73-year-old Kathleen Brooke from California has had a very rough life with plenty of roadblocks. The brave woman survived breast cancer no less than three times but she always kept going, no matter what.
A very important part of her life has always been Annie, which is what she calls her adorable red Volkswagen Beetle.
In fact, Kathleen has had the iconic car for over fifty years, which by itself is absolutely amazing if you think about it. She has made so many memories in that car and it’s just as if the four-wheeler is a part of the family.
“I’ve said many times she and I are so much alike because she’s old, she’s faded, she’s dinged, she’s dented, she’s rusted, but you know what? She keeps running. And as long as I take as good care of her as I can, she’s going to continue to run,” Kathleen said to YouCar.
However, after over half a century, it seemed like the car didn’t have any life left in her.
Kathleen did her absolute best to keep the car in tiptop condition, but the 52-year-old engine just couldn’t handle it anymore.
While the Volkswagen Beetle has aged quite well at a first glance, the engine was barely running, the exterior was damaged and a large part of the body was rusted.
Normally, Kathleen would have to say goodbye to her car and get a replacement, but something else happened entirely.
Somehow, the Volkswagen division of North America heard about Kathleen and Annie’s special story and bond. They decided to give her a surprise.
The people from Volkswagen were more than happy to do a favor for such a loyal customer.
They made her a heartwarming offer: instead of sending Annie to the vehicle graveyard, they wanted to restore the car as if it were new – completely free of charge.
Kathleen was absolutely overjoyed, even though she became somewhat emotional when she saw the car headed towards the garage for a complete makeover. The car was being sent towards a factory/garage in Mexico, where a team of engineers did their absolute best to restore the car back to its former glory.
The whole process nearly took a year, but it was absolutely worth it.
Of course, the car still had to stay the same – otherwise, it wouldn’t be Annie. Nonetheless, they needed to replace parts of the body that were damaged or rusted, and the engine practically had to be rebuilt from scratch. The entire wiring was redone and the transmission was replaced.
The interior of the car received a much-needed overhaul as well. The carpets were in terrible shape, but if you look inside the car now, you’d think it was brand new. The stereo system received a hardware upgrade with AM/FM and Bluetooth, and the loyal red color has been given the shine and polish that still makes it stand out from a crowd.
Even the vintage Volkswagen logo on the back of the car is now shinier than ever.
Augusto Zamudio, who worked as the project manager on this car, was happy that the entire team could make a difference in Kathleen’s life.
“This was a labor of love for all of us,” he said. “It was emotional to see Annie go after all the time we have spent working on her, but we are happy Kathleen and her can be reunited.
Kathleen and Annie were reunited after eleven months in what can only be described as an emotional moment.
“Ohhh, she sounds good!” Kathleen says with her eyes closed, while the car pulls up behind her.
Her reaction was absolutely amazing as she burst into tears and said hello to her restored car. Kathleen had to miss Annie for the better part of a year, but it looks like they can spend a whole lot more time together now.
What an amazing gesture!
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