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Man Recreates Prized Photo of His Dad With Classic Car Nearly 40 Years Later: 'My Inspiration'


A picture is worth a thousand words, but this 1978 photograph of a man, his classic car and his son in front of the Chicago skyline tells a family's unique story.

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When Dr. Shyam Puppala immigrated to the U.S. from Hydrabad, India, his first job was a cardiovascular surgery personal assistant at Rush University Medical Center in Chicago, Illinois.

According to his son, Dr. Ramana Puppala, Shyam remembered taking the bus to the hospital every day, until he spotted a beautiful green 1978 Cutlass Supreme from the window of the bus. He placed an order to bring home the car that same day.

Months later, his eldest son, Ramana, who was born at Rush shortly after the car was purchased, was brought back to the hospital Shyam continued to work at for a check-up.

After the appointment, the whole family went to the top level of the hospital's parking garage, and his mother snapped a photo of Ramana and Shyam in front of the brand new car, with the Chicago skyline in the background.

"My father keeps a copy of the photograph in his wallet," Ramana told InsideEdition.com. "He's always had it, since 1978."

Ramana's younger brother, Dr. Vinaya Puppala, was also born at Rush eight years later.

As he entered college on the track to becoming a doctor himself, Ramana rediscovered the photograph of himself as a baby and thought, "Would I ever be able to recreate this photograph?"

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He told InsideEdition.com, "I look up to my father. He's my inspiration to become a physician."

Ramana spent several years, through his gynecology residency at Rush to working at a private practice, attempting to track down the Oldsmobile. He knew it was a rare car and finding it would take a miracle.

Meanwhile, Shyam's younger son, Vinaya, was doing his general surgery internship at Rush.

As luck would have it, three months after Ramana's own son, Ishaan, was born, he spotted the exact car in an online auction.

"Even the original license plate number was reissued," he said. "I outbid everyone by $1.01."

Thus began the long journey of transporting the car to his father's doorstep, including a hiccup in the plans when Ramana said the car suddenly, "fell off the face of the earth."

Suspecting it was stolen, he told InsideEdition.com he filed reports with every police station he could think of, until finally, a Pennsylvania state trooper found the vehicle, and sent it on its way.

Ramana then called his parents and let them know in advance they should be expecting a package by courier, delivered to their home.

The following day, "[my father] signed for it, and he yells, 'That's my car!' He was very surprised," Ramana said.

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They then contacted Rush, and worked together to organize a photo shoot, featuring every member of the Puppala clan, including the newest addition, to recreate the 1978 photo that started it all. Rush InPerson even captured the whole experience on camera. 

"We were absolutely excited," Ramana said. "I highly doubt at that moment in time, [my father] would think he'd be standing in this same spot with his grandson."

As for 9-month-old Ishaan, seen propped on top of the 1978 Oldsmobile Cutlass Supreme in baby scrubs, Ramana joked, "He can do whatever he wants in his life... as long as it ends in -ologist."

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