It must have been so easy to steal a car 40 years ago. There were no car alarms, street wheel locks, or even locking hood latches. You could literally walk up to almost any car in a parking lot with a screwdriver and drive off without anybody thinking twice. Recovering a stolen car was almost impossible, especially given the ease and frequency with which VIN numbers were swiped. While many of these vehicles surely headed to the scrapyard, many others went on to lead somewhat-normal lives in the hands of guilty or unsuspecting owners.

Every now and then, one of these cars even makes its way back to the original owner, as is the case with Bridgette Bjorkquist’s 1965 Mustang. It was stolen 40 years ago in Los Angeles reports the Mercury News, and just around New Years the California Highway Patrol called Bjrokquist to tell her they had recovered her car.

The car had been stolen back in 1971 while Bjorkquist, a San Diego resident, was off in Palm Springs. She came back to find the car had been swiped from her residence, and resigned herself to never seeing the car (which she bought in ’69) again. What happened in those intervening decades is anybody’s guest, but last year a man bought the car and shipped it out to Nevada, where it underwent a year-long restoration.

After the restoration though, the new owner noticed some old maroon paint on the inside of the car, and brought it to the CHP for inspection. The CHP discovered that the internal VIN numbers hidden inside the car did not match the numbers on the registration numbers, and soon discovered that the car had been stolen. The CHP contacted Bjrokquist who “almost fell over” when she head the news. Certainly not the kind of phone call one expects to get 40 years later, but welcome news none-the-less. Who wouldn’t want their old Mustang back, and freshly restored at that!