This Chevy Lowrider Was Donated to Kars4Kids. It Went Straight to the Junkyard

Kars4Kids picked up one man's beloved Chevy Beretta with gold plating and custom paint. The next day, it was being dissected for parts.
@c50crewcab via Instagram

On Jan. 8, Kars4Kids picked up a 1989 Chevy Beretta lowrider from Medhat Beshai, who donated his ride in hopes that someone else would eventually treasure it as he did. No one ended up loving his prized, custom-designed Beretta, though—not because it wasn’t worth loving, but because it ended up at a pick-and-pull yard, torn apart just one day later. Unfortunately, Beshai’s story isn’t uncommon, though that doesn’t make it any less painful. Circle in.

The idea of donating a vehicle to Kars4Kids, or any other car donation organization, is that it will be sold and the money received for it will be used for charitable purposes. Now, Kars4Kids has already come under public scrutiny for misleading donors about what it does with the money, but that’s a different story for a different time. Instead, this is about what can happen to your car after it’s been donated.

Medhat Beshai

According to Beshai, the Beretta ran well and could have been reliable transportation for someone else. “Engine was working perfectly, and no oil leaks and [same for the] transmission,” Beshai told The Drive.

That didn’t save it. Shortly after Kars4Kids picked up Beshai’s Beretta, someone posted a video to Instagram showing it at a pick-and-pull yard. It sat on blocks without its wheels and was missing several parts, as scavengers had already been picking at it. How could someone notice it was his car and not just any old ’80s Beretta? Because Beshai’s was unmistakable—well-known in the Californian car community, as it was actually featured in Lowrider magazine in the 1990s.

Beshai’s Beretta wore a custom-painted purple and gold LA Lakers-inspired color scheme, with hand-painted ribbons and swirls. It sat on hydraulic suspension, wore gold wheels, and had a wild purple suede interior. Its puffy steering wheel was also a sight to behold. The fact that someone put that much love and attention into a Beretta, one of the ’80s least interesting American cars, made it feel special. While Beshai wasn’t the one who did the work to the car—he bought it that way more than 20 years ago—he loved his Beretta and cared for it during his ownership. After spending more than two decades with a car as unique as his purple ’80s lowrider, it’s easy to get attached.

Unfortunately, Beshai’s circumstances changed and he had to unload the Beretta. He listed it for $12,500 but didn’t get any serious bites. He then dropped the price twice but still, nothing. That’s when he decided to donate it to Kars4Kids, that way they’d sell it and the next owner could love and cherish it the way he did.

When Beshai saw the video of his Chevy at the scrapyard, he was understandably gutted. His beloved car, which he didn’t want to part with, wasn’t being adored like he had hoped. Instead, it was being torn apart ahead of its inevitable, crusher-inflicted doom.

So, why did Kars4Kids send the custom Beretta lowrider to be scavenged for parts in the first place? As it turns out, this happens pretty often.

“We keep records of how much each car has sold for and refer to that when selling the cars. Many cars, although running, will sell for more for their parts than as whole cars at an auction,” Kars4Kids told The Drive. “In this instance, data from previous donations of the same year make and model as [Beshai’s Beretta] indicated we would make more by reselling it for parts than by reselling at auction.”

Things like customization or design aren’t factored in and, unfortunately for Beshai, a 1989 Chevy Beretta likely isn’t worth enough to sell.

Older cars with interesting mods and custom paintwork are valuable to you and me—people who live and breathe cars. But to a company like Kars4Kids, they’re data sets on spreadsheets. So while one of us might have paid a few thousand for the Lakers-inspired Beretta lowrider, it wasn’t worth any more than its weight in parts to Kars4Kids.

Donating your car is not a bad move—it’s a noble thing. Still, you need to know what’s likely to happen, especially if you’re giving away a vehicle that means a lot to you. Use Beshai’s story as a cautionary tale because your beloved car may never be loved again.

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