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After 46 years, U.S. Customs agents reunite Florida man with stolen Jaguar E-Type

Automotive thefts are rarely success stories, but for one Florida man, things turned out a bit differently.

In 1968, a lawyer named Ivan Schneider won a big case and wanted to celebrate. With a mark in the win column and $5,000 in his pocket, Schneider walked into a Jaguar dealership to buy his dream car: a metallic gray E-Type convertible.

For six jubilant months, he whirled the topless Jag around the streets of New York, but his joy was unfortunately short-lived. As he left his Manhattan apartment one day, Schneider found that the E-Type had been stolen.

“I was heartbroken to say the least,” he said in a video news conference.

As the weeks, months, and years rolled by, hope of his vehicle’s recovery dwindled, and Schneider was forced to move on.

“I have had a lot of great cars since then,” he continued, “but none has been as pretty.”

Last month, however, Schneider’s calamity became a success story.

During a routine inspection in Los Angeles, U.S. Customs agents found the classic sports car stashed away in a container ship headed for Holland. Schneider promptly received a call from the National Insurance Crime Bureau, who informed him that his precious Jag was coming home.

“I couldn’t believe it,” he said. “I’m sitting here talking to you now and I still can’t believe it. It’s a miracle.”

Related: Jaguar Lightweight E-Type resurrected by brand’s heritage division

The E-Type, which had since been painted white, was part of a cache which included a 1976 Mercedes 280, a 1969 Chevrolet Corvette, a 2014 Chevrolet Camaro ZR1, and a 2007 Mercedes E350. The thief is still at large.

Schneider plans to restore his Jaguar to its original condition. After 46 years and an additional 22,000 miles, the classic sports car definitely needs it.

The process will cost him around $100,000, but luckily Schneider won a few more cases before he retired. Here’s to another mark in the win column.

(Photos via Associated Press)