McLoughlin behind the wheel of his restored '55 T-Bird dream car.
Classic Restoration Enterprises and Concours Parts, along with 40 other participating specialty-equipment companies, joined together at the 2007 SEMA Show to present former Port Authority Police Department sergeant John McLoughlin his dream car, a fully restored '55 Thunderbird.
One of the first officers on scene at the World Trade Center attacks, McLoughlin barely survived being buried under 30 ft. of the rubble of Tower Two for 22 hours. Once rescued, he was put in a medically-induced coma for six weeks and underwent 27 surgeries. To date, he has also endured 25 additional surgeries. Rather than allow doctors to amputate his legs, McLoughlin fought to walk.
Classic Restoration Enterprises owner Melvin Benzaquen volunteered to cover the costs of the project, with Concours Parts and SEMA council ARMO (Automotive Restoration Market Organization) working to secure parts and materials.
“When McLoughlin came in and I heard his stories, it truly touched my heart,” Benzaquen said. “Then I took one look at the car of his dreams and the condition it was in and realized not only had he been swindled, but it was a driving time bomb. I knew right then and there that we should get involved.”
Additional sponsors included: Ariani Wheels, ARP, Auto Custom Carpets, AVS Airbagparts.com, Classic Consoles, Coker Tire, Crane Cams, Delta Tech Industries, Edelbrock Corporation, Flaming River, Flanagan Design & Display, Freeman, Global Accessories, Holley, Hot Rod Air, Keystone Automotive, Larry’s T-Bird, Lizard Skin, March Performance Pulleys, Master Power Brakes, Metro Molded Parts, Milodon, Moser Engineering, Optima, Painless Performance, Phoenix Transmissions, PPG, Rostra Precision Controls, Royal Purple, RPM Performance Engines, SPAL USA, Sunpro and Weatherly Classique Cars.
For more about the Automotive Restoration Market Organization, please visit www.sema.org/armo.
McLoughlin stands with Melvin Benzaquen (center), owner of Classic Restoration Enterprises, and SEMA President Chris Kersting (right), after presenting Benzaquen with a gift—a cross made from support beams of the Twin Towers.