Texas Body Shop Selflessly Restores F-150 for Orphaned Teen

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Caliber Collision restores late father's Ford F-150

As part of shop’s ‘Recycled Rides’ program, Caliber Collision restored broken 2004 truck to like-new condition. 

Our trucks and cars are more than just steel and chrome. They become an indelible part of our lives and our memories. And often they mean so much more than just a means of transportation. They become an extension of the driver himself. This couldn’t be more true in the case of Daniel Alcantara Jr.

In 2011, Alcantara’s parents Daniel Alcantara and Juana Lopez were tragically killed in what was described as a “wrong place, wrong time” shooting in Florida. His parents had worked hard to provide for their three children: Daniel, Cristian, and Elizabeth Montes. The house was sold, and their lives were soon uprooted. The 2004 Ford F-150 was all that Alcantara had to remember his dad.

Caliber Collision restores late father's Ford F-150

Following their parents’ death, Montes and her brothers to moved Texas to live with their aunt. They made the drive in the F-150.

Three years ago, the beloved truck ran into some problems. When they found out it needed a new engine costing about $3,000, it was simply not possible to keep it running. But Alcantara was undeterred. He sold candy and saved all his money hoping to repair his father’s pride and joy.

“This truck, our dad’s truck, he wanted it to be a tribute,” Montes told Austin 360.

What Alcantara didn’t know is that people in his community, including his teachers and family, had reached out to Austin-based Caliber Collision to repair the truck. Caliber has a program called “Recycled Rides” where they partner with local companies to get distressed rides back on the road.

Caliber Collision restores late father's Ford F-150

The team at Caliber had a lot to undertake to get the ’04 truck running.

“It was rough,” Jon Webber of Caliber told Austin 360. “The paint was peeling, it had been in a fender bender or two, it no longer ran. It needed new brakes, an engine, the transmission rebuilt, a new paint job, windows re-tinted and body work.” But they knew how important this particular truck is. “The sentimental value of belonging to his father is worth its weight in gold,” he said of the F-150 truck, which is pictured below prior to its restoration.

Recently, the crew at Caliber joined members of the community to surprise Alcantara with the back-to-new truck. He was shocked, of course. But he was deeply thankful, emotional, and thrilled to once again see his dad’s truck as he remembered it. They brought back the truck, and with it, a piece of his father.

 

‘The sentimental value of [the F-150] belonging to his father is worth its weight in gold.’

 

Alcantara remembers his father riding proud in the truck, a tradition he carried on to his son. “He would let me drive a little bit,” said Alcantara.

Caliber has even offered Alcantara–an aspiring mechanic who is taking auto shop classes–a job in the shop to help him get experience.

We are so impressed with the Austin truck community for coming together for this unforgettable and wonderful gift.

“It’s something that I’m never going to forget,” Montes told the local press. “He’s been saving up for it for a long time. This was a dream come true.”

Yes, our trucks are a lot more than just steel and chrome.

Photos: Austin 360

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Longtime automotive journalist S.J. Bryan has been covering the automotive industry for over five years and is an editor with Ford Truck Enthusiasts and regular contributor to F-150 Online, Harley-Davidson Forums, and The Mustang Source, among other popular auto sites.

Bryan first discovered her passion for all things automotive riding in her parent's 1968 Ford Mustang. The automotive expert cut her teeth growing up riding on Harleys, and her first car was a Chevy Nova. Despite her lead foot, Bryan has yet to receive a speeding ticket.

The award-winning former playwright was first published at age 18. She has worked extensively as a writer and editor for a number of lifestyle and pop culture publications. The diehard gearhead is a big fan of American muscle cars, sixth-gen Ford trucks, and Oxford commas.

S.J. can be reached at [email protected]

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