Thief Steals Rare Vehicle, Disguises It in a Different Color
Police recently arrested a thief from Iowa after he allegedly stole a rare vehicle from Marshall County Supervisor Steve Salasek and tried to disguise it by covering it in a different paint color.
“I went to go get it out of the storage shed, and it was gone,” Salasek said of the yellow 1966 Ford GT40 replica. “It wasn’t there.” Salasek panicked. It was his dream car. He figured it was long gone.
But, it turns out, the car wasn’t so far away after all. Police arrested 48-year-old Patrick Allen Chamberlain on Thursday after they noticed him driving it around, crudely painted a black color. Marshalltown police Chief Michael Tupper said they were tipped off after residents noticed bits of the original yellow color through the crude paint job and reported their suspicions. The color was spotted all around the car’s base. “If it hadn’t been for the community’s involvement and interest in this story, we probably would not have found the car,” Tupper said.
A rare GT40 was hard to miss even with the transformation. Salasek’s daughter-in-law, Anne, explains, “It’s a factory reproduction replica 1966 Ford GT40 made by Cape Advanced Vehicles out of Cape Town, South Africa. This is the only vehicle of its kind in the entire state of Iowa.” Tupper adds, ““It was a very unique car and I feel pretty comfortable saying it was probably the only car like this in Marshall County, maybe in the central Iowa area.”
In Texas back in 2012, an original 1968 GT40 sold for $11 million, setting a record for a U.S. car. The “GT40 was a great demonstration of how the history of a car determines its price,” Historic Automobile Group International (HAGI founder), Dietrich Hatlapa, said in an interview at the time of the auction. “The early life drives the value. This Ford had been part of the original Gulf team and had a good racing record.”
The GT40 was originally created by Ford Motor Company in the early 1960s to beat Ferrari at long-distance sports car races. The car won the Le Mans 24-hour race for four consecutive years from 1966-69. Even replicas are worth hundreds of thousands of dollars or more. One is currently being sold in California for just over $3 million.
Salasek’s just glad the one-of-a-kind car was found. “It was painted black, looks like with a roller but otherwise undamaged,” he says.
Chamberlin was charged with theft, possession of a controlled substance, drug paraphernalia and several traffic offenses. Evidently, the thief had a long rap sheet.
Police aren’t sure whether Chamberlain painted the car himself or had someone else do the handy work. One thing’s for certain. It was a quick and dirty job with little technical expertise.
Salasek hopes to restore the car back to its original state before the incident. “One way or another, it’ll come back to life,” he said assuredly. Nothing a little more dough can’t handle.