I'm no stranger to the sting of a stolen Beetle and the joy of recovery, but I'm sure happy I didn't have to wait 40 years to get mine back like Tennessee resident Joseph MacDonald did. His Bug was stolen in 1974, and Border Control found the car in Michigan, on a railcar to Canada, from where it was going to Finland. Finland?
MacDonald bought the car used in December of 1973, when the '65 convertible Beetle was a faded red, with a black top and "shiny chrome hubcaps." It was stolen while he was at dinner almost exactly a year later, and never seen since.
That is until Border Patrol agents in Detroit examined the vehicle and its documents during an inspection of the railcar it was traveling in. Working with the National Insurance Crime Bureau, they discovered the Beetle was reported stolen way back in the early days of the Ford Administration.
Pictures show a white convertible Beetle, though if you look at the inside of the doors where the interior panels have been removed, the original red paint is visible. The car is missing an engine and seems to have acquired '67 front fenders at some point in its life as well, and it looks like the front's been rakishly lowered a bit as well.
The current owner is a Michigan resident, and contacting him may be the key to the biggest mystery of all: why send a Bug to Finland for restoration? While I'm sure there's plenty of good Finnish shops that can do it, the US is full of old Beetles and VW restoration shops. What's going on here?
Regardless, here's hoping Mr.MacDonald can get his old Bug back, and get it nice and sorted out. Maybe he knows some Finns who can lend a hand.