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Bay Area Iraq Vet’s Car Gets Makeover

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Army Specialist Anthony Gadd, an Iraq War veteran, sits inside his Volkswagen Golf on December 2, 2011. Gadd’s car was restored by a group of mechanics who donated materials and their time. (CBS)

Army Specialist Anthony Gadd, an Iraq War veteran, sits inside his Volkswagen Golf on December 2, 2011. Gadd’s car was restored by a group of mechanics who donated materials and their time. (CBS)

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MOUNTAIN VIEW (CBS 5) — As a sign of gratitude, a Bay Area group has made an Iraq war veteran’s homecoming a little more special, by restoring his car for free.

It is likely the most exquisite 1996 Volkswagen Golf on the road. With a refurbished body and new paint, it has never looked better after 89,000 miles. The car belongs to Army Specialist Anthony Gadd, who bought it off Craigslist while serving in Iraq. At $1,300, he got what he paid for.

On Friday, the restored car was revealed to Gadd, who came home from Iraq in November.

“Wow! It looks amazing,” Gadd said. “Oh my gosh, it’s gorgeous.”

Over the past four months, a small army of craftsmen, painters and mechanics donated the materials and a hundred hours of their time.

Anderson Behel body shop in Santa Clara did the paint.

“I have a huge appreciation for the soldiers that are on active duty and those who have served in the past,” said David Mello of the body shop. “And so I think I got the easy part, painting somebody’s car.”

FCC Collision center in Mountain View said the 15-year-old car had a lot of problems. Altogether, it was $7,000 of work.

In Iraq, Gadd’s job was to plan helicopter missions. The 26-year-old is now unemployed, looking for work in computer science. He was reluctant at first to accept the car because he said other soldiers are more deserving.

“I don’t think I did anything special. I didn’t do anything courageous or anything like that,” Gadd said. “I just did my job.”

(Copyright 2011 by CBS San Francisco. All Rights Reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed.)

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