A classic Chevy Camaro, rebuilt from the ground up by a father-son team, was stolen in broad daylight from the Safeway parking lot on West Fifth Street Thursday, while the father was across the street at a car repair shop where he works as a mechanic.

The classic, 1968 Rally Sport Camaro, now with a gleaming 500-horsepower motor, was a project shared by Doug Sanders and his son, Nathan, who together rebuilt it from top to bottom and end-to-end.

Sanders told Sonoma police he parked the car in the Safeway lot at about 7 a.m., saw it periodically from across the street but that, at about 10:30, he noticed it was gone. He thought at first some friends were playing a joke, he told police, but then realized it had been stolen. Sanders later learned that a friend had seen the car around 10:40 – minutes after it was stolen – going southbound on Broadway, but the friend couldn’t see who was driving.

According to Nathan Sanders, the gleaming black Camaro was “an ugly yellow” when his father brought it home some 10 years ago. But then, a long, slow process of transformation began.

“When I was a little kid, I always did a little work on it here and there, explained Nathan Sanders. Then, eight years later, he said, during his senior year at a Novato high school, “I needed a senior project and I thought, why not finish this car. So I spent almost every weekend of my senior year working on it with my dad, and after months and months of work we got it running, and it wasn't road worthy back then, so he put it on a trailer for my senior project and brought it to Novato one night for the senior projects presentation. Now, two years later, the car runs and drives great.”

Nathan said he and his father agreed, “we would never sell the car or trade it for anything since we had put so much heart into it. It was to be passed down generation to generation.”

Thursday, Nathan added, was the first day in a month that his father had driven the car because of knee surgery.

The car is black inside and out, with American Racing five-spoke mag wheels and a vinyl roof. The license plate number is WVC874. Anyone who sees the car should call the Sonoma Police Department at 996-3602.