California police recover stolen Terraplane once owned by Amelia Earhart

Amelia Earhart’s plane has been found. Before you shout that from a rooftop and completely embarrass yourself, read on. We’re talking about Earhart’s car, which was a Terraplane.

Although the news isn’t quite as stunning as discovering the legendary pilot’s missing Lockheed Electra Model 10 would be, Jim Somers is celebrating the safe return of a rare 1932 Hudson Essex Terraplane that once belonged to the aviation pioneer. The car was stolen from a California parking lot last week and remained missing for four days before it was spotted in Los Angeles. Orange County Police recovered the vehicle on February 26 and returned it to Somers the following day.

“Fortunately we found the car… I can’t express how happy I am about this,” Somers told Inside Edition. The former top-fuel drag racer said he bought the Terraplane in 1986 for $9000 and spent $15,000 on cosmetic and engine work. He now values the car at $500,000.

Earhart helped promote the new 1932 Terraplane models after becoming the first female pilot to fly solo across the Atlantic Ocean, and she was given one of the cars to keep. Five years later, on July 2, 1937, Earhart went missing somewhere over the Pacific Ocean while attempting to fly around the world in her Lockheed Electra. Earhart, navigator Fred Noonan, and the plane were never found.

Somers, 78, told CBS Los Angeles that he loaded the green-and-black Terraplane into a trailer in preparation for an upcoming car show, and it was parked in an industrial park when it was stolen. Orange Police released surveillance video Monday showing a white truck that they believe was involved in the theft. The Terraplane was later abandoned after media reports began to circulate. A television viewer saw the car parked in the El Sereno neighborhood and called police. No arrests have been made.

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