Corvette stolen in Detroit in 1981 returned 33 years later

The last time George Talley saw his beloved 1979 Chevrolet Corvette was when he parked it in Detroit in 1981. It was recently found in Mississippi and returned.

General Motors heard the story and paid for shipping

George Talley, 71, poses with his 1979 Chevrolet Corvette in Detroit on July 1. Talley had believed the sports car was long gone after he parked it in Detroit in 1981 and it was stolen. On June 13, 2014 he received a phone call from an auto insurer telling him his car was at a police station in Mississippi. (Paul Sancya/The Associated Press)

The last time George Talley saw his beloved 1979 Chevrolet Corvette was when he parked it in Detroit in 1981.

That was 33 years ago, and Talley had believed the sports car was long gone until a surprise June 13 phone call from auto insurer the American Automobile Association telling him his car was at a police station in Mississippi, about 1,350 kilometres (840 miles) southwest of Detroit.

"It was a lucky day to hear that my car had been found," Talley said Tuesday in a release. "They told me it was running, had 47,000 miles on it and was ready for me to pick up!"

GM Product Development Executive Vice President Mark Reuss heard the story and offered to ship the car back to Detroit where it was delivered Tuesday morning to Talley at the automaker's world headquarters — about five kilometres or three miles from where it was stolen.

"George's story brought a smile to my face," Reuss said. "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."

Talley, 71, has owned three other Corvettes, but the 1979 model was his favourite, according to GM.