KL Nichols In the news recently are two stories about Classic Mustangs that havebeen returned to their owners. Here they are:
1. After 38 years, man's stolen Mustang is back
It has 300,000 extra miles, but still running just fine
LOS ANGELES - A Los Angeles man is getting his Mustang back — 38
years after it was stolen.
The vehicle has an extra 300,000 miles and a different paint job, but Eugene
Brakke's 1965 Mustang is evidently running just fine.
Brakke reported the car stolen to Burbank police in May 1970.
One month later, a Long Beach teenager named Judy Smongesky received
the car as a high school graduation gift from her father, who had bought it at
a used-car dealership.
Smongesky, who now lives in San Diego, said Thursday she had been
driving and maintaining the car for nearly four decades, and only learned that
it had been stolen when she recently prepared to sell it. San Diego police
verified the car was hot.
"It's his car, even though he had it for four years and I had it for 38,"
Smongesky said. "He seems like a real nice gentleman, though."
Brakke found out Smongesky had twice rebuilt the engine and painted the
Mustang from its old gold color to silver-blue.
"He wasn't too happy with that," Smongesky said.
The pair planned to meet up to transfer the car soon.
"It was hard but it was the right thing to do," Smongesky said. "I haven't really
cried yet, but when he drives it away, I think I'll fall apart."
2. Man to reunite with his Mustang
LEAGUE CITY, TX (KTRK) -- We know that truth can be stranger than fiction.And some stories, if you made them up, they wouldn't be believable. That seems to be the case for a League City man and his Ford Mustang, stolen 16 years ago.
Andy Felchak's mom gave him her 66 Ford Mustang when he was a junior in high school in 1991. He spent a year painstakingly restoring it inside and out, only to have it stolen from a Crosby grocery store parking lot.
He has spent much of his adult life aching over that missing car. That is, he had until now.
Felchak loved his '66 Mustang. "I took time to restore it after she gave it to me," he said. "I had the motor redone. I had some front end work redone. Also got it painted and replaced all of the interior."
But then one day at work, someone stole it.
"Never really thought I'd see it again," he said. "After a year or two passed, I was pretty confident I wasn't gonna see it."
But for some reason, Andy and his parents kept stacks of photos of that sky blue classic. They kept the title, still in Andy's name. They even kept the keys.
But then one day a couple of months ago, Andy got a call from a detective in Wichita, Kansas.
"He said he thought he had my car," said Andy.
And in fact he did. A woman in Kansas tried to register the car and it came up stolen all these years later. She was probably the fourth or fifth person to have that car since 1992, the first one outside of Texas.
It's a little worse for wear. Andy doesn't care. He's already cleaned out his garage and is ready to go pick it up in a couple of weeks.
"Are you planning on putting an alarm system or a Lo-jack in it?" we asked.
"I'm gonna do something," he said. "Definitely don't want to get it stolen again."
And maybe one day, he says, he'll give it to his daughter.
Interestingly, Felchak is getting the car back because he didn't have it insured in 1992. He only had liability coverage. If it had been insured, he couldn't keep it. It would have belonged to the insurance company.
Is there a moral here? Surely not the lack of insurance angle, but maybe it is that the system
actually or occasionally works?