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1982: Rod Stewart Was Mugged, Gunman Steals His $50,000 Porsche

Music | April 26, 2020

English Rock singer Rod Stewart performs onstage at the Rosemont Horizon, Rosemont, Illinois, January 12, 1982. (Photo by Paul Natkin/Getty Images)

Rock star Rod Stewart has always been mad about cars, especially Lamborghinis and Ferraris, but having his 1977 Porsche 911 Carrera Turbo stolen in broad daylight must have left him furious. In fact the experience, in which he had to help the inept thief start the car, was so upsetting it might have been a reason Stewart fled Los Angeles for the comfort of his English homeland. An old raincoat won't ever let you down, but a crook with a gun saying "gimme your keys" will ruin your day.

Stewart loved his cars, unfortunately, he wasn't the only one (forums.pelicanparts)

As a child, Rod Stewart saw his career options very simply: soccer or music. Most kids dream of one or the other but Rod the Mod really thought those were his only two options. After not getting a call back with Brentford Football Club, he decided it was music. "Well, a musician's life is a lot easier and I can also get drunk and make music." So -- music it is. Luckily for Stewart, he was incredibly talented. Otherwise, he would have had to continue meeting girls at protests and sleeping under bridges as he did before stardom hit.

Thankfully, for Stewart, he made it big in music and the girls, money, and cars came rolling in. One particular car, a black 1977 Porsche Carrera Turbo caught the eye of a Los Angeles criminal who gave Stewart, his young daughter, and assistant the fright of their lives.  

The Dangers Of Los Angeles In the ‘70s

Stewart kept his calm but the robbery shook him up (amazon)

It was 1982, and Stewart had just finished a round of shopping with his young daughter and assistant on Hollywood’s posh Sunset Boulevard. In broad daylight, as they were about to get in the car, a gun-wielding felon demanded the keys from Stewart. Most concerned about his daughter’s safety, Stewart complied, handing the keys over without a fuss. 

Wait, How Does This Work?

A 911 Carrera Turbo can be a little tricky to start if you aren't familiar with them (rennlist)

Unfortunately for Stewart, to add insult to injury, the thief couldn’t figure out how to start the car. As Stewart told the authorities, “He came back and said, ‘I can’t start the car,’ so at gunpoint, I had to walk out on a side street with a gun in my back and get in the car and start it for him. It started on a button.” Apparently, the gun-toting criminal wasn’t familiar with the starting system of the $50,000 car.  

A Shaken Rod Stewart

The robbery pushed Stewart to move back to the relative safety of the UK (open.edu)

After the incident, Stewart didn’t speak to the press. As his secretary passed along, "He's still shook up. Wouldn't you be?" In fact, the incident rattled Stewart so much, along with the robbery of a neighbor, that the rock legend moved back to the United Kingdom for a period of time. Eventually, Stewart did return to Los Angeles only to have more automotive troubles…

Stewart’s Dodge Viper And A Disgruntled Landscaper

Stewart's actual Viper that was stolen and crashed by his former gardener (youtube)

After getting held up at gunpoint, one has to think that you’ve experienced enough car incidents for one lifetime. Unfortunately, for Stewart, America wasn’t done messing with his vehicles. In 2004, the singer told the world, "(Someone) stole my Viper. I'm not amused." The someone just so happened to be Stewart’s gardener, who took off with Stewart’s car after losing his job.

However, the previously employed criminal didn’t get far. The yellow Viper was found in a canal with more than $15,000 in damage. Still, at least Stewart got this car back. The gardener was sentenced to 11 years in prison after pleading guilty to the theft and attempted sexual battery of Stewart’s neighbor, yikes! Today, Stewart lives part-time in Beverly Hills and probably vets his gardeners and maids a bit more closely.  

Tags: 1970s Cars | Celebrity Crime | Los Angeles CA | Porsche | Rare Facts And Stories About History | Rod Stewart

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Kellar Ellsworth

Writer

Kellar Ellsworth was born and raised in Hawaii. He is an avid traveler, surfer and lover of NBA basketball. He wishes he could have grown up in the free love era!