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Stolen C4 With Dealer Stickers Still Intact Recovered 23 Years Later

Images: Corky Rice via eBay

Collector Corvettes are not that hard to come by – just check the listings for Barrett-Jackson or Mecum auctions if you don’t believe us. But it’s not too often that you come across a collector car like the one that Southern California’s Corky Rice recently got his hands on, according to the LA Times. A standard 1989 C4 convertible from the factory, this seemingly less-than-collector vehicle may, in fact, be one of the lowest-mileage “new” C4 Corvettes in existence. But that’s just where the story begins. In fact, the car was stolen some 23 years ago and stashed all this time before recently being discovered with the dealership stickers still on it.

Image: Lawrence K. Ho/ Los Angeles Times

Every now and again you’ll see a story about a long-lost stolen car recovered in excellent shape decades later. This car has a similar story, but the fact that it has just 67 miles on the odometer and dealer stickers still intact makes this Corvette one heck of a find.

Back in 1989, the bright red C4 was delivered to what was the C&M Chevrolet dealership in San Diego at the time. Perched on the new sales lot, the car didn’t stay long, however, being stolen right from the lot and driven to a storage unit where it was locked away.

Known only by a recent Irish immigrant, at the time, and the men who pushed for him to steal the car, the Corvette remained in the storage locker for 23 years.

It was only after the rent on the storage unit increased to over $300 a month last summer that the car was finally revealed. After he stopped paying for the unit and contacted his attorney, the man who hid the car for so many years (who has not been identified) confessed his crime. Having the knowledge that the locker would soon be liquidated, the man’s attorney contacted the San Diego Police Department to inform them of the whereabouts of the car. Given the circumstances, the man’s cooperation with police and the time that had lapsed since the crime, the man was not charged.

San Diego Police Detective Andrew Spear quickly made his way to the self-storage facility, finding that the lock on the unit had already been cut. What he found inside was the bright red C4 under layers of dust and sitting on four flat tires. Remarkably, the dealership stickers were still on the car, and using a tow driver’s air compressor, Spear found the tires would hold air. The car was towed away, as it had no keys with it, and was sold to a specialist in repossessed vehicles. It was from this person that Rice acquired the car.

Now cleaned up, recharged and as good as factory new, Rice is trying to sell the Corvette on eBay in an auction that closes on Sunday. As of the evening of Friday December 21st, the highest bid for the car sits at $23,200. If Rice doesn’t get the price he wants, he told the LA Times that he’ll take it to auction in January.

A truly remarkable find, this otherwise run-of-the-mill C4 Corvette has quite the history associated with it. Chances are, and as the bids trickling into eBay currently show, this Corvette could go for close to what a brand new C4 Corvette would have gone for back in 1989.



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