Back in 1981, Ohio's Ron Reolfi was a cash-strapped college student who plunked down a hard-earned $600 for a used Chevy Camaro. He and his father would spend the next year tinkering with the now-classic car, including replacing some 90 percent of the chrome. When their work was done, Reolfi got to enjoy his gleaming new ride for all of a few weeks before it got lifted from the parking lot of the grocery store where he worked.
Reolfi reported the theft and searched the streets of Canton, Ohio for a few months before finally giving up, resigning himself to the fact that he'd likely never see his ride again. So, you can imagine his surprise when he got a call last October from a detective in Jackson Township asking about a '68 Camaro.
"I told him it was stolen and he says they found the vehicle," Reolfi told reporters. "And right away I asked him if there was a chance we could get this vehicle back. He says 'well, you sure have a horse in the race.'"
But he wasn't the only one. Questions as to the car's provenance arose when its most recent buyer in Delaware tried to secure a title. Turns out the VIN number was still in a decades-old database that listed Reolfi as the last legitimate owner. One other one-time owner also argued a claim to the Camaro, but after a year of legal wrangling, the car was back in Reolfi's driveway.
"I can remember my dad having the resolve saying this car belongs in this family. We are going to do whatever we have to do to get the car back so that's what we did," Reolfi said, noting that memories of working on the ride with his dad decades ago gave it a sentimental value that far exceeds its market value.
So how does it feel to finally have his college ride back in his own garage?
"It's kind of like the new girl at the dance. You just don't know how to act around this car yet," Reolfi told reporters. "I think it's one of the most beautiful cars I have ever seen. It was the picture I had in my mind 34 years ago when we painted it that color with that stripe and it still is today. I just think it's absolutely beautiful."
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