Pat Monahan’s 1962 red Corvette is back, worse for wear, but back just the same. The classic car, painstakingly restored by Monahan over a 20-year period, was stolen from outside a Pacific Grove bed-and-breakfast on Aug. 17 during Monterey Peninsula Classic Car Week.
On Aug. 30, Monahan, a Camino resident, received a call from a Richard in San Jose who said a vintage Corvette had been parked near his house for the past week.
“He said it was unlocked, the windows were down and the trunk lid was popped open and it had just been sitting there,” said Monahan. Richard had taken a picture of the car and sent it to his nephew who told him to call Monahan as the Corvette looked like the stolen one he’d seen on the Internet. When Richard sent Monahan the picture, Monahan knew right away it was his car.
“I called my friend who’d been with us when the car was stolen,” said Monahan. “He’s a retired police officer and he couldn’t believe it could be the car.” With that friend contacting law enforcement and a friend from San Jose camping out next to the car, Monahan hitched up his car trailer and drove to San Jose.
“It was in a neighborhood near San Jose State University and after law enforcement cleared it, I brought it right home,” said Monahan. “It’s been run through the mill and it’s nowhere near the car that it was, but my wife and I are so pleased. I’m as shocked to have it back as I was to have it stolen. I really thought it was in a container on its way overseas.”
Currently the red Corvette, which won the Pacific Grove Concours Rally Judges’ Choice Award the day it was stolen, is sitting up on a lift, waiting for the insurance appraiser.
“I think they took it off-roading,” said Monahan. “The original hard top is missing, it has scrapes underneath and along the body panels, the oil pan has a gouge out of it, the front fender is cracker, the headers caved in on one side, exhaust ripped off on one side and there’s a slimy substance all over the car, inside and out.”
Monahan plans to rebuild the car again. “I have pictures with my three daughters as children peeking over the car and also one with my twin grandsons. It means much more to me than monetary value.”
He attributes the return of the car to media saturation. “The Mountain Democrat did that big front page story and then the New York Times picked it up and put it on their Website. Yahoo put it on their Website and it was all over the Internet,” said Monahan. “Between the distinguishing characteristics of the car and the social media saturation, I think it would have been hard for them to sell it.”
Richard from San Jose refused the reward Monahan offered for the return of the car. When Monahan pressed him, he said he would just like to drive it around the block once it was returned to its former glory. Monahan said he could do better than that — a trip to Original Joe’s in San Jose for Richard, his nephew and their family in the Corvette.
Contact Wendy Schultz at 530 344-5069 or [email protected] Follow @wschultzMtDemo on Twitter.