Yes, 2020 has been a heavy and dark year so far, but it's important to remember that the world is full of good and there are still plenty of opportunities to smile. One example that will restore your faith in humanity is the savior of a rare Mazda RX-7 in Mississippi who, unprovoked, rescued the car of a complete stranger from being swept away by a flood.
Correction: Thursday, June 11, 2020, 1:45 P.M. ET: We've learned new details of how the rescue went down, and have updated the story based on reports shared by the owner of the Mazda, as well as his brother, the owner of the Ferrari.
After someone posted a photo of a rare FD RX-7 in the flooding parking garage of the Biloxi Golden Nugget Casino, Gulfport resident Austin Owens knew it would be only a matter of time before the floodwaters generated by tropical storm Cristobal would reach it. Despite not knowing the owner of the car or if they planned on rescuing it, he knew that he didn't have much time before the rising water would inevitably render the car a total loss. So, he sprung into action.
Owens went to Home Depot to purchase some cinder blocks and loaded them in the back of his Ford Bronco along with a Pittsburgh-brand jack. He then drove through heavy floodwaters on his way to the casino, determined to save one of the most notable Japanese sports cars of all time. It was at that time that he learned from the Mazda owner that the car was already sitting on the orange blocks you see in the photographs in order to keep it safe. Regardless of this, Owens decided that having gone through all that trouble, he'd still make his way to the car and lift it even more and place it on the cinder blocks just in case, and that's what he did—against the owner's own wishes.
As seen in the photos, the RX-7 wasn't alone in the flooding garage—a silver 7 Series BMW and black Ferrari 360 were parked nearby. The Ferrari belonged to the Mazda owner's brother.
Several threads popped up on Facebook after Owens posted his experience in a group for the video game Forza Horizon 4. Many posters were thanking Owens for his involvement and commending his efforts. When news made its way to a Biloxi Cars and Coffee group, the owner of the car was identified as a local convenience store owner. Later, it was uncovered that the RX-7 has a built rotary engine, and, according to the owner of a local customs shop, was painted only a month earlier.
The owner of the car later appeared in another Facebook group, where he revealed that the car had been parked at the casino because it had a leak in the rear trunk and the locals assumed that the location would be a good place for the car to ride out the storm. Fortunately, Owens showed up when he did, as the RX7 only had liability insurance at the time.
Owens says that he is appreciative of the praise from the community, but stays humble about the experience. His actions undoubtedly resonated in the automotive community, hopefully sparking a glimmer of hope during a tough year.
“I wouldn’t consider myself a hero by any means,” Owens said in an interview with WLOX. “I would hope that if I had a car of that stature hiding in a parking garage with a tropical storm that somebody would reach out and try to do something to get it off the ground.”
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