GM Reunites Stolen ’79 Corvette with Rightful Owner

Silver beast comes back from Mississippi largely intact.

by on Jul.02, 2014

George Talley, a GM retiree, celebrates the return of his 1979 Chevrolet Corvette: 33 years after it was stolen. GM brought the car back for him from Mississippi where it was found.

George Talley’s automotive world came full circle yesterday on Jefferson Avenue in downtown Detroit with his 1979 Chevrolet Corvette.

He got it back.

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In 1981, the GM retiree’s car was stolen while parked on Jefferson – a large boulevard in Detroit that also runs in front of GM’s world headquarters – near his apartment. Yesterday, it was returned to him courtesy of the automaker, just a few miles from where he saw it last.

On June 13, Talley received a call from his insurance company informing him his car had turned up in Hattiesburg, Miss. and he could come and get it.

“It was a lucky day to hear that my car had been found,” said the 71-year-old Talley. “They told me it was running, had 47,000 miles on it and was ready for me to pick up!”

GM's Terry Rhadigan, left, greets George Talley before a ceremony returning Talley's Corvette to him after it was stolen 33 years ago.

After hearing about the car, GM executives decided to help Talley out: they offered to transport the 35-year-old iconic sports car back to Detroit.

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“George’s story brought a smile to my face,” said Mark Reuss, executive vice president for GM Product Development. “As a longtime Corvette owner myself, I know the passion the car inspires. I also knew that car belonged home in Detroit, with its rightful owner, and we could make that happen.”

(Click Here for details about a California district attorney filing suit against GM.)

Talley’s got a history with Corvette: he’s owned four of them over the years, including the stolen ’79, which was his favorite. When reunited with the silver beast at GM headquarters, Talley ambled over, climbed in and started it up, revved the engine a few times, checked the lights – which sleepily flipped open – and the windshield wipers to the delight of family, friends and GM officials in attendance.

(To see more about all of the GM models targeted by recalls, Click Here.)

He even found a cassette tape in the radio, holding it up for all in attendance to see. The car isn’t exactly the way he left it. Someone added some black trim to it and changed the wheels, but other than some dirt and a little aging, it’s largely intact.

The Corvette was found when someone tried to register two Corvettes with the same vehicle ID number, according to Mississippi Bureau of Investigation officials, the Detroit Free Press reported.

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4 Responses to “GM Reunites Stolen ’79 Corvette with Rightful Owner”

  1. Jim says:

    If his insurance company paid him a settlement for his stolen car back when it went missing I wonder they are going to try and make him pay back the money?

  2. Frank Rafuse says:


  3. Jorge says:

    It’s quite odd that the insurance company even notified him. It seems like there must be more to the story.

    • EAJ says:

      I agree – there has to be more to the story. I mean, that is good that someone flagged trying to register 2 Corvettes with the ame VIN, but to the original owner 33 years afer the fact.

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