Shelby GT350 stolen 26 years ago returned to insurance company, not owner

From the bible of the collector car world comes a cautionary tale of a stolen Shelby and a good lesson in caveat emptor. John Draneas of Collector Car Market recounts the story of a 1965 Shelby GT350 that was stolen back in 1979. The insurance company paid the owner $6500 and the vehicle was never seen from again. Well, not with its original serial number at any rate. While running a cursory check of eBay, Shelby American Automobile Club Registrar Howard Pardee came across a nice looking '65 GT350. With a little legwork, he discovered that the car had been reported stolen and unrecovered back in 1979. He contacted the eBay seller and that's when things got really interesting.

The seller had purchased the car in 1980 with a reproduction Shelby serial number tag and a seemingly clean New York title. Pardee also tracked down the original owner who was shocked to learn his Shelby was on eBay and more amazed that, although the bidding was only at $121,000, the value of the car might be closer to $150,000 or even $175,000. He contacted his insurance company and the police and wanted his car back. The car was taken off eBay and impounded, but didn't go back to the original owner. The insurance company had already paid off that claim a long time ago. Case closed.

The eBay seller was out of luck too, as he had no legitimate claim to the vehicle unfortunately. He is trying to work out an arrangement with the insurance company so he can perhaps repurchase his car from them and recoup some of his loss. Although he had paid for the vehicle back in 1980, the seller at that time was not legally able to sell the car, as he was an accomplice of the thief. So although he had possession of the vehicle for 26 years and watched the value skyrocket, he is not legally entitled to any of that windfall. Bummer for everybody except the insurance company and the thief ironically, as the statute of limitations has long since passed. A civil suit appears to be the eBay seller's only hope of justice. Read the whole story by following the link.

[Source: Sports Car Market]

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