A classic car once owned by aviation pioneer Amelia Earhart has been recovered and returned to its current owner after being stolen from a California parking lot, police said.
A trailer carrying the 1932 Hudson Essex Terraplane was taken on Friday from an industrial complex’s lot in Orange at about 10 p.m. Friday, Orange Police said.
“Rare vehicle stolen!” Orange Police said in a statement regarding the theft.
In it, they included a photo of Earhart with the classic car, said to be valued at $500,000.
The vehicle now belongs to Jim Somers, a former top-fuel drag racer who bought it in 1986 for $9,000.
“This is a special car,” Somers, 78, told the Orange County Register in 2014.
Only 14 models of the car are believed to still exist, as many were melted down for their metal during World War II.
And especially important is the model that belonged to Earhart, the first female aviator to fly solo across the Atlantic Ocean.
Earhart was tapped to help promote the car after her history-making journey and in July 1932, was given a model of her own to keep, the Register reported.
She disappeared on July 2, 1937 while flying over the central Pacific Ocean during her attempt to circumnavigate the globe.
Police on Monday said the vehicle that once belonged to Earhart was found abandoned near Alhambra Avenue and Lombardy Boulevard in El Sereno. No arrests have been made.
“The owner was very thankful to get his piece of history returned to him,” cops said.
Somers told KCBS that the keys to the vehicle are still missing, but the car is thankfully in largely the same condition as it was before being stolen.
“I can’t express how happy I am about this,” he told the television station. “I am thankful the detectives got right on it and found this in four days... I can’t say enough.”