A North Carolina man’s vintage car was broken into by a bear. The animal was said to be after the food left inside the rare vehicle.
The cherry-red 1965 289 Shelby Cobra is owned by Tom Cotter from Davidson, North Carolina.
Cotter, a vintage automotive enthusiast and an author of books about collecting rare cars, traveled to Alaska earlier this July with three other Shelby Cobra owners.
During their trip through Alaska, they went through Talkeetna, Denali, Healy, Fairbanks, Paxson, Valdez and through the Whittier Tunnel without any incident.
However, during their stop in Girdwood, 38 miles south of Anchorage, a package of Fig Newtons was left inside Cotter’s car.
Cotter woke up to one of his companion’s text message saying, “I think you should get down to the parking lot as soon as possible.”
According to Cotter, he found his Cobra coated with mud and the 53-year-old vinyl top shredded open.
“There were big muddy paw prints,” he said, which enabled them to narrow down the culprit: Alaska’s notorious brown bears. The bear also left dents on the car’s delicate aluminum rear fender.
With less than 1,000 cars around the world like Cotter’s, the Shelby Cobra is currently valued between $900,000 to $1 million. But even with the damage, Cotter isn’t mad.
“It’s only a car,” he said. “And there’s nothing that can’t be fixed on this car.”
Cotter expects the damage to be covered by his insurance company.
Woody Woodruff, Cotter’s fellow traveler from Charlotte, North Carolina, was said to be the one who left the package of cookies inside Cotter’s car.
“I felt kind of bad, but Tom’s taking it well,” Woodruff said laughing as Cotter stood nearby.
Summer season is the peak time for bear and human encounters.
While Cotter’s sports car may have been damaged, others weren’t as fortunate during their encounter with a bear. In June, a 44-year-old hiker in Alaska’s South Fork Eagle River Valley was killed by a brown bear.
A member of the search party looking for the man was also mauled during their search by the bear.
Another man from Bella Coola, British Columbia was mauled by a bear outside his home. The man sustained major injuries to his head and other parts of his body but survived after driving himself to a nearby hospital.
As for Cotter, he took the whole episode in stride. “This car will forever be known as the bear Cobra.”