DETROIT (WWJ/AP) – George Talley, Tuesday morning, got behind the wheel and started his beloved 1979 Corvette for the first time in 33 years.
That’s how long ago the car, discovered recently in a Mississippi barn, was stolen in downtown Detroit.
Did he ever think he’d see his car again?
“I didn’t think I would … I was out of my mind, but I didn’t think, though…I didn’t think would ever pop up. It could’ve been at the bottom of the water in a river somewhere; I don’t know,” Talley told WWJ Newsradio 950’s Ron Dewey.
“I was lucky that I got it and it’s in decent condition. It’s running,” he said.
Talley, who’d parked the car on Jefferson Avenue in Detroit in 1981, believed it was long gone until a surprise June 13 phone call from auto insurer AAA telling him his Vette was at a police station in Hattiesburg, Mississippi, about 840 miles southwest of Detroit.
“They told me it was running, had 47,000 miles on it and was ready for me to pick up!” Talley said.
GM Product Development Executive Vice President Mark Reuss heard the story and offered to ship the car back to Detroit where it was delivered Tuesday to Talley at the automaker’s world headquarters — about three miles from where it was stolen.
“George’s story brought a smile to my face,” Reuss said. “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.”
Talley, 71, has owned three other Corvettes, but the 1979 model was his favorite, according to GM.
TM and © Copyright 2014 CBS Radio Inc. and its relevant subsidiaries. CBS RADIO and EYE Logo TM and Copyright 2014 CBS Broadcasting Inc. Used under license. All Rights Reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed. The Associated Press contributed to this report.