Monterey, California, is a beautiful location that beautiful cars frequent, rolling onto the block in search of new homes. Two weeks ago, during two such auctions, four awesome classics were stolen - three right from the auction house lots and one from a nearby bed and breakfast.
California has long been known as a hot spot of automotive enthusiasm. Unfortunately, many do not know how to protect their classic from falling victim to a thief - and it happens everywhere. If you can look past our SIM compatriot's title, click here to learn how to protect your classic. Don't worry, it's not brand-specific advice.
But back to the victims at hand, the first and most valuable was a red 1961 Chevy Impala Super Sport 409 convertible car billed by Russo & Steele auction house as being the only all-original, numbers-matching one of its kind in existence. The car, which wore an Idaho license plate reading "SS409," had failed to sell during the auction on Friday night (August 16th), even though bids reached $220,000 and was then transported to the fenced and "guarded" lot which it was eventually stolen from, along Fisherman's Wharf in downtown Monterey.
Two more classic Chevys, each valued around $50,000, were stolen later in the weekend from the Mecum auction house lot on Del Monte golf course. One was a white 1961 Impala convertible, and the other was a pale-yellow, one-owner 1957 Bel Air coupe. As was the case with the 409, both cars had apparently failed to sell at auction and were being stored at the "secure" lots.
The last theft was of a well-preserved 1962 Corvette at a bed and breakfast. The owner, retired Sacramento firefighter Pat Monahan, and his wife were in Monterey to attend a rally and do some sightseeing with the Vette until the car was found to be missing on Sunday morning. What makes Mr. Monahan's loss even more upsetting is that he had no plans to let go of the Corvette, which he says he has owned and restored over the past 20 years. He told The Herald that he "would take it back in pieces."
In a story dated September 4th, The New York Times has announced that Mr. Monahan's Corvette has been found and returned to his possession. Apparently, someone had spotted the beautiful '62 on a street in San Jose, California, and after recognizing it from news sources on the internet, snapped a picture to send to his nephew. The police were notified, and the Monahans hooked up their trailer and headed up to retrieve their beauty.
“They stole the hardtop, and the car is in pretty bad shape, but we have it back, and I will be able to get it back into prime condition,” Mr. Monahan told The New York Times.
If anyone has any information as to the whereabouts of any of the three beautiful classics still missing in action, step up and dial 1-800-TELL-CHP and tell the California Highway Patrol what you know! Here's hoping the rest of these classics make it home.