In 1974, Joe MacDonald was living in Tennessee and had a passion for buying used Beetles, fixing them up and selling them—in other words, he was a car flipper before that was even a word. He was especially fond of a red 1965 VW Beetle convertible, which he had restored to prime condition and just couldn’t bring himself to sell. It ran “slick as a ribbon,” he recalls, and even though he’s had many Volkswagen loves in his life, he could never quite get over the loss of the “ribbon” that was stolen 40 years ago.
The clichéd saying, “If you love something, let it go, and if it returns it was meant to be” rang true for MacDonald when the car was recovered in January at Customs and Border Protection. Agents were making routine checks of the Beet’s paperwork, when it was discovered that it was the Ribbon, reported as stolen in Knoxville decades ago. A spokesman for the agency, Ken Hammond, notes that federal agents discovered the car on January 30 when it was en route from Detroit to Canada. The plan? It was going to be restored (again) in Finland.
A Reunion in the Works
There’s no word yet if MacDonald will be able to be reunited with the stolen Beetle, but he has been in contact with US Customs and Border Protection. They’ve sent him a claim form to complete, and it’s quite likely that this lifelong romance will blossom again. The Ribbon is a little worse for wear, having been repainted white years ago and showing signs of rust, wear and tear. However, just like true love, MacDonald doesn’t care about the flaws and just wants his Beetle back.
Volkswagens are known for lasting for life, boasting the title of having the most cars on the road with over 100,000 miles. In that case, MacDonald probably still has many great years with his Ribbon ahead of him. Federal agents haven’t shared how many miles she has, but since the car was being prepped for another restoration (one which MacDonald will likely be able to do himself now), it’s clear that she still has plenty of miles ahead of her.
Beetles: Today and Yesterday
Volkswagen fans still have a penchant for the classic Beetle, a machine that has a rich and long history. Today’s 2014 VW Beetle still features some touches from the past, like those lovable lines, but has been upgraded to meet modern demands of convenience and luxury. Starting at around $31,000, a brand new Beetle features a 2.0 TSI 210 HP engine, front-wheel drive, front and rear anti-roll bars, and electric power-assisted speed-sensing steering.
A radio with Sleek-Scan, audio theft deterrent, wireless streaming and 400W amplifiers turn these beloved vehicles into moving studios. Plus, with 19-inch alloy or all-season wheels, clear coat paint and chrome side window trim, they look sleeker than ever. Whether you’re a diehard vintage lover like MacDonald or prefer a more modern look, there’s a Beetle for everyone (even if it takes 40 years to get back “the one”).