Alex Ahmad loved the Toyota Supra he restored, making his recent senseless death behind the wheel even more bitter for his friends and family.
But on Sunday any sound of tears was drowned out by roaring engines as Valley car enthusiasts held a fundraising rally in memory of the Scottsdale man, killed by a fleeing bank robber on Dec. 5.
The rally consisted of a caravan of cars driving from Arizona State University to a stretch of McKellips Road on the Salt River Pima-Maricopa Indian Community. That was where the 24-year-old Ahmad was killed, when police say suspect Richard Schwartz intentionally rammed his getaway vehicle into the oncoming Supra. Both men died upon impact.
Participating were dozens of Toyotas, Nissans, Mazdas, Hondas, Dodges, Corvettes, Mini Coopers and an Oldsmobile 442.
“Normally, everyone stays with their own – Honda guys with Honda guys,” organizer Dallis Hughes said. “But everyone came together for the cause.”
The money raised would go to Ahmad’s family for funeral expenses, Hughes said, and the funds might continue his work with a local Boys and Girls Club.
Before the caravan started, on display was a large photo of a smiling Ahmad, standing in the empty engine compartment of the Supra. According to Hughes, Ahmad used a salvage certificate of title to buy the vehicle, because it had been stolen and recovered – minus the engine.
“The guy went from the bottom up and built the thing,” Hughes said. “He loved that car.”
Hughes said he first posted an announcement of the fundraiser on a pair of Web sites dedicated to Honda drivers. Then, the news spread to sites frequented by owners of Audis, Volkswagens and BMWs, those who tinker with General Motors small-block V8 engines and beyond.
“It was very viral,” Hughes said.