Remember the sinking MX5 we showed you last week? Well, it turns out there’s a lot more to that story than we first thought. But don’t worry, it has a happy ending. Or at least, it looks like it’s going to. That’s always nice when we’re talking about a classic motor in peril.

Turns out the woman David Phung risked his life to save should have probably been left in the car. Harsh? Maybe. But it is it still a harsh statement when you learn she stole that car? And she was drunk. Yeah, a first class citizen, right there. You don’t steal your fellow man’s car, lady!

After the rescue of the thief and her poor dog (we always have sympathy for a hound in peril), the now aquatic Mazda was left like this. The outlook was… bleak.

mx5, mazda, flood, baton rouge, charity, rebuild, mechanic, convertible, cars, motoring, onlymotors, automotive

That… that’s not good

Enter stage-left, Ethan Castille. By all accounts, the man is a doer. He wanted to help as a relief worker, but was turned away due to such a massive outpouring of help. Ethan didn’t shrug, then walk home. No, he decided to help in his own way. And as he’s built and rebuilt his own Miata (this is America, remember) five or six times, the battered and wet car from the rescue seemed like a good way to do it.

Ethan tracked down the owner, Lee Dronet, who was understandably shocked to hear that a stranger was willing to rescue, rebuild and restore his car. For free, no less. Lee obviously thought the car was a total loss, which was the icing on the cake after losing his home in the flood. But thanks to Ethan, Lee and his family now have something to look forward to. You’re damn good people, Ethan.

mx5, mazda, flood, baton rouge, charity, rebuild, mechanic, convertible, cars, motoring, onlymotors, automotive

As recovered. Pretty damn gross

Needless to say, the car is an absolute wreck. Not only has it suffered from the submersion, it’s also been battered while it was bobbing like a small trawler. In most eyes, it’s scrap. In fact, many would argue that the crusher is the best thing for it. Not Ethan though, he’s confident he can bring the roadster back to life.

mx5, mazda, flood, baton rouge, charity, rebuild, mechanic, convertible, cars, motoring, onlymotors, automotive

Already looking better!

Another beautiful part of this selfless story is the support from the online community. The guys and girls over at Club Roadster are all over this. Folk have been donating parts and even money in the name of bringing this beloved little car back to life. It’s genuinely heartwarming and firm proof that the car community is a great one.

Even the local Mazda dealership has got involved, donating a wealth of service parts and fluid for the stricken Mazda. And with all this help, Ethan is making good progress. The car is already stripped and looking better for it. The mud has been washed off, the trim is out and the investigative work to get it running again is well underway. It’s all very impressive. We break out in a cold sweat when we’re changing a tyre!

mx5, miata, mazda, flood, baton rouge, charity, rebuild, mechanic, convertible, cars, motoring, onlymotors, automotive

Ew, that’s horrid

You can follow the already impressive progress over at Club Roadster and should you wish, you can donate parts or cash to help the project. Whatever you do though, make sure you tell people about this. It’s a perfect example of people being decent to one another, and that’s something we’ll never get bored of.

We’ll keep an eye on Ethan’s progress and let you know how the build progresses.

Nod to Ethan Castille for letting us use his pictures