A similar car to the one that was stolen, this is a 1938 Talbot-Lago T150C SS Teardrop Coupe 1 Photographed at the 2012 Marin Sonoma Concours d' Elegance. (Jack Snell/Flickr)

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This Rare 1938 Talbot-Lago is at Center of Heist Lawsuit

In 2001, a prized sports car was stolen. 15 years later, it reappeared. Who is the rightful owner?

A rare coach built 1938 Talbot-Lago T150C-SS Teardrop Coupe that was stolen in a 2001 heist has resurfaced in the garage of an Illinois collector, according to the Milwaukee Journal Sentinel.

Now, it’s at the center of a lawsuit in Wisconsin as two parties argue over who is the rightful owner of the piece of “rolling French art.”

There are a few more than a dozen of these cars in existence. But this one is the most infamous after robbers broke into a factory in Milwaukee in 2001 and successfully made off with the disassembled sports car. The Journal Sentinel reports its elderly owner, Roy Leiske, had been trying to restore the automobile since 1967. 

In the daring heist, the thieves cut Leiske’s phone lines in his house, and nabbed each of the car’s various parts and paperwork that had been hidden throughout the factory building.

Upon discovering it was stolen, it “it took a lot of wind out of his sails,” a family member told the Journal Sentinel. Leiske searched for the car until he died in 2005 at age 93. The trail went cold for years — until 2016, when TL90108, LLC, attempted to register the restored Talbot at the Department of Motor Vehicles in Illinois. The new owner, a dental magnate, paid $7 million for the car, which was imported from Europe.

Now the lawsuit begins. Who owns it? The man who purchased the vehicle in good faith? Or the estate of the owner who the car was stolen from in the first place?

Read the full story at the Milwaukee Journal Sentinel