Harry Donovan's 1967 Ford Mustang is as flawless as any early pony car can be. But beneath its brilliant color is the heartbreaking story of a 96-year veteran of World War II trying to honor his deceased wife, who by a heroin user who stole his car, and a community of selfless strangers who – almost afterward a decade – made this man healthy again.
The short story is a rousing performance for Donovan, a resident of Indianapolis who bought the Mustang for his wife Marie in 1969 and wanted to keep the two-tone hardtop for the family. An on-site shop took 18 months to get the car out of its rusted, curved frame rails, a job that could easily cost $ 75,000. Donovan did not pay a dime.
Various businesses raised their hands to restore the car. Donovan selected Ken Mosier, manager of The Finer Details in Danville, for this job. Last Saturday, Mosier invited Donovan to the store for a routine check-up. Then they tore off the cover, revealing Donovan's Mustang in his original Candy Apple Red, which was done to perfection.
"He was in tears," Mosier told Fox News.
Veteran groups, family, neighbors, mechanics and journalists – including those in the Indianapolis Star who broke Donovan's plight in 2016 and since then traveled – donated time and money Money to get the car thief and bring the Mustang back to its original glory. A Gofundme account brought in more than $ 23,000. According to the star, a 10-year-old boy spent over $ 170 on his savings.
Originally, Donovan Dennis Lee, who had worked on some of his other cars, had been commissioned to begin a restoration in 2009 Lee takes his time. After years of back and forth emails, letters, and phone calls, Lee had done nothing but abuse heroin, sell the parts of the car, and betrayed a senior citizen of more than $ 10,000. In 2012, he threw the scrapped Mustang at a friend's home and interrupted all communications.
Donovan's car was stolen after all reports. The Indianapolis Metropolitan Police did not see it that way, nor did his insurance company. He and his family spent the next four years tracking down Lee, who was arrested in 2014 for heroin possession. Everything seemed lost. Then in 2016, the star began to run a series of investigative stories and a retired police officer found his Mustang. Donovan came closer.
A few weeks earlier, Lee was charged with theft of crimes and sentenced to 545 days in prison. He also has to repay Donovan more than $ 15,000, which the former B-17 pilot promised to donate to other veterans. Mosier and seven employees – Justin Bliss, Nick Comella, Scott Dowdy, David Engle, Allie Miner, Sean Nuss and Jay Webb – worked on the Mustang, most of which worked for 1500 hours without pay.
"They have worked their butts off," he said. "Many of them are local people who helped, we had to replace everything on the car."
The Mustang is more comfortable and better to drive than new. Instead of the original six-cylinder, Mosier's shop built a 302-cubic-inch V-8, disc brakes, power steering – and Donovan's largest requirement, a stereo system.
"Thanks to everyone," Donovan told the Star at Saturday's Unveiling. "I love you all."