Man and dog die in car
James Rogers 72, and his dog died after the locks in his Corvette malfunctioned. Rogers family via 12 News

A 72-year-old man and his pet dog have died from heat exhaustion after he became locked inside his dream car.

James Rogers, from Port Arthur, Texas, was trapped inside his 2007 Corvette with his dog, when the lock system malfunctioned.

He had stopped for coffee at a Waffle House and later went back to the car park to check on Leia.

Investigators believe a cable to the Corvette's battery became loose after Mr Rogers got in and shut the door, leaving the vehicle without any power to operate the horn, windows or door locks.

He had left his phone inside the restaurant, and was unable to call for help. Four hours later another customer at the restaurant alerted emergency services as temperatures reached above 90F (32.2C).

A fire-fighter eventually broke a window, but Mr Rogers and his dog were already dead.

Mr Rogers' daughter, Tricia Hernandez, told 12News police had said there was evidence he had struggled to get out of the car.

He is survived by three children and five grandchildren.

The Corvette has a manual release on the floorboard by the driver's seat, but Mr Rogers was not aware of it.

The accident is not uncommon for some Corvette models and a low battery or a low key fob battery can cause the locks to malfunction.