The Big Bird Mystery


Have you seen this car?

When Anna Sisk Card passed away in Fauquier County in January of 2016, she may have taken with her the answer to a mystery her family has been trying to solve ever since.

Anna’s son, John Woodward, owned a bright yellow 1940 Chevy two-door Chop Top Street Rod that his small children at the time called Big Bird, which was his pride and joy. After his death in 2014, the car was housed in a detached garage on one of Anna’s rental properties in Catlett.

Upon Anna’s death, the family gathered to settle the estate and take possession of the car.

But they then discovered the garage was empty.

Stunned, the family reported the missing car to the authorities. But no trace of it has ever been found.

John Woodward, a US Marine veteran and an active volunteer for a cerebral palsy organization in Culpeper, treasured the car. Ann Mallory, John’s daughter, recalled her father refurbishing the car when she was young, and taking her and her brother Jon with him to antique car shows frequently, even traveling as far as Arizona. “While I was growing up, I didn’t know much current music, but I knew a lot of oldies from hearing them at the car shows,” she said.

One theory, according to Doris Woodward Eisel, John’s sister, was that the car was moved prior to her mother’s death. It is possible that the tenants of the rental property wanted to use the space in the garage, and her mother may have had it moved to another location close by. For this reason, Doris theorizes that the car may still be in the area; she believes Anna may have known someone in Fauquier, Rappahannock, Culpeper, or Prince William Counties who had a shelter for the car they let her use.

Or, of course, and perhaps more likely, it may have been stolen. It is still an active investigation with the Fauquier County Sheriff’s office.

The family has been told by collectors that the car, if it has been properly stored and is still in good condition, would be of great value monetarily, as it is emotionally, to his family and children. But it is so much more than that. “It’s the memories, the nostalgia. It would be like having a piece of my dad back,” said Ann, who added that she would take the car once again to car shows if it were found.

If you have seen this distinctive car, please contact Jon Woodward at 540-718-7732 or Ann Mallory at 703-618-7346. A reward is offered.

Pam Kamphuis
About Pam Kamphuis 139 Articles
Pam Kamphuis is an editor and writer for Piedmont Virginian Magazine and Piedmont Lifestyle Magazines.

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