely to be stolen as any other-if the circumstances allow. Don't leave keys in your vehicle and never leave it running while you stop for a quick visit at a convenience store-that's all it takes to become a statistic. NICB urges motorists to follow its "layered approach" to auto theft prevention." By employing these simple, low-cost suggestions, people can make their vehicles less attractive to thieves.

Anyone with information concerning vehicle theft and insurance fraud can report it anonymously by calling toll-free 1-800-TEL-NICB (1-800-835-6422), texting keyword "fraud" to TIP411 (847411) or by visiting our website at www.nicb.org. Or, iPhone or iPad users can download the NICB Fraud Tips app to make it easy to quickly send a tip and get a response.

About the National Insurance Crime Bureau: headquartered in Des Plaines, Ill., the NICB is the nation's leading not-for-profit organization exclusively dedicated to preventing, detecting and defeating insurance fraud and vehicle theft through data analytics, investigations, training, legislative advocacy and public awareness. The NICB is supported by more than 1,100 property and casualty insurance companies and self-insured organizations. NICB member companies wrote over $319 billion in insurance premiums in 2011, or approximately 80 percent of the nation's property/casualty insurance. That includes more than 94 percent ($152 billion) of the nation's personal auto insurance. To learn more visit www.nicb.org.


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    • 1 Second Ago
  • 8 Comments
      56Jalopy
      • 1 Year Ago
      Thy probably will not steal my 1956 Morris Minor because they won,t be able to find the starter pull or know why it has three pedals on the floor instead of two.
      chromal
      • 1 Year Ago
      There is no punishment severe enough for those who steal a loved old car from its owner.
      v6sonoma
      • 1 Year Ago
      I have a sudden urge to run to my fathers garage and check on his 57 chevy 210.
      MONTEGOD7SS
      • 1 Year Ago
      $100k car and you can't afford $100/year for a mobile GPS tracking service?
      audisp0rta4
      • 1 Year Ago
      I guess I'm glad we have a '55 Bel Air then, lol
      Skicat
      • 1 Year Ago
      A Ellis Brooks Chevrolet stole my grandmother's 1957 Bel-Air 4-door (Copper w/white accents and interior, 63K miles) when they gave her $500 on-trade for a new Nova in 1971. She had no idea what she had. I would have bought it if I'd she'd said something. But she was totally independent and probably wouldn't have listened to a broke high-school kid anyway. :(
      Avinash Machado
      • 1 Year Ago
      One of the best Chevy designs ever.