FRANKLIN, Texas (KLTV) - It was a decades-old family tradition one Franklin County man was hoping to pass on to his son. But in 2007, Sgt. Paul Timothy Sanchez was killed in action while serving in Baghdad.
The soldier had spent many years building a 1923 Ford T-Bucket with his father, Paul R. Sanchez. The family said that car was stolen Saturday. KLTV’s Arthur Clayborn spoke to the family about what the roadster means to them.
“I hear so many stories my grandfather tells me. They’d go to different car shows. They’d drive them. The stories of driving in inclement weather and spinning out and having the coolest car at every car show,” said Paul Adrian Sanchez, Sgt. Sanchez’ son. “It was the pride and joy between my grandpa and my father.”
He said his father loved to work on anything in a garage.
“He got interested in building cars with my grandfather,” the younger Sanchez said. “He grew up directly under it. A guy always working on his Chevys or Fords or whatever he had in the garage.”
The Ford T-Bucket had been in the family since 1974. He recalls the moment he learned the car had been stolen.
“I literally froze in the middle of it. I was just at a lost for words. That thing has been there longer than I’ve been in the family. Just to think that somebody could just steal a tangible item that held so many memories. Not just the value of it being a car but the valuable memories that were instilled in it,” the younger Sanchez said. “That car is definitely a part of the family legacy. It’s not just a Ford. I hope that we can recover it — any part of it.”
Sanchez’ grandfather tells us he’s driven the car in parades and decorated for Christmas every year.
“Things I never got to do with my son but things I did get to do with my grandson,” he said.
The 1923 Ford T-Bucket is yellow with a memorial sticker on the gas tank that reads “In memory of Paul T. Sanchez.”
Anyone with information about the vehicle is asked to call the Franklin County Sheriff’s Office at (903) 537-4539.