Mach 1 and RX-7 among stash of soggy classics dredged from Oregon river

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What began as a fascinating look at pulling old cars and trucks cars from a watery grave in Oregon has turned into an appreciation for the work accomplished by Jared Leisek and the Adventures with Purpose YouTube channel.

Leisek, a recovery diver, and his crew released two videos late last month documenting their search of the Tualatin River just south of Portland, Oregon. After receiving a tip about a jilted lover who reportedly drove her ex-boyfriend’s truck into the river years ago—the tipster was later identified as a self-professed getaway driver—Leisek and the team located at least six vehicles in 8–12 feet of water near a boat ramp, most notably a 1973 Ford Mustang Mach 1 and a Mazda RX-7.

Youtube/Adventures with Purpose

To be clear, none of the vehicles is a prospect for restoration; the only reason they were removed was to minimize the environmental damage they were causing. Which explains the purpose behind the team’s adventures.

Leisek says that in the 18 months or so since the YouTube channel began, other divers across the country are beginning to follow suit. Leisek also encourages viewers to share possible locations for Adventures with Purpose to explore.

In the show’s first video from Portland, the team finds the RX-7 and Mach 1, along with a Chevrolet Silverado and Chevy LUV, another Chevy vehicle (perhaps a 1960s Chevelle), and a Ford F-Series pickup. We watch as they pull out the previously red RX-7 without much trouble.

The next video is devoted to the two-day struggle to remove the once-yellow Mach 1. Not only is the car brittle, but it is filled with sludge, and the added weight begins to take its toll. Using lift bags to raise it, the Mustang begins to make its way to shore in pieces—first the engine, then a bumper. Tow hooks break, larger trucks are brought in, and we’re told than even the police are consulted.

By the time the car makes its way onto the boat launch, it is nothing more than a rusted-out, barely recognizable pile of metal; only that fastback design gives away its identity.

According to Fox News, after the vehicles are pulled out, police are notified and they are held in a lot for 30 days, and if they are unclaimed, they can be auctioned off for recycling or scrap. Leisek told Fox that he doesn’t usually learn their backstory. In the case of the Mustang, however, “friends and family familiar with the car said it ended up there after an argument over payments couldn’t be resolved.”

Adventures with Purpose does a lot more than help the environment. Leisek and his team also locate vehicles that help police solve cold cases. Among the group’s generous sponsors are Ocean Technology Systems (OTS) and, in the Portland area, Elite Towing.

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