CLEARLAKE, CA (CBS/KPIX) - The relationship between a man and his car is one not everyone understands, but one California man has gotten the gift of a lifetime: a sweet reunion with his cherished Chevy 30 years after it was stolen from him.
When Skip Walker first laid eyes on his cherished 57 Chevy a Ford was in the White House, Gerald Ford. He said, "A lot of my friends had 57s with the tuck and roll interior. And back then and eight track cassette was a big deal."
Skip bought the car in 1975 for $375. But by 1984 it was stolen for a second time. Skip now 65 and battling cancer never thought he'd see his beloved Bel Air again. He said, "Every time I'd see if 57 Chevy in a magazine or see one going down the road I wouldn't think of mine."
About three weeks ago something amazing happened. The California Highway Patrol in Los Angeles called Skip and started asking him about his long-lost car. Turns out it was in a shipping container bound for Australia and set to leave into short days.
Skip said, "Then he asked for documentation and who has that after 30 years. But then I found a carbon copy from when the vehicle was stolen."
When the car finally made it back Skip hardly recognized it. It had been through four owners and the DMV never realized it was stolen. It was recently rebuilt from bumper-to-bumper with a 350 hp V-8 engine. The odometer now reads 9 miles. Skip said, "When I bought it the intentions were to keep it. And now that I have it back is to drive it enjoy it and then give it to one of the grandkids."
It cost to Skip and his wife Rimma $900 to tow the Bel Air back home, but it was a small price to pay.
Skip says at first the DMV threatened to charge him for 30 years of registration fees but later backed off.