You can find almost anything on eBay — Bob Russell knows this well. The 66-year-old found his beloved Austin Healey, 42 years after it went missing, on the online auctioning platform.
Russell, of Southlake, Tex., never stopped looking for his cream Austin Healey 3000 after it disappeared from his Philadelphia neighborhood in 1967, according to the original Associated Press report.
At the time, Russell was a student at Temple University. Years later, as a retired sales manager living near Dallas, he still eyed every Healey vehicle that passed by.
On May 11, years of scouring online car ads finally paid off. Healey immediately recognized the vehicle’s identification number on the eBay listing. He called the auctioneer, a Los Angeles-based Beverly Hills Car Club, that stopped the bid. The last incoming bid for the car was $19,700. Russell paid $3,000 for it in 1967.
“I hate to sound indelicate,” Russell told the unsuspecting dealer, “but you’re selling a stolen car,” according to AP. He had the car’s identification number, original key and car title to prove it.
The car dealer involved has received slack after allegedly trying to sell the stolen car back to Russell for $24,000. The dealer responded with a press release stating that they found the vintage Austin Healey on Craigslist and purchased the car from the New Jersey-based seller. All the paperwork matched up in this case, the dealer states. The N.J.-based owner had driven the car for nearly four decades.
“We are all very happy that Mr. Russell has gotten his car back,” wrote Versa Manos, a Beverly Hills Car Club spokesperson. “However, we are victims in this situation. We have lost $27,000, which is what we paid for the car, plus the cost to ship it to California.”
After Philadelphia police located Russell’s 1967 stolen car report, the L.A. Police Department impounded the car from the lot. Russell and his wife were able to drive off within a few weeks after the debacle started.
Image courtesy Flickr, den99