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Stolen Car Returned, 37 Years Later

The last time Alan Poster saw his dream car, he was young and it was blue.

A lot has changed over the decades; the look of the corvette, the look of Poster, too. But one thing held constant: Poster never stopped loving his Corvette, CBS News correspondent Bill Whitaker reports.

"It's a dream. Wow, this is a beautiful model," Poster said as customs officials and others unveiled the 1968 sports car.

"This is definitely a miracle," Poster said. "Because in speaking to the police, the odds of them finding me were a million to one."

"It's amazing, beyond belief," he

co-anchor Julie Chen on The Early Show Wednesday. "To have this come full-circle after 37 years is absolutely amazing. I'm pinching myself."

Poster said he won't drive the car much, he has his own Mercedes, but he is glad to have it back in his collection.

At a Tuesday press conference where

, Poster quipped, "Imagine if we all got back what we all lost. Imagine how many socks we would have."

As a 26-year-old living in Queens, Alan Poster had bought the car as an indulgence in late 1968 in the aftermath of a divorce, he told The New York Times in its Tuesday edition. In January 1969, the car he'd paid $6,000 for only three months earlier was stolen from a parking garage on 23rd Street in Manhattan. Poster had not insured it against theft because he could not afford to do so.

The once blue car is now silver, with a red interior, and it's missing some parts. But the car Poster paid $6,000 for back in 1968 is worth anywhere from $20,000 to $60,000 today, a Florida classic Corvette dealer told The Times.

Poster went on with his life, eventually moving to Northern California.

His car also ended up in California. A collector in Long Beach, Calif., was selling to a buyer in Sweden when Customs officials discovered the car's status in December. The collector isn't suspected of any wrongdoing.

A routine customs check of the National Insurance Crime Bureau database showed that the car had been reported stolen on Jan. 22, 1969, but there was no address for the owner.

Nobody knows where the car had been or how many hands it had passed through. While it appeared in perfect condition, some things had changed. It was silver with a red interior, had a different engine, lacked a gas tank, and its transmission had been stolen from another car.

The car was seized and New York police notified. Two detectives spent days poring over microfilmed files until they found the report. They also managed to track down Poster and notify him that his long-lost Corvette had been found.

"The odds against finding it so many years afterward were phenomenal," said Mike Fleming, a spokesman for the U.S. Department of Homeland Security.

No arrests were made in connection with the theft either of the car or the transmission, Fleming said.

Poster, meanwhile, is overjoyed.

"This car was probably the last car I ever really (loved)," said Poster, 63. "It was the hottest thing around."

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