Car Stories

Stolen Car; Gone, Wrecked, Gone Again

Stolen Car

1980 L-82 Corvette front

I have heard stories about guys getting their car stolen from a cruise-in or even at shows. I have heard of a guy’s trailer, tow rig and hot rod being stolen from his motel parking lot. I have heard stories about guys getting cars stolen and having no insurance.

As usual, I never thought it would happen to me; of course it did. Two months ago I had a Corvette stolen from outside the restoration shop it was at. The car was never to be outside but just this once it was left out overnight. Within two hours of the shop closing its doors video cameras recoded it being driven away.

The car had been at the shop for well over a year and it had an engine rebuild, new paint and new interior. I had picked it up and paid the bill but the windshield wiper still didn’t work and there were a couple of other small items that needed to be taken care of. It is enough to drive a guy to drink.

1980 L-82 Corvette rear

The punks who stole the car, filled it with gas, washed it up, drove it to Nashville and did who knows what with the car that night. By the next morning they decided to give it another bath, this time in the Cumberland River. They started the engine, put a big rock on the accelerator, put it in gear and stood back to watch. These idiots evidently forgot to straighten the wheels and it hit a guardrail (all of this is from the Police Report).

So the car was stolen, wrecked and then recovered but it is gone again. This time my insurance company towed it away.

The restoration shop had insurance but it was inadequate to cover the damages totaling approximately $12,000. They offered slightly over $5,000. I have insurance with Grundy and they are great. I turned the claim over to them and within 24 hours they agreed to pay the “stated value”. They will then go after the other insurance company and shop for reimbursement. This is my first time to ever have a claim with them and they were very cooperative.

I had nearly $20,000 in the car including $12,000 in restoration costs. Unfortunately, I had not increased my “stated value” with Grundy from the original pre-restoration amount of $16,000.


Long story short, the car was totaled and I lost some cash, not a lot but anything is too much these days.

Several lessons were learned that I will share with you.

  1. Have good insurance and keep it up to date. Check out Grundy Insurance.
  2. When you take a car to a repair or restoration shop make sure they have adequate insurance.
  3. NEVER leave your collector car outside overnight and NEVER leave it outside of your site during the daytime. Old cars are easy to steel and they are a temptation for joy riders and are loaded with valuable parts that are easy to sell on eBay.
  4. Just remember, if your pride and joy is ever stolen and if you get it back; it will never be the car you once owned. I owned that car nearly 20 years but I had no desire to go through another restoration and have it back. If the damage had not been so significant I may have felt differently.

Good luck with your toys and I hope you never have to go through this experience first hand.

If you would like to see more photos of this car,  more on its history and more about the damage, Click Here.

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I grew up and lived in Iowa for a good portion of my life before moving to Southern California. After 20+ years we now live outside Nashville Tennessee. I have been into cars since I was old enough to remember. I don't have a brand loyalty although I do prefer American Muscle especially the 1969/1970 NASCAR Aero Cars. (Check out our other web site at site) As long as it has four wheels and an engine I get excited. Few men are lucky enough to be able to share their passion for cars with the woman they love. Fortunately, my wife, Katriana, is also a gear head and many of our activities revolve around the cars. We have a small collection that includes at least one car from each of the Big Three. It includes a Best of Show winner, a survivor, a driver with lots of patina and several others. Katrina prefers all original cars while I like to modify them so we have a few of each. When we aren't playing with cars we are out working with or showing our miniature donkeys. You can see more about that part of our lives at

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