PLEASANTON, Calif. - To some, the 1960 Porsche Roadster is just another car. But for Army veteran Chris Nishimura, it's his baby.
"It's a unique kind of car. You don't see too many of them," Nishimura said on Monday— Veteran's Day.
Over the weekend, his expensive and restored classic car was stolen from a car show at the Alameda County Fairgrounds in Pleasanton. Though the car is gone, Nishimura's memories remain.
He explains from his San Mateo home that the relationship started in 1972, when he saw a "for sale" listing typed on an index card. The asking price: $2,300.
It's the memories for me. I've had it so long," Nishimura said. 47 years to be exact. So long, his pictures of the 356b model Drauz Roadster range from black and white prints when the car was silver, to color and Polaroids when it was painted black.
Everything changed on Saturday when the 78-year-old veteran was attending the Goodguys Car Show.
"I mean, it's a nightmare. I'm seeing it going off in different places," Nishimura said.
The retiree had planned to drive his other classic car, but a friend convinced him to drive his beloved Porsche. That morning, he parked in a lot across from the fairground's entrance. When he returned a few hours later, he found his car gone and another in its place.
"That's not my car. I was trying to be calm. We walked in the parking lot up and down. All the rows. It wasn't there!" he said.
It took six years and three paint jobs to restore the Roadster. Nishimura said the car is valued between $125,000 and $180,000.
All that he has now is the convertible top and some spare parts for the rare model Porsche he bought for his wife.
Nishimura's wife didn't want to speak on camera, but said he may not seem upset, but he really is and that he poured his heart and soul into his vehicle, which was a family heirloom.
Nishimura has filed a police report, but doubts he will see the car again.
Goodguys Rod & Custom Association, which puts on the car show, said they are saddened that a total of three vehicles were stolen from within and around the show's grounds this weekend. All three cars were convertibles. A 1963 Impala and a 1967 Mustang were stolen in addition to the Porsche.
If he doesn't get it back, he only has one wish for his baby: "If they're going to sell it, sell it to someone who's going to take care of it."