You know it happens all of the time in the collector car world but seldom does it get talked about. Theft is up right now and that includes classic and collectible cars. You may or may not know someone who has had their classic car stolen. Maybe even you? Well, we know that 2020 sucked. But in spite of that, this guy just found his 1969 Camaro that was stolen 17 years ago.
In 2020 Virginia resident Tommy Cook found good fortune
So, with all of the bad in 2020 Virginia resident Tommy Cook found good fortune. In September 2003 his 1969 Hugger Orange Chevy Camaro was stolen from a Woodbridge repair shop lot. At the time it was being prepared for an engine and transmission swap so it had neither when it happened.
Obviously, the thieves were able to solve the missing engine problem, or maybe they would strip it or otherwise sell it. Cook immediately reported his Camaro missing, but there was never anything that came from it. Still, Cook kept the case active by turning in a Missing Status form every year, sending it off to police headquarters.
It’s unclear whether the police actively searched for his Camaro, especially as the years wore on. Cook continued to acquire and fix up different collector cars over the years, but that Hugger Orange Camaro was always on his mind. Last month he was helping a friend looking to purchase a 1968 Camaro in nearby La Plata.
He thought it odd his friend had gotten different information
The friend told him it was originally Hugger Orange and built at the Van Nuys, California, plant. That was the same plant as his 1969 Camaro had been built. But when he got there the Camaro turned out to be a 1969 Camaro. Looking at the VIN it was made in Norwood, Ohio, the other plant that Camaros were built. He thought it odd his friend had gotten different information and decided to find the VIN plate in the engine compartment.
But before doing that he noticed something else. This Camaro had a fold-down rear seat. Cook knew that less than 2% of 1969 Camaros had that option and one of them had been his own 1969. Right then he knew he found it. He called the local police who checked the stolen car records and confirmed it was Cook’s. After 17 years he got it back. Since being stolen it had gone through four different owners.
Cook says his stolen Camaro is “iconic” which we would agree with
Cook says his Camaro is “iconic” which we would agree with. Some think it is the most collectible Camaro year. The good news is that due to a delay in debuting the all-new 1970 Camaro, 1969 production continued through November 1969, fully four months past when it would have been replaced. Chevy ended up making 243,085 of the 1969 Camaro, so finding one isn’t as hard as one would expect.
Not an especially rare version as 1969 Camaros go, that doesn’t matter to Cook. The rarest are actually six-cylinder convertibles. Only 1,707 were ever built. Sport coupes like Cook’s are the most common with close to 200,000 made. As for the desirable SS models, a bit over 20,000 units were built, while Rallye Sports saw almost 35,000 buyers.