How often is it that you get your car back after it’s been stolen? What about if it was stolen 30 years ago? What about if it was a cool ’57 Chevy Bel Air? What about if it was stolen and returned almost a year before it disappeared for 30 years? That’s what happened to Santa Rosa, California resident Ian “Skip” Wilson. When California Highway Patrol investigator Mike Maleta informed him that there was a 1957 Chevrolet Bel Air in a shipping container bound for Australia that might be of some interest to him. Since U.S. Border Protection and Customs does routine checks of shipping containers bound for wherever, it may be no surprise to Customs agents. Once they found out the car was stolen, it was handed over to the CHP to build a case. Then, Ian Wilson received a call from Mike Maleta, a CHP investigator about the car. The VIN matched what Ian gave Maleta, and the car was on its way to Ian’s house after a few days. This isn’t the first time the car was stolen – it was stolen back in 1983, but returned to him without the engine and transmission. He had bought the car back in 1975 for $375, and he hadn’t started re-rebuilding the car when it was stolen from his driveway in 1984.
The white-over-yellow hardtop now is a sparkling creamsicle orange with a Chevy 350 V8/Turbo 350 transmission setup. It’s got disc brakes and rack-and-pinion steering. A brand-new black leather interior complements the paint beautifully, and the slightly chromed 17-inch wheels also look sweet. The rebuild is extremely recent, with the odometer showing nine miles showing on the odometer.
Skip had to pay just $900 for transportation, and originally was told by the DMV that he needed 30 years of back registration to get the car registered. The state backed off for the back registration request.
Yeah, I’d pay $900 for a basically brand-new 1957 Chevrolet Bel Air.