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Page last updated at 19:29 GMT, Tuesday, 17 January 2006

Dream car returned, 37 years on

Alan Poster's Corvette Mako Shark

The owner of a Corvette sports car stolen when it was brand new in 1969 is to be reunited with the vehicle after it was finally found, 37 years later.

Alan Poster's prized possession went missing in New York, but was found 3,000 miles away in California, just as it was about to be shipped to Sweden.

"We can call this a miracle," Mr Poster told the New York Times.

The car had just been sold to a Swede, who was not aware of the car's past, for $10,000 (5,700).

However, because Mr Poster had not insured the car, he was not compensated when it was stolen and is entitled to it back.

The Corvette Mako Shark, which was originally painted blue with matching upholstery, is now silver with a red interior.

It has had a new engine, but is missing some vital parts and does not run, a spokesman for the homeland security department said.

Mr Poster, who is now 63, said it was "probably the only car I've ever really loved".

Needle in a haystack

He said said he bought the car as a wild indulgence after his divorce, when he was a guitar salesman living in Queens, New York.

"That car and my new life started together," he said.

They're going to have to kill me to get this car
Alan Poster
He went on to move to California, and so, unbeknown to him, did the car.

"Up until this moment, I thought it was chopped up and shipped away," Mr Poster said after learning it had been found. "It's in great shape, I understand."

The car was found during a customs check as it was being loaded onto a ship to be taken to Sweden.

New York police spent a month sifting through about 10,000 archived stolen car reports to find the original owner.

"It was the equivalent of finding a needle in a haystack," said Detective William Heiser of the New York Police Department.

The car, which Mr Poster bought for $6,000, is now a classic which could fetch up to $60,000 if in mint condition.

"It's not getting away from me again," Mr Poster told The New York Post.

"They're going to have to kill me to get this car."

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