Utah Man has used bionic hand to restore cars since 1957.

Anyone who knows me knows, I grew up with no less than 8 cars on our 2 acre lot in East County San Diego.  My Dad was a part time VW/Audi/Porsche mechanic.  I grew up driving anything from a diesel Ford Ranchero, to a 1967 VW Bug to a 1978 Porche 930 Turbo Carrera.  I spent most of my childhood getting dragged to wrecking yards and swap meets looking for certain car parts or tools.  When my Dad died, we found ourselves weeping over his most prized possessions: a Suzuki Hyabusa engine and 50 gallon drum of nitro fuel.  So I loved reading this story about Delwyn Friedl on KSL.  He reminded me of my Dad, if my Dad had been a superhero who had a hook for a hand since he was 18. Delwyn was working at animal feed company when he was 18.  He was trying to free up a jammed auger machine when his arm was pulled into the machinery. He lost the arm between the wrist and elbow. He has worked with the hook since 1957.  While my Dad grew up in SoCal racing and crashing cars through the orange groves, Delwyn Friedl grew up in Utah racing and crashing cars on the Bonneville Salt Flats. While my Dad built his first race car at 14 out of an old Model A using a chevy 350 engine, In high school, Friedl built his own hot rod by putting a Hemi engine into a Model A Roadster.  From there Mr. Friedly became a serious car builder/restorer. He estimates he has fixed up between 50 and 60 cars over the years. He still has about 10, including an original-built Buick (so says the title) powered by two Buick V-8 engines connected together. He said he’s driven it up to 120 miles per hour and it’s “real smooth.” He has built Model T’s, Model A’s, a salt flats racer and a ’60s convertible. His garage is full of beautiful cars, but none of them came in that way. He estimates he puts in about 1,000 hours on a typical restoration, and he does it all single-handed.

 

This makes me miss my Dad.  His last car races were in Tecate and San Felipe Baja California in a modified mini Mustang he named the Baby Grand.  I keep up the Kidney Kars program for the National Kidney Foundation of Utah and Idaho, because in 1991 I was the only person in Utah who had a background in fundraising, grant writing and also experience parting/recycling/reselling cars. Today, the Kidney Kars of Utah & Idaho car donation program at towKars.org is still one of the country’s largest car donation programs.  I’m so proud to run the Kidney Kars program.  I was so happy to be the daughter of someone who loved cars.  It was fun. And to this day, my kids play a game on road trips called “what’s the year, make and model?” I’m pretty darn good at this game, if I do say so myself.

Anyway, as I get older myself my health, my knees my body has failed me in lots of way.  Reading this story about Mr. Friedly inspired me.  He lost his hand at 18 and didn’t let that deter him at all. If you love something, there is always a way to make it part of you.  I hope to be as mentally and emotionally resourceful one day as a one armed mechanics, and the kidney patients who survive kidney disease in Utah and Idaho. Kidney Patients rely upon the services of the National Kidney Foundation of Utah & Idaho. So please donate your old car to www.towKars.org or (801) 226-5111. Kidney Kars donations are tax deductible and towing is free.  So please,don’t just junk your old car!  Help us to lighten the burden and improve the quality of life for Utah and Idaho kidney patients!  Donate online at http://www.towKars.org

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