Photos From Tracy Klimek/New Jersey Herald
Tony Peldunas, a Hampton, NJ resident, had the surprise of his lifetime when he was informed that the 1965 Corvette Stingray stolen from in front of his house in 1981, was found.
He bought the car in the late 1970s, and it needed some work. He spent his free time fixing up the car that was once in bad need of repair. The restoration went on with the help of his neighbor.
When Tony was in his 20s/30s, he kept his Corvette parked safely in his garaged. One day in the summer of 1981, when Tony was 31, he came home to find his garage blocked by friends, and parked in the driveway instead. Not thinking much about it, he left the Corvette parked outside overnight.
The next morning, the sound of pouring rain alarmed Tony as the car was still outside — but what he discovered was a lot worse than a rain touched car. When he raced outside to the Corvette to bring it inside, the car was gone.
After reporting the missing car, the police department informed him that six sports cars were stolen from the town that same night. After some time went by without it turning back up, Tony knew it was gone for good.
Over the years, Tony bought other Corvettes, but none were quite as meaningful as his stolen 1965. He continued with his love of restoring cars for many years.
One day in early 2017, his wife got a call at home that the Corvette had been recovered in a small town in North Carolina. Someone tried to trade in the Corvette, and the owner of the car lot knew it was red flag when he noticed the VIN plate had been tampered with. The car was confiscated, and after the original VIN was identified, they were able to determine that it was indeed Tony’s car.
Tony didn’t recognize the car when he saw it — it wasn’t until the firewall showed a little bit of the original paint that it hit him. The car was restored as a super performance Grand Sport Stingray with a 500-horsepower V8 with the looks and interior of a race car.
The car was originally purchased for less than $2,000 when Tony acquired it, and it now has a value of nearly $30,000.