Toyota enthusiast Benjamin Fernandez, pictured below, owns a classic Toyota Corolla AE71, an ancestor to the new Toyota GT86. This car has been his pride and joy and he has spent years working on it to transform it from a wasted ‘beaten’ state, to the current glossy show standard you see now. His plan was to eventually give the car to his young boy so he has a car when he goes to high school. To Benjamin and to his family, the car means a lot. However, on Wednesday night on 10th July, a post was put up publicly on Facebook announcing that he is willing to let the car go – for a kidney! Read on for the full story.
Benjamin Fernandez works as a Hospice Nurse and loves working with/helping the terminally ill patients. He is just 37 years old, has a wife and a cute 2 1/2 year old boy named Wayne, but they prefer to call him Weber now, after the famous carburetor. Every morning Weber sits in the driver seat of Benjamin’s Corolla and enjoys pretending to drive for a couple of hours before breakfast!
Benjamin had purchased the classic Toyota back in 2008 from his gardener who turned up in it for work one day, as his truck had broken down. The car was in clear need of some TLC as it was in a poor condition, had faded silver paint and rotten interior. Seeing the potential it had, Benjamin offered to buy it off him. After a lot of hard work and dedication, here it is looking as good as new!
To regain the car’s former glory, parts were ordered from the Philippines, Hong Kong, Australia and Europe! He also had help from Racetoys of Walnut Ca with the engine and PJ Bonifacio Auto Design for the paint.
Being a rare car and having undergone a brilliant transformation, a number of magazines featured the car and it also won various awards including:
2009 Best Old School Corolla (Toyotafest)
2010 Featured in November Superstreet Magazine
2010 Spocom Best Old School (Japanese Category)
2011 Best Old School Corolla (Japanese Classic Car Show)
2011 Featured in Retro Cars Magazine United Kingdom
2012 Best Old School (Best of the West)
2012 2nd Best Old school Corolla (JCCS)
2012 Featured in Dayuum.com
2012 Featured in Carshype.com
2012 Slammed Society Best of Show
2012 Featured in SpeedHunters.com
2013 Featured in May Tuning Magazine Hungary Europe
Below are a few scans of one of the published articles:
As a motoring enthusiast, Benjamin has proudly taken his Corolla to various car shows and track days. Here are a few photographs:
Sadly, Benjamin has been in need of a new kidney and on a waiting list since 2011. Currently on dialysis, it is exhausting for Benjamin and he really needs to get a new kidney so he can enjoy being with his family. He is particularly looking forward to the day he can build Toyota cars with Weber! Out of the concern of not finding a donor, he announced he would be prepared to give something back to the person who could make a dramatic difference to his life – he would give them his car, as the best way he could think of to say thank-you.
The offer generated an enormous amount of publicity and in less than two days Benjamin had received over 200 emails of genuine offers of help! Receiving so many offers from these generous, brave people overwhelmed him and his family with the kindness of the public. Despite the fact that they had all been drawn to the story because of his offer, no-one who emailed him even wanted the car – his story was enough for them to offer their help without expecting nor wanting anything in return.
If you’d still like to do something to help Benjamin, you could purchase a fundraising t-shirt, pictured below, on sale from one of Benjamin’s friends in the USA. The total cost including delivery is $43.95 which works out as approx £29. (There may be a tax to pay once it gets to the UK)
For anyone interested in buying a fundraiser t-shirt to help him, please click here (you need to be a Facebook member)
Thank-you for reading!
You can follow Pinkstones Toyota on our other social media channels or visit our website: