Last year, one of the Ford Mustangs used in the making of the Steve McQueen film “Bullitt” that had been thought lost to history was discovered rotting away in a junkyard in Mexico. It was one of the most amazing classic car finds ever.
But not the only one of its kind.
The National Insurance Crime Bureau (NICB), a private investigative service funded by the industry, recently tracked down a classic 1957 Chevy pickup that ended up in a similar situation.
The unlocked truck was lifted from a grocery store parking lot in Grover Beach, Calif., around Christmas 2015, while its owner, car collector Bob Brown, was inside shopping for just 15 minutes or so. The theft made the local news, given the unique vehicle involved, and a suspect was soon found when he posted a photo of the truck to his Facebook page. But by the time police got to him the truck had apparently been sold, and there wasn’t enough evidence to charge him with any related crimes. He was, however, arrested and convicted on an unrelated drug violation.
Police tried, but couldn’t track down the truck, and since Brown didn’t have theft insurance on it, he was out of luck. At least he thought he was.
A local NICB investigator, Roger Hogan, who had owned a similar vehicle, heard about the story and empathetically entered a report on the theft into the bureau’s database, even though the organization wasn’t formally involved.
Nothing became of it initially, but this summer, an NICB vendor in Tijuana called in to say he’d found the truck in a salvage yard south of the border. It wasn’t in great shape, but Hogan called Brown, who was happy to pay whatever it cost to bring it home.
And he’ll be paying more than that to bring it back to life. Brown is investing $20,000 into the truck, not to mention refunding the $20,000 tax write-off he took on the truck, according to the NICB.
He’ll also be insuring it this time around.