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The 1979 Corvette was stolen over three decades ago from Talley.
It was found in poor condition, and is thought to have spent some time under water judging by the rust.
Stolen '79 'Vette found by original owner at car festival in Detroit.
A man has been reunited with his Corvette 33 years on from when it was first stolen.
George Talley, 72, a former employee at General Motors, received the shock of a lifetime when GM presented the keys to the lost car back to Talley ahead of this years Woodward Dream Cruise in Detroit.
Authorities in Michigan noticed that two Corvettes were registered under the same vehicle identification number, one in Mississippi and one in Michigan. The Mississippi Corvette’s engine number revealed it to be Talley’s long-lost car. When told that the car had been found, Talley said, he thought it was a joke.
Following a radio interview, Mark Reuss, GM’s product development chief, heard the broadcast and offered to ship the car back to Detroit.
Following the reunion, Talley wrote to Reuss asking for help with restoring it. GM duly addressed the destroyed interior, bad brakes and serious corrosion throughout, free of charge.
Corvette management took the car to their Heritage Centre in Sterling Heights, Michigan in June, and asked facilities manager Greg Wallace to have the car ready for the Dream Cruise on August 15. It would prove to be a challenge, given the car’s condition.
‘It appeared to have been underwater at some time,” Wallace said. “It had weird rust, including a rotted-out ashtray and cigarette lighter. The brake lines were badly corroded, as were the steel door bottoms. The interior was shredded and water-damaged.’
Understandably, Talley was left delighted with the finished package. ‘This past spring I wrote a letter to Mark Reuss and asked him to help me restore it. I’m retired; I wanted it to be safe and look good.
‘Now It’s like brand new,' he said. ‘To have a brand new ’79 car is phenomenal. It’s hard to describe, but I’m happy.’