Last August, we brought you the story we dubbed Inspirational Vehicle: Mark's 7, in which a group of enthusiasts and forum members rallied together to complete an RX-7 build for one of their friends stricken with ALS whose condition prevented him from seeing his project through to its completion. If you missed it the first time around, check it out here. It's a great story of friends helping another friend. Sadly, we must also report that Mark, the man all those good folks rallied around, passed away in January of this year. Our belated condolences to his family and friends.
Today's feel-good story is very similar, only it took place across the Atlantic in the UK, where one Simon Pritchard was in the midst of restoring a Turbo Esprit when a series of mini-strokes put him in the hospital and his resto project in limbo. During the course of the restoration, he had joined the Lotus Esprit Forum to chat with other owners and get advice on his project car. "Big Si" (that's his handle and nickname), made some good friends there, and when he fell ill, they stepped up. Led by Andy Betts, who runs the Esprit forum, his comrades got together and secretly pooled money and time to complete the car. Even Lotus got in on the act, and the red beauty you see above is the final result. It took the gang of volunteers just 5 weeks to complete the project that was expected to take 18 months. Fast forward to a Lotus track day at Castle Combe, where Simon and friends were in attendance. Simon thought his car was tucked away in a buddy's garage having the engine worked on. He realized that wasn't the case when his car, resplendent in its newfound glory, pulled up right before his eyes. We extend a tip of the cap to everyone involved. For full details, you can read this BBC story and check out the private"Plan 'Bigsi'" section at the Lotus Esprit Forum that got it all rolling. Simon's mates recorded the big reveal when it happened, and we've embedded that footage after the jump. The thread that specifically covers the handover at Castle Combe can be found here. Well done, guys!
Thanks to all who sent tips.
[Sources: BBC, Lotus Esprit Forum]