Photos by Larry Edsall
The organizing committee of the Arizona Concours d’Elegance didn’t just parade out a bunch of classic cars and generate a lot of money for Make-A-Wish Arizona. The various members put their muscle and their own money where their mouths were and pitched in to make a very unusual — and expensive — wish come true.
There on the immaculate lawns within the Arizona Biltmore resort hotel, parked right among all the gleaming pre-war classics and exotic post-war sports cars, was a hoodless, bumperless, windowless, sort of matte and muted blue 1941 Chevrolet Coupe Special Deluxe. This was the wish in progress.
Most Make-A-Wish wishes can be fulfilled for a few thousand dollars, and in two years the concours has funded quite a few of them. But the concours committee decided to push way beyond Make-A-Wish’s $7,000 limit to make Jesus Bustillos’ wish come true. That wish was to undertake and complete the restoration of the car Jesus’ father had given him as part of his motivation to defeat the cancer that had stricken the teenager.
Committee members pitched in as did Marty and Susan Schreiber of N2HotRods of Queen Creek, Arizona, several of N2’s parts suppliers, and others. For example, J.D. Donaldson, who showed his 1965 Shelby Cobra 289 at the concours, took on the restoration of the ’41 Chevy’s very unusual steering wheel, which allows the car to be steered simply by moving a bar in the lower half of the wheel.
Though the car wasn’t quite finished in time for the concours, Jesus and the Bustillos family were invited to the Biltmore to see how the car was progressing.
When the car cover was removed, everyone was pleased, especially Jesus.
The car is coming along quite well, it seems. More importantly, so is Jesus.
And the restoration of Jesus’ car wasn’t the only way the concours was reaching out to the next-generation of car enthusiasts. A group of Make-A-Wish youngsters were invited to select their favorite car, technically the car which they thought was the coolest, prettiest, and the one in which they most would like to ride. They selected Bill and Linda Pope’s sleek 1953 Jaguar XK120C. It was the second year in a row that one of the Popes’ cars had been favored by the Make-A-Wish youngsters.
And Hagerty, the insurance and vehicle valuation guide publisher, also staged one of its Hagerty Youth Judges programs at the concours, with teens and pre-teens awarding their honors to a 1904 Mitchell and a 1968 Lamborghini P400 Miura and their top trophy to a 1927 Marmon E-75 Speedster.