An Auckland man's car was stolen before his very eyes when a "potential buyer" up and left him at an intersection during a test drive.

Mitchell Agnew, a builder, said he couldn't believe his eyes as the person test driving his $22,000 Mitsubishi Lancer Evolution III sped away from him.

The potential buyer was struggling to get the car into gear at a set of lights at the intersection of Khyber Pass Rd and Symonds St when Agnew got out to help him.

"The clutch starts playing up at the intersection, the light goes green and he misses a whole light-phase because he couldn't get it in gear.

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"This guy's going mental, acting like someone on drugs trying to force it into gear and I said, 'mate calm down, I'm going to swap with you'.

"I get out and walk around, next minute he's revving it hard and gets it into gear and takes off," Agnew told the Herald.

The stolen Mitsubishi Lancer Evolution III is worth around $22,000. Photo / Supplied
The stolen Mitsubishi Lancer Evolution III is worth around $22,000. Photo / Supplied

The two parties met at McDonald's in Greenlane - a neutral car selling spot.

Agnew had clutch issues on the way there but after partially fixing the clutch, which had a leaking slave cylinder, he accompanied the potential buyer on a test run.

The test drive was going smoothly until Agnew got out to swap places with the driver.

Following from behind, Agnew's brother, Alexander Little, watched on in horror as the potential buyer drove away without Agnew in the car.

"As he is walking around the back this guy smashes it into gear, launches the car, boosts off - I'm just like holy cr*p," Little said.

"My brother froze in the middle of the intersection. I clicked pretty quickly."

The brothers attempted to chase the thief and get the car back but failed. Photo / Supplied
The brothers attempted to chase the thief and get the car back but failed. Photo / Supplied

The brothers were quick to chase the stolen Evolution and caught up to it at another set of lights.

The pair then tried aggressively to open the car but to no avail. The car thief punched the car into reverse, almost running Agnew over as he attempted to get back into the car, and fled the scene.

The confrontation instead left Agnew with a fractured wrist.

The incident occurred on Saturday afternoon about 5.30pm and the Evolution or potential buyer had not been seen or heard from since.

The potential buyer did not answer when the Herald called the number he gave Agnew.

The stolen car was a silver Mitsubishi Lancer Evolution III, number plate HWG616. It had been registered as stolen on Carjam by the New Zealand Police.

A police spokeswoman confirmed they were called about this incident at 5.45pm on Saturday.

"Inquiries are ongoing and anyone with information in regard to the matter is asked to contact police."