Justin was born in 1988 with Bronchial Pulmonary Displasia as a result of a premature twin birth. This caused the death of his brother as well as years in and out of hospitals and surgeries to help make his life better. In November 2004, while undergoing physical therapy for pulmonary rehabilitation, Cecilia who worked in the rehab clinic and was a Make-A-Wish volunteer, informed Justin's mom that he was medically eligible for a wish experience from the Make-A-Wish Foundation of Michigan.
Justin had been working on his 1951 Ford pickup truck for three years by this time and decided that he wanted his wish to be finishing the body work on his truck. Justin would not have been able to do most of the body work on his truck, due to the many chemicals that would be needed that may harm his lungs. Make-A-Wish cannot actually buy a new vehicle for someone, due to high costs, and since Justin already had his vehicle he didn't need a new one, so he decided that having the body work done would be best.
Cecilia was assigned as Justin's Make-A-Wish volunteer and came to the house in the early winter of 2005 to discuss his wish. After deciding on his wish, the Make-A-Wish Foundation began researching various options and leads to help fulfill his wish. Almost a year later, Cecilia had begun working with Alyssa who is now his wish granter. The good news arrived that Washtenaw Community College was on board to help make Justin's wish become a reality. Gary Sobbry, head of the auto department at Washtenaw Community College, contacted Justin and his family and informed them that they would be happy to assist with Justin's wish with one exception: they would not only do the body work, but, they wanted to fix his entire truck.
In 1975 Justin's Grandpa bought an old 1951 Ford Pickup truck. Justin's Dad, Grandpa, and Uncle Dave worked together to restore the truck and by 1978, they had it running and usable. In 1981 Justin's Dad took the woman who would later become his wife and Justin's mom to her Senior year Junior Senior Banquet. Later that year, in August , Justin's dad's family moved to California and the truck was parked in the backyard where it stayed from the time that they left, until Justin decided to fix it up around 2002. At that time, they pulled it out of the yard where it had sunk into the ground and took it to Justin's other Grandfather's house to put in the barn. From this time on Justin and his Grandpa spent a lot of time just trying to find ways to get parts off that couldn't be saved. For Christmas 2004, Justin received a new engine for his truck. It had been completely rebuilt and came from a model that was very close to his own. Now he had something to really work on. He and his grandpa spent many hours taking the old engine out and preparing it to put his new one in. Then he found out that they were going to do the body work on his truck so he got even busier working on his truck so that it would be ready when they were ready. But that's not an issue anymore!
The Next Step:
Justin's truck is going to be picked up and taken to Washtenaw Community College on Saturday, February 11. As of now the changes that will be made, will be to put in a 4.6 Liter Ford Cobra Supercharged engine with almost 400 horsepower with a 6 speed manual transmission. He will also be putting on Goodyear Super Car Tires, rear 12" and front 10". Also, he will maintain the old '51 body and appearance. He wants his truck to appear to be just a restored old Ford pickup.
Some features that are still possibilities but have not been decided on yet are: a GPS system, DVD Player, possible video game system, stereo, center console, bucket seats, coil over suspension, finishing the bed, shaved door handles, chopped roof and suede interior. He is still undecided about the interior and exterior colors.
Check for later postings to find updates on the progress of the restoration of this truck! It should be done around July 2006, and after that if it appears in shows, etc. those will be posted as well.