Autoblog was on hand for the presentation at General Motors' Renaissance Center headquarters in downtown Detroit this morning and spoke with Talley and Chevrolet spokesman Mike Albano.
Talley owned his Corvette for two years before it was stolen from Detroit's Jefferson Avenue, just down the road from GM's current headquarters. It was returned running, and with just 47,000 miles on the clock.
"I'm excited and thankful and grateful and excited," an understandably emotional Talley told Autoblog. The 1979 Vette, which GM returned in the condition it was found in at Talley's request, will be heading off for a restoration. While GM footed the bill to get the car to Detroit, it won't be covering the restoration – we're told that an unnamed third-party will be handling that. While Talley estimates that process will take "a month or so," he already knows where he's going once the car is ready for the road.
"I think I'm going to cruise Belle Isle," Talley said.
"Corvettes are really special cars, they have a special place in their owner's hearts," Mike Albano told Autoblog. "There's something serendipitous about this whole thing, the fact that yesterday was the birthday of Corvette and right now, just a day later, we're kind of giving George a gift back."
"George's story brought a smile to my face," GM's Mark Reuss said in a statement. "As a longtime Corvette owner myself, I know the passion the car inspires. I also knew that car belonged home in Detroit, with its rightful owner, and we could make that happen."
We've got a short video of Talley and his car at today's unveiling, as well as photos from the event. The former is available below with an official press release from GM, while the latter can be seen up top. Take a look and let us know what you think of this truly great story.
DETROIT – George Talley and his prized '79 Chevrolet Corvette were reunited at General Motors' world headquarters today, just three miles from where the car was stolen from him 33 years ago.
Talley, 71, last saw his Corvette when it was parked on Jefferson Avenue in 1981. On June 13, more than 30 years later, Talley received a call from AAA informing him his car had turned up in Hattiesburg, Miss.
"It was a lucky day to hear that my car had been found," said Talley. "They told me it was running, had 47,000 miles on it and was ready for me to pick up!"
Talley - a Corvette fan since he saw his neighbor's first-generation 'Vette in the 1950s - was fortunate to own three more Corvettes, but the '79 was always his favorite.
Talley's luck continued when Mark Reuss, executive vice president for GM Product Development, heard his story on the news and offered to ship the car home to Detroit.
"George's story brought a smile to my face," said Reuss. "As a longtime Corvette owner myself, I know the passion the car inspires. I also knew that car belonged home in Detroit, with its rightful owner, and we could make that happen."
Founded in 1911 in Detroit, Chevrolet is now one of the world's largest car brands, doing business in more than 140 countries and selling more than 4.9 million cars and trucks a year. Chevrolet provides customers with fuel-efficient vehicles that feature spirited performance, expressive design, and high quality. More information on Chevrolet models can be found at www.chevrolet.com.