By Ben Walley
This Thunderbird is go! And it’s bringing back happy childhood memories for one grandad.
Ezra Hostetler’s five grown-up children decided to treat him to a gift of a lifetime by buying him a 1973 Ford Thunderbird, the first car he ever bought as a 15-year-old in 1979.
Ezra, now 54 and with grey hair and beard, was stunned as one of his sons drove the car onto his front lawn.
The delighted grandad hopped into the car to feel the familiar steering wheel and gear stick.
After buying his first Thunderbird for $900 in 1979, he wanted to buy another one in 2014 but was not able to find a suitable one.
So in recognition of all he had done for them, his five children Abraham, Samantha, Jolene, Jaclyn and Stephanie got together to buy him the piece of his childhood.
Stephanie caught the moment Ezra, from Middleburg in Pennsylvania, USA, saw the car on camera.
Stephanie, who now lives in Williamsport, Pennsylvania, said: “My dad originally found the car for sale online and wanted to buy it himself.
“He decided not to because he didn’t think it was a wise financial decision.
“But my brother called the man who was selling it and told him we wanted to buy it. At first he said he had already found a buyer, but a few days later he called us and told us that deal fell through and the car was available again.
“It was almost exactly the same as the first car he ever bought when he was 15.
“He had no clue we were going to get it for him, but a few hours after getting it he mentioned to me he was secretly hoping my brother would get him the car.
“Seeing the joy on my dad’s face and watching him relive his childhood was a feeling I can’t describe.
“I don’t see my dad cry much, but once he realised what we did, he grabbed my mum and hugged her tight and was just overwhelmed with emotion.
“He did so much for us as we were growing up so it was fantastic to be able to give something back.”
Sadly, only two weeks after receiving the car, Ezra had a mini stroke, followed by a larger one a few days later, which has prevented him from driving the Thunderbird.
His family is hoping he will make a full recovery to be able to drive it and to decide on the renovations to it.