Reuss offers to help reunite Detroit man with '79 Vette

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A Detroit man and his beloved 1979 Corvette will be reunited after more than 30 years after General Motors' head of global product development heard the man’s story today on the radio.

George Talley, a 71-year-old GM retiree, received a call from AAA last week informing him that his long-lost Corvette had been found -- in working condition with 47,000 miles on it -- in Hattiesburg, Miss.

Talley last saw the car in July 1981, when he parked it on Jefferson Avenue in Detroit. It had been missing since.

Talley worked for five years as a test driver at GM’s proving grounds in suburban Detroit.

“I’ve always liked GM,” Talley said in an interview with Automotive News. “I really enjoyed my job there. … The proving grounds are like the GM country club.”

Talley, a longtime Corvette fan, bought his first one -- a 1968 model -- after serving in the Vietnam War. Since then, he has owned three other Corvettes -- the lost 1979 model, a 1986 model and a 2011 model.

GM product chief Mark Reuss heard Talley’s story on the radio this morning, and later offered to transport the man’s Corvette back to Detroit for him.

“I listened to you this morning,” Reuss said on the “Paul W. Smith Show” on radio station WJR. “We just had to do something.”

Talley said he was relieved when GM offered to bring back his lost car.

“It was scary finding someone” to bring it back, Talley said. “I had to go through brokers who asked for my credit card number.”

He said he is grateful to state police in Michigan and Mississippi for recovering his Corvette: “I look at it like a blessing.”

You can reach Nora Naughton at nnaughton@crain.com.


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