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UK Man’s Restored Austin Healey Convertible Stolen from His Garage on Christmas Eve

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One banker in north London, U.K., had a not-so-merry Christmas after his 1955 Austin Healey convertible was stolen from his garage on Dec. 24.

The vehicle had taken owner Pascal Maeter, a banker from Chelsea, 18 months to restore. The car has an estimated valued of £100,000, or about $150,000 USD.

The car was last seen parked in the garage of Maeter’s home on Christmas Eve around 2 p.m. But when Maeter went to the garage that evening, he found that the car had been stolen.

The garage door had been locked earlier that day, but the thieves had forced it open. Unsecured garage doors, and even those with fairly low security, can account for as many as 50% of all home burglaries.

Scotland Yard describes the light blue and cream-colored car to be “extremely rare” and “distinctive,” thanks especially to the work that Maeter put into it. Maeter had received the car as a 50th birthday present from his wife two years ago and had been restoring it ever since.

“It’s not just an ordinary car to me,” Maeter said to reporters. “This was a much loved gift, one of a special production and restoring it was a labor of love.”

According to Maeter, the car had been bought by an American soldier who had lived in Germany and brought it with him to the U.S. in the 1960s. He then sold the car to a person who kept it in his living room until about 2013.

When it came into Maeter’s ownership, he worked to restore every little detail on it: even the cup holders.

“The original 1950s cup-holder was made using a machine that no longer exists,” Maeter said, “but one of those original machines ended up in Canada, so we tracked it down and sourced the cup-holder from there.”

The restoration took so long that he had only just begun driving it shortly before it was stolen.

Rare car thefts aren’t so uncommon across the pond, either: several classic cars were also stolen from a garage in Bel Air, MD, in December. Among them were a 1971 Chevrolet Monte Carlo, a 1967 Plymouth Belvedere and a Chevrolet Z-28.

But whoever did take it likely won’t be able to sell the car for parts — it’s too unique, Maeter said.

“There are very, very few of these cars left,” Maeter commented. “It wouldn’t make sense to sell it for parts because it’s worth more as a whole – but as it is it’s far too distinctive to sell.”

“Who knows,” he said, “maybe it will be sitting in someone else’s living room for another 50 years.”

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