Look, if you’re the sort of person that can’t bear for people to see you tearing up a little then best move on to another story. Because I’m not going to lie to you, this is a tale made of highly potent industrial-grade hartwarmium. It’s about the love and loss of a 1985 Toyota Supra, and the love and determination of a son to make his father very happy.

(Dalan Ruttan)

The son is 26 year-old Dalan Ruttan, and I’ll let him give some background in his own words:

A little history on our family: My mom and Dad were newly married and looking to purchase their first house in the summer of 1991 In Victoria BC. At this same time my mother was pregnant with me and to add to it all my dad had finally found the car of his dreams in a local car dealership: 1985 Toyota Celica Supra in Super White, Sunroof, with Terracotta (maroon) interior.

To make a long story short, my mom got the house she wanted, my dad got the car he dreamed of ( he literally had pictures of this supra around his office for years before he bought this one ) and they both got a new baby boy. Me.

All this happened close to each other in summer of 1991. My dad took great care of his Supra. I remember fondly washing his car and especially the rims ( there were so many crevices!) as a young boy. I believe this car was one of the biggest attributes to me becoming a “car guy.”

Sounds great, right? Well, it was, until it very much wasn’t:

Unfortunately when i was just 15 years old my Dad got into a bad car accident. He was coming home from work one night around 8-9pm on a weekday, I believe. He was driving down Shelbourne (a major street ) enjoying his drive listing to his new CD David Grey - life in Slow Motion, when he was t-boned by someone who decided to try and race across the 4 lanes of traffic since they thought it was clear.

The reports say he was going around 100-120kmph from what i was told. they were in an Acura Integra, and they hit the passenger door square on, causing the door to crush all the way into the middle of the Supra. This pushed dad into on coming traffic where he was hit by a Jeep on the driver’s rear quarter and spun him around and flipped upside down. Now these old Supras don’t have airbags, but were built to last and the paramedics said that if he was in any other car he would have been dead.


So, the dream Supra was gone. Dalan’s dad talked about the car often and quite clearly missed it. At some point after hearing his dad talk about the Supra, Dalan told his father that one day, he’d build him a new one.

Dalan never really forgot what he told his father about the Supra, and the idea stayed in the back of his mind for years. About five years ago, Dalan started to get serious about actually making it happen, and began the hunt for a suitable Supra.

The Supra, in mid-restoration (Dalan Ruttan)

One was found; the engine and drivetrain were rebuilt, but the body was found to be too rusty to be usable, so the project stalled. Then, in September 2015, Dalan found an ideal candidate: a white 1986 Supra.


This Supra had a burned valve and needed a head job, which was just the beginning of what would be a lot of work on the car. A new motor was built, and the entire car was cleaned, repaired, restored, refreshed—whatever it took to get it as close to his father’s old Supra that died so long ago.

I’m just a sucker for a good engine picture (Dalan Ruttan)

The plan was for Dalan to give his dad the car on Christmas, but there was too much work to finish in time, so they had it ready by January 20th. Here’s how it finally happened:

So we planned to surprise dad on christmas but it ended up not being ready till just last saturday Jan 20th. Friday night my wife and i woke up at 3 am, we pushed out the other three cars in our driveway and went to get the supra we had put so many hours into and loved so much for our dad. We cleaned it quickly that night at around 4 am under a streetlight and rolled it into the driveway. I stayed up all night waiting for my parents to wake up. Once they did (around 9 am) i gathered them up quick and gave Dad his christmas present i said had come in the mail late.

The present was a heartfelt card, a couple of chocolates ( to throw him off) and the owners manual he would have gotten when he first bought his car. I even had the same car tag the dealership had on his first set of keys. When my dad opened it he was very confused...We even had the exact CD that was in the car during the accident in the cd player. The only difference is it is 5-speed now instead of automatic.

... when dad sees his car his brain couldn’t explain how it got there. and he just got in it and everything was exactly how it was before and so familiar he turned it on and just about put it thought the garage door...it took about 2-3 days for it to finally sink in what we did for him.


Of course, there’s video:

What an amazing gift, right? Nobody better bitch about the vertically-oriented video, because, come on. This is great.


Now I just have to convince my seven-year-old that if anything happens to my old Beetle, he has to pull something off like this, too.

Senior Editor, Jalopnik • Running: 1973 VW Beetle, 2006 Scion xB, 1990 Nissan Pao, 1991 Yugo GV Plus • Not-so-running: 1973 Reliant Scimitar, 1977 Dodge Tioga RV (also, buy my book!)

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