There is nothing better than a viral feel-good story – especially when it involves a Ford.
Recently, a San Antonio, Texas, man named Wesley Ryan was reunited with his 1993 Mustang GT after parting with it 17 years ago. Back in 2002, Wesley sold his beloved Fox to help keep his family afloat during his wife’s ovarian cancer treatment.
His wife, Laura, survived her battle, and she was at his side Thursday when he was reunited with the newly-restored Fox-body.
Last September, Ryan’s adult children, Jacob and Jeni, searched for the car before finally locating it. The Mustang was owned by someone within only an hour’s drive. Jake haggled with the seller, and the two finally decided on a price. Believe it or not, the title of the Mustang was still in Wesley and Laura’s name.
The car was worse for the wear, but Wesley was excited to restore the car with his son. The pair figured it would take about five years to complete the work. Ford Motor Company first heard the heartwarming story when Jake and Jeni bought the car. That’s when Ford executive chairman Bill Ford decided to get involved, and Ford contacted the family to let them know that they wanted to help fix the Mustang.
Ford would go on to donate a 5.0L Coyote engine, a new transmission, and paid for the restoration which was taken care of by Hennessey Performance out of Sealy, Texas. We also spotted some Maximum Motorsports suspension components underneath!
According to Hennessey technician Jerry Dellaportas, the Mustang was stripped, sand-blasted, underwent body work (the exterior had suffered a rear end collision), and painted its original white hue. The interior had been “trashed” due to the last owner’s attempt at transforming the Fox into a rally car.
The project took about nine months to complete, and upon completion of the project, the car was shipped up to Ford World Headquarters in Dearborn, Michigan. The family jumped on a flight and met it there. Though Wesley knew that the car was undergoing a restoration, he didn’t entirely know what the car would look like.
Holding his daughter’s hand Thursday, Wesley walked out of Ford’s doors to the car, which was hidden under a sheet. When the sheet was removed, Wesley’s hands covered his face. His overwhelming emotion was tangible.
Wesley plans to pass the restored Mustang on to his son, and the old F100 truck he has been working on will go to his daughter.
It’s incredible that all of these years later, a family that could’ve easily been broken by cancer was instead brought closer together by selflessness and love. Now, the Mustang is back where it belongs, and will hopefully be a reminder of Wesley’s selfless sacrifice, and his children’s great love for him, for years to come.