A GTA family has been on the hunt for a car, a 1990 Honda CRX SI, for nearly 20 years.
The vehicle belonged to Anthony Pedatella, who died from liver cancer not long after he sold it. Since then, his wife, children and cousins have been doing everything they can to track it down.
Marisa Pedatella, Anthony’s wife, said she was hopeful their social media posts might turn up a few clues, but didn’t know if their efforts would ultimately prove successful.
Then, a series of events led the family to a parking lot behind a car shop in Woodbridge, Ont., where the long-lost Honda had been sitting for two years.
“Surreal. I feel so overwhelmed with emotion,” Marisa said while looking at the vehicle.
“It’s hard to even explain the feelings I have.”
After the initial story about the family’s search aired on Global News, they received several messages. Most importantly, the last known owner got in touch.
As a result, the family was able to track the vehicle through three owners. During this process, they learned a lot about the journey the Honda had taken.
One person explained how he had painted the car blue. The next recalled how he had invested thousands of dollars fixing it up and painting the engine bay a bright green.
The last known owners were said to have ‘parted it out’, meaning individual car parts were been sold off. At this point, it was unclear if someone had restored the vehicle, or if it was simply a shell.
Marisa said even with the uncertainty, she was still hopeful, “I did truly feel like we were getting super close,” she said.
Then, out of nowhere, another message from a stranger on Facebook gave the family a key piece of information. He said the updated colour description sounded like a vehicle his brother had, and sold in Woodbridge.
Through some connections in the area, using Google Earth and a little luck, the family was able to track down the vehicle. A trip to an open parking lot behind an unassuming strip mall confirmed the vehicle was, in fact, the same one that Anthony Pedatella had restored more than 20 years ago.
The vehicle identification number was a match, but for Marisa, other details sealed the deal: familiar stickers on the windows she recognized instantly.
“As soon as I saw those stickers I thought Anthony is talking to us,” Marisa said. “He’s saying, ‘Look, this is me, I’m here. This is our last little sign to show you I’m still here.’”
The owner of the garage and car, Nathan Siba, told the family he purchased the car with plans in mind.
“We were going to work on it, but it’s been busy with the shop,” Siba said. The car was moved around the lot often, simply waiting for its next chapter.
Siba told Global News that he has had many offers from people wanting to buy the car, but he has always declined.
But on Tuesday, that changed when he met the Pedatella family. With snow pounding down, Siba handed over the ownership to Marisa, with her three daughters looking on.
“This should be yours now,” Siba said.
Marisa said the gift is priceless, and the car will be a loving reminder that Anthony’s memory will live on alongside his family for years to come.