Beverly Hills Car Club Would Like To Set The Record Straight On Allegations Of A Stolen Austin Healey

Jul 12, 2012, 22:19 ET from Beverly Hills Car Club

LOS ANGELES, July 12, 2012 /PRNewswire/ -- An unfortunate situation has put Beverly Hills Car Club in the news this week with allegations of attempting to sell a stolen classic car on eBay. The story of Bob Russell's four-decade search for his stolen Austin Healey, which was initially distributed by the Associated Press, has spread around the globe.

"Beverly Hills Car Club found the Austin Healey on Craigslist and purchased the car from a seller in New Jersey who claimed to have owned the car for 42 years. The VIN (Vehicle Identification Number) matched the registration and paperwork, had no liens and was clear and unencumbered from the State of New York, when it was issued to the seller in 1970," says Versa Manos from the Beverly Hills Car Club. "In good faith, we purchased the car and paid to have it shipped cross-country, where it was detailed, photographed and displayed for sale on our eBay page."

When Beverly Hills Car Club got a call from Mr. Russell, saying that the car was stolen in 1970 and belonged to him, the Austin Healey was taken down from eBay immediately. The matter was handed over to the dealership's attorney for investigation into Mr. Russell's claims.

"To our knowledge, the car had a valid title and there was no report on it being a stolen vehicle, which was apparently due to an error by the Philadelphia Police Department," continues Ms. Manos. "This could have happened to anyone buying a car on the internet." 

When it became apparent that the car belonged to Mr. Russell, Beverly Hills Car Club was quick to cooperate with local authorities to return the car to its rightful owner.   

"We are all very happy that Mr. Russell has gotten his car back," says Ms. Manos. "However, we are victims in this situation. We have lost $27,000, which is what we paid for the car plus the cost to ship it to California.

This is a peculiar situation because the previous owner had the car in his possession for the past 42 years and had been driving the car on a regular basis.

The Beverly Hills Car Club has joined other dealers in California in the National Motor Vehicles Title Information Service (NMVTIS), a recent program enacted by the US Justice Department to better screen the interstate sales of vehicles. This law came into effect on July 1 and hopefully will help reduce the risk of these types of situations.

Beverly Hills Car Club takes great pride in being one of the country's largest European classic car dealerships. Their clients include international collectors and celebrities.

SOURCE Beverly Hills Car Club