At age 82, Ivan Schneider had given up on finding his luxury Jaguar stolen 46 years ago, until it was recovered on a cargo ship destined for Holland.
‘This is just a miracle, a miracle. I was 36 years old then and now I’m 82,’ said the now-retired Schneider after California customs agents told him the good news.
‘Never in anybody’s lifetime would I think I would see this car again,’ he added.
His two-door 1967 XKE Jaguar convertible was stolen outside his home on the night of March 13, 1968. It was worth $US5000 at the time.
Today, despite years’ worth of dings, scratches and a few rust spots, the car is priced at $US23,600 ($A25,535).
In top shape, the vintage wheels could fetch around $US100,000 ($A108,200) in today’s market.
The cargo ship had already sailed out of California’s Long Beach Port when authorities ran a routine stolen car scan on Thursday and discovered the bootlegged Jaguar along with four other stolen vehicles.
Schneider, a luxury car enthusiast, has since owned several cars, but none as special as his XKE.
‘It was my first good car and favourite. It’s a wonderful car,’ said Schneider, who now lives in Florida.
‘I used to get up at four or five in the morning on either Saturday or Sunday and drive it 90 to 100 (miles per hour) on the highway in New York,’ he said.
He promised to be more careful with his newly-recovered ride, and said he looks forward to restoring it to its former beauty.