Bumbling criminals have botched the theft of a rare Australian race car because they could not figure out how to drive it.
Raced to a world championship in 1966 by Formula 1 legend Sir Jack Brabham, the car is one of just six in the world.
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The piece of Australian motorsport history was stolen from a locked trailer at racing enthusiast Peter Williams’ Toorak home.
“You can imagine I had a pretty sick feeling at about that moment,” Williams told 7NEWS.
The BT21 is worth close to $500,000.
“I heard a bit of noise at about four o’clock so I went outside and went to the trailer and saw that it was all burst open and the car was gone,” Williams said.
Brabham racing cars do not need keys to start, however there is a complex start-up procedure and the thieves could not figure it out.
“I told my wife that the car had been pinched and about 10 minutes later the police knocked on the door,” Williams said.
“He (the police officer) said, ‘we have found your car’.”
The thieves had tried to bump start the car on a hill, which seized the gearbox.
When the car would not start, the thieves abandoned the vehicle and left it on the side of the road.
“Why people would even want to pinch something like this, because you can’t sell it,” Williams said.
“How could you sell a car like this? There are only six of them in the world.”
Police believe the thieves might have planned to ransom the car, but clumsily left fingerprints and CCTV footage.