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Thieves Steal 106-yr-old Man’s 1956 Cadillac… Then Return It

There's no shortage of unusual stories in the auto industry, but here and there we find some that are simply astounding. Which brings us to the story of a 106-year-old WWII vet in Sacramento who had his 1956 Cadillac Eldorado stolen last Friday.

On January 17, Curly Bunfill's car was reported stolen. The Caddy had been in his garage, but with the keys inside it. When his house was robbed, the thieves took advantage of the opportunity to get away with the beautiful classic convertible.

A $7,000 reward was offered to find the car, but that amount was never paid out. Why? Because the car turned up at a police station in Sacramento, California a few days later. It was simply returned and appeared undamaged.

In itself, getting your car stolen at the age of 106 is a pretty incredible story. But that story doesn't end there, however, because beyond the age of its owner, the story of the car and its former owner adds a further twist to it.

Curly Bunfill
Curly Bunfill

In fact, the Cadillac was once owned by famed actress Rita Hayworth. The Hollywood legend had left it to Curly Bunfill on her death in 1987. The two had met after the war while the three-time Purple Heart recipient was working as a stuntman in Hollywood and become friends.

As to why the car was returned quickly after it was stolen, it might have to do with the fact that Rita Hayworth's name is engraved on the inside of the doors, engine compartment and trunk. Obviously, this is a car that would be difficult to keep hidden for very long.  

It’s worth noting that Rita Hayworth had a special relationship with Cadillac cars. During the 1950s, a Ghia edition had been prepared for her, one of only two ever produced. We had the opportunity to see and photograph that unique car during our visit to the Petersen Museum in Los Angeles a few years ago.

1953 Cadillac Ghia
Photo: D.Rufiange
1953 Cadillac Ghia

Having one’s car stolen at 106 years old. Now there’s something we’ve never seen before…

Rita Hayworth, in the film The Lady From Shanghai
Rita Hayworth, in the film The Lady From Shanghai