(ABC NEWS) – Wesley Ryan’s wife and high school sweetheart, Laura Ryan, was fighting ovarian cancer when he sold his beloved 1993 white Ford Mustang GT in 2004 to pay for the medical bills related to her treatments.
Laura Ryan beat her cancer. Their children grew up. And none of them ever forgot about how much that car meant to Wesley Ryan.
Over the years, Wesley Ryan’s children, Jake and Jeni, of San Antonio, Texas, began saving their money and searching for the car in hopes of buying it back.
They eventually found the Mustang on Craigslist — the VIN matched — and bought the car. Then in September, they surprised Wesley Ryan with his beloved car.
In a video they shared with ABC News, a tow truck could be seen pulling up with the Mustang and a very surprised Wesley Ryan could be seen crying and embracing his children.
“How dare you be keeping this from me,” Wesley Ryan told his children and wife.
The story didn’t end there for the Ryans, though.
Ford Motor Co. said that when its executive chairman learned of the family’s story, he wanted to take the thoughtful act a step further by giving the car a complete makeover.
Working with Hennessey Performance — a high-end custom shop for car lovers — Ford restored Wesley Ryan’s Mustang to its former glory.
The white car got a new 2018 Coyote 5L engine, transmission, suspension, brakes as well as bodywork.
On Thursday morning, Wesley Ryan and his family were at Ford World Headquarters in Detroit, where Henry Ford III revealed the refurbished 1993 Mustang to the father.
“I never thought I’d be in this situation again,” Wesley Ryan said. “This (is) my first love, you know, car-wise. … For her to be back like this, is crazy.”
“We heard about your story and we heard about what a passionate and tight-knit family you guys are and we kind of feel the same way around here at Ford,” said Ford III, manager of Ford corporate strategy at Ford Motor Co. “Wes, I know you made a pretty big sacrifice to take care of your family. … So, this is your car. … We’re so happy to be a part of it and to be able to return it to you with, I think, some improvements that you’ll like.”
Wesley Ryan was seen in a video shared by Ford tearing up as he sat in the car he’d originally named Christine.
“It’s still her but it’s got a new heart,” he said. “I don’t know. … I’m lost for words. It’s beautiful.”
“It just goes to show how passionate our customers are about Mustang,” Ford said. “This family is such an inspiration to all of us.”