Talk-show host Phil McGraw's pristine black 1957 Chevrolet Bel Air convertible has been stolen from a Southern California hot rod shop.
The Los Angeles County Sheriff's Department says that McGraw was driving the collector car when it broke down on Sunday and it was taken to the RODZ shop in Burbank.
The car is worth at least US$80,000 (NZ$100,000) and was stolen that night.
The RODZ auto shop is offering a US$1000 reward for information leading to the arrest and conviction of the thief and the safe return of the vehicle.
Dr Phil told USA Today that he fears the thieves might try to ship it offshore.
He said the thieves ignored a Shelby Cobra and Porsche 911 Turbo with the keys inside after breaking the locks to get into the repair yard. Then they pushed other cars out of the way just to get to the classic Chevrolet.
"You just feel violated," he said.
McGraw says detectives told him that four other classic Bel Airs have been stolen in Southern California recently, and his fear is that the car might be slipped into a shipping container and smuggled out of the country to an overseas buyer.
McGraw says he grew up craving the '57 Chevy and that he loves that car.
"I love the fins, the grille - everything about it.
"It always hit me as just right."
The vehicle had been restored as well as having improved brakes, modern tyres and a satellite radio installed.
It had been taken to the repair shop after the automatic transmission developed a slipping fault.
-AP and Fairfax NZ
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