What a PITA


Sunday, August 17, 2008 - Page updated at 12:59 PM

Vintage race car stolen in Vancouver, Wash.

The Columbian, Vancouver, Wash

Vancouver, Wash. Forty-five years ago, it was the fastest car on the drag strip.

Today, Vancouver police are looking not for the car that tore up the track in 1963 but the stolen trailer holding the vintage race car valued at $1 million.

An enclosed trailer, along with the 1963 Ford lightweight Galaxie driven by drag racing legend Phil Bonner, was stolen early Saturday morning from where it was parked on Columbia River Drive just west of Beaches Restaurant & Bar.

"A message has been sent out to all units citywide and countywide to be on the lookout for the trailer," said Officer Jim Azinger of the Vancouver Police Department. "Because I don't think we are going to see this vehicle out there driving on the roads."

Carlo Magno, who lives in the condominiums near the Columbia River, said he represents the car's owners, family members who want to remain anonymous.

"It's a museum piece, valued upwards around a million dollars," he said. "It's only one of one. That's what's important about it."

Magno said he had been planning to pull the vintage car to Woodburn Dragstrip today so Bonner could autograph the car's dashboard and door.

"He drove that car all the way through the entire year (1963) to win the nationals," Magno said.

Magno said he last saw the red trailer with Washington dealer plates at about 1:30 a.m. Saturday. One of his neighbors spotted a man believed to have stolen the trailer at about 3 a.m., he said.

The suspected thief is described as 45 to 55 years old, 5 feet 10 inches tall, 210 pounds, with a stocky build, and partially bald with blondish red hair.

Magno said he believes it was a random theft because only one other person knew what was inside the trailer.

"I don't think the thieves knew what they were getting," he said. "They were just taking a trailer.

Azinger, when asked about that possibility, said it's not "out of the ordinary for someone to grab a trailer when they don't know what is inside."

The car's owners are offering a $100,000 reward for information leading to its return, Magno said. Anyone with such information can call Vancouver police at 911. Or they can call Magno at 360-771-1055.

"No questions asked," he said. "We just want the car back."