Ways Muscle Cars Have Been Stolen

28th Oct 2010

Grand Theft Auto is just a game, but in real life muscle cars are often choice targets for professional car jackers.

Not only are they very valuable, bringing in a lot of money for the thief, they also lack the sophisticated anti-theft systems found on newer cars.  Unless the owner has installed an aftermarket system, this makes them incredibly easy to steal. The theft of a valuable collector's car is pretty devastating for the owner, who has often invested a lot of time and emotion into their vehicle.

For instance, this 1969 Dodge Dart GTS convertible turned up missing from winter storage one day, devastating the car's owner of 30 years.  Dan Helfrich was only the second owner of the car, and thought he had taken all necessary precautions to protect the car from theft -- including putting a club on the steering wheel and disconnecting the ignition.  In the end, it was probably the latter that saved the car: When the thieves couldn't get the car started they dumped it, only three blocks away. Although that story has a happy ending, most of them do not.

The 1977 Holden Torana that was stolen right out of the owner's garage under cover of a rainstorm, for example -- a car worth nearly 6 figures.  And in Australia, there was a story of several classic cars stolen before and during a car show. There are ways to protect your muscle car from being stolen.  Being careful where you park it is one precaution you can take: Garage parking is always best.

Even then, however, you should be careful to regularly check on your car, and be sure it's obvious that you do -- for instance, keep the car clean and free of weeds, or dust if it is parked in a garage or storage unit.  Thieves tend to scope out a car before they attempt to steal it, and an ignored car is more likely to be broken into or stolen than one that the owner keeps frequent tabs on.

There are other precautions you can take, too.  Anti-theft devices, such as the kind that go on your steering wheel or your tire, are great visual deterrents.  In addition, you can have an electronic kill switch installed or (if you are handy) disable the ignition, which will prevent the car from running if someone does try to steal it.

In some cases, such as the story of the Dodge Dart mentioned above, this may actually prevent the thieves from getting very far with the car, saving you from losing your prized muscle car. Finally, be sure that you carry full coverage on a valuable classic car, and that you get agreed value insurance, which will ensure that you won't have to fight your insurance company over the true value of your car if something happens.

Muscle cars have inspired tons of Ford, Chevy, and Dodge apparel, as well as other items, but unfortunately, they have also inspired thieves, so be sure to protect yourself!