Photo courtesy Brett Welcome/Facebook

A Springfield, Missouri family is mourning the loss of a vintage Mustang Mach I a loving grandfather restored and gifted to his disabled grandson, who suffers from a rare condition that affects his mobility and speech.

Seven-year-old Nino Welcome received the bright orange muscle car as a birthday gift from his grandpa in May, and regularly enjoyed going for rides with his dad, Brett Welcome, at the wheel.

Despite the possibility he may never be able to drive it himself, it was his prized possession, until someone pried open one of the vent windows and tossed in lit fireworks and torched the car.

Now, the Mustang is a burned-out wreck, and the authorities have no leads to help them find the culprit.

“It occupies his mind day and night,” said Brett of how excited his son used to be about the car. “When I get home from work he asks me if we need to go to the store. He asks, ‘Can we take the Mustang?’”

Every night at Nino’s bedtime, Brett and his wife, Tonia, would tell their son a story that involves the Mustang. Nino is confined to a wheelchair, which his parents had painted to match the car, and that Nino named “Mach II.”

Springfield fire marshal Ben Basham told the Springfield News-Leader he found remnants of fireworks in the car and told the Welcomes that finding the suspect will be difficult based on evidence alone; solving arson cases usually requires the help of someone coming forward with information.

In the aftermath, the Welcomes are waiting to find out if their insurance will cover the value of the car, which they estimate at as much as $40,000. Brett Welcome isn’t sure whether any of the car’s structure can be saved, but hopes the 351 V8 engine is salvageable.

(via Springfield News-Leader)