Award-winning ’37 car stolen from Albuquerque business

ALBUQUERQUE, NM (KRQE) – An award-winning show car from the 1930s, locked tight inside a trailer, was stolen in the middle of the night right outside a gated Albuquerque business. The owner hopes someone will see it and get it back home to him.

Fixing up cars became a passion for Porfie Maldonado from a young age. He eventually opened his own shop and on his own time, refurbishes the classics.

“They’re $100,000 easy, you put into these cars. They’re done up right. I do a lot of my stuff original,” said Maldonado, who owns Reflective Auto Collision in Albuquerque. “I build these all the time and it takes a lot of money and stuff. We work hard for this. It’s not given.”

One of his favorites is a 1937 Business Man coupe. It started as a paint job about 10 years ago and became so much more.

“I bought it, we restored it,” said Maldonado. “It ended up being a show car and I’ve had it for quite a while. I entered it in a lot of shows. Pretty much won a lot of Best-in-Shows.”

As he builds his own home garage, he temporarily stored it in a locked trailer at his auto shop near I-25 and Gibson. On Tuesday morning, an employee discovered it was taken in the middle of the night.

“He comes and tells me, ‘your trailer is gone. It’s gone.’ And I said, ‘what do you mean it’s gone?’” recalled Maldonado. He said, ‘your trailer,’ and I was like, ‘what trailer?’ ‘Your white trailer,’ and I said, ‘my white trailer, that’s my enclosed trailer.’”

Now, all that remains are the tire tracks in the dirt, the pieces of broken locks strewn about, and overwhelming frustration. “Everybody is getting their car stolen, their house broken into, and they’re not doing nothing. The cops, APD didn’t even do a police report or anything out here, just through the phone,” said Maldonado.

Maldonado says it’s also not the first time the shop has been targeted by thieves — and he’s fed up. In the past, they’ve stolen everything from tires to parts, and now, a classic car and trailer, which he says, would’ve taken a long time to get out.

“They’ve been in my shop,” said Maldonado. “They’ve cut my fence three or four times, stolen parts from me, everything else.”

He even put up a wrought iron fence around the business and installed cameras and alarm systems but nothing has deterred the crooks. Unfortunately, this trailer and car were just out of sight of the outdoor cameras.

Now, he says his last hope is someone will either have camera footage of the thieves or someone will spot the recognizable car or trailer and report it. “I’m getting chills right now just hearing that,” said Maldonado. “I hope I get it back. That was my baby.”

Maldonado says this car — along with many others he works on — cost more than $100,000 to fix up and show — much of it, his life’s work. If anyone spots Maldonado’s car, they can call 242-COPS or call the Reflective Auto Collision shop at 505-265-8010. They can also reach Maldonado directly at 505-417-6569.

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