I got mixed feelings on this one.
1. It is cool as f.
2. Do you leave it as is?
3. Do you restore it back to the condition it was in, during filming the movie?
It was a daily driver for years after it was a movie car and has definitely degraded since filming. The article says that Steve McQueen bugged the owner for years to sell it to him, and finally gave up. The owner died with never doing a f.n thing to the car after holding on to it for over 40 years and letting it deteriorate to the point it was undrivable. Kind of a waste.
Based on the fact that it was driven and not cared for over a period of 40 years I say restore it back to it's condition during filming.
Why leave it in the dilapidated condition brought about by the previous owner?
I can see both sides to this one. He clearly should have looked for the owner before taking it and got something in writing as a Bill of Sale before taking it off the property, he claims he had permission. He may have got permission from the son, who had the same name as the owner. The whole thing smells fishy on both sides.
The owner clearly never had any intention of doing anything with this hulk either, and was not interested in the van at all until it was restored and worth something. Also, leaving a title in a vehicle and leaving it in a field for 30 years, is the same as abandoning it, in my book.
The lawyers get rich, and the van ends up worse than it was before when it was wrecked sitting in the field. Such a shame............
The only thing that makes this van valuable is the paperwork that proves it was the original to the movie, and the guy that took the van and restored it didn't have that paper trail. If he wasn't going to get the paperwork, why he started with that hulk, I don't know, he should have just bought one from a junkyard. He took his risk dumping money into it. It is pretty obvious to me, he was the one that stripped it.