Posted on | March 26, 2010 | 4 Comments
One of the features of our new blog will be about your automotive upgrades and projects. Whether you’re upgrades are Ford F150 accessories, Chevrolet Camaro Body Kits, Dodge Challenger chrome grilles, import super-tuning, pickup truck lifting, SUV lowering, luxury liner accentuating – we want to share your stories along with your photos (before and after would be excellent). The year doesn’t matter – old, new, and everything in between. Show it off!
For fun, I will share one of my own stories…
The year was… well, it was what it was… and I was an eager, young, alleged wanna-be motorhead of somewhere in the neighborhood of 18. I was employed. I was living at home. I had what I thought was plenty of money in the bank. Those were the days. Those where the days where I simply had to have a car and I was bound and determined to do this and handle it “on my own.”
In the classified ads, I had found the target of my Fantasy Car Project. It was the 1964-½ Ford Mustang. It wasn’t a 1965 Mustang. No sirree – I set everyone straight. This was the venerable 1964-½ Mustang! It was a half-year cooler. Nevermind that I didn’t go to any Technical School and the closest I came to doing anything like a car restoration project was putting the chain back on my bicycle when it fell off of the sprocket. This car was an all-time classic that I could already see (in my mind’s eye) was going to be the talk of car shows for years to come. It was only going to take a few thousand Ford Mustang accessories to get the job done.
The price: $600. What a bargain!
I made the phone call to the owner and drove on over with the $600 cash to see it. When I pulled up, I was greeted by the owner who resembled any number of the “things” in the movie Where the Wild Things Are. I could see my cream-puff parked there at curbside. It was a gorgeous flat black that looked as though it was carefully and meticulously painted with a roller and a can of MAB black latex paint. The black vinyl roof was in surprisingly good shape and the blistering I could see from the rusting metal underneath only added to the attractive texture.
As I walked around the car to check out the chrome accessories, I could see that the tail light covers were there. The chrome 289 badges were still attached to the fenders. Chrome mirrors… check. Alas, I was concerned that the horse-in-corral grille accent was missing. The owner assured me he still had it. It was in the back seat of the car. I confirmed this, peering through the window to find it well protected in the back seat. It was lovingly surrounded by the pile of shredded wheat that I believe were the remains of “back seats.”
When it came time to check the motor and associated parts, the owner started it up. It was LOUD. We popped the hood and I nodded approvingly, almost as if I knew exactly what I was looking at. I’m certain I sounded like a moron when I commented, “Ah, the 289, what a great motor.” The truth is, it could have been a frigging 389, a 489, a 589, or a 689 for all I knew. I walked to the back of the car and peered underneath to see it had Glass Packs. I could tell because they were red and at least I had recalled seeing them in the reading I had done about muscle cars at the time. While examining the exhaust system, I noticed that this Ford Mustang had the rarest of all options – the 4x full size spare tires option. I could plainly see them through the rusted out floor of the trunk. To this day, I think it’s the only Ford Mustang ever made with this option.
What really made this car a must-have in car collecting circles were the bright, shiny Cragar SS rims and the practically new Cooper tires with the white raised lettering, over-sized in the back, of course. They were the perfect compliment to my fledgling mullet and I couldn’t turn over my cold, hard cash fast enough. The paperwork was handled hastily and I gleefully drove my first wholly-owned car home to show off.
My father came by for a visit that day, excited to see what his responsible young boy had accomplished. I imagined him gazing upon me proudly and acknowledging my step into true manhood. I was so excited about my fantasy car, the 1964-½ Ford Mustang with the ultra-rare four full-sized spares option, I must not have noticed the look of shock and dread that was masked by stifled laughter. I offered to take him for a spin and he patronizingly obliged me. I can hear his words as clear today as they were so many years ago…
“Good Lord, Anthony, what the hell have you gotten yourself into?!?!?!”
…followed by laughter that he just couldn’t hold back any longer. It took just that long for me to only begin to understand that I was in way over my head. I began to think I had possibly made a mistake, but remained undeterred for at least two days. You may be asking yourself at this point, “Why two days?” Well, that’s precisely how long my restoration project car worked. After 2-days, it would no longer start. For $600, I got two days of rides around the neighborhood.
I can’t recall exactly how long that car languished in the family driveway, perhaps an entire summer, if not longer. It was reminiscent of the Better Off Dead 1967 Chevy Camaro before “Monique” (Diane Franklin) and “Lane” (John Cusack) finish restoring it. Mine wasn’t so lucky. I never did get around to restoring it. It wasn’t a total loss, though. I removed the Cragar SS rims with the Cooper Tires and deployed the four trunk tires. I sold those for a few hundred bucks to help defray the overall costs of my boneheadedness. The 1964-½ Fantasy Car Project was hauled off by a junk car company… for free… never to be heard from again.
As I spoke with my family about their recollection of these events, they were all-too-willing to offer quotes for this piece. All wished to remain anonymous so as to preserve their disassociation with the whole experience.
From Brother M.:
“I would like you to share your story about the ’64 Mustang you let slip away. What a cherry! Not to mention I had to play in neighbors’ driveways after years of enjoying our own… only to be pushed out by that beautiful Stang.”
From Brother C.:
From Brother V.:
“The 64 Muscle Car… would have liked to roll that into the Meachum Auction Show… featuring the Fred Flinstone Drivetrain using your feet through the missing floor boards… hemida hemida hemida… 72 dollars to the Mulletman!”
While I searched high and low for the photos I proudly took of this dream car, I was unable to find them after a week of scouring tubs of old photographs. This story probably would be a tad more humorous with the accompanying photos. Perhaps I’ll find it as a feature photo over at Cars In Barns, where some dude will have taken a photo and complained about the rotting metal corpse that deserved to be saved. This is how it turned out in my dreams:
We all have our dream cars, our dream restoration projects, our dream upgrades to cars both new and old. While my dream for the 1964-½ Ford Mustang was never realized, that’s not the same story for everyone. So, stay tuned as we develop our “Fantasy Car” or “Custom Car Makeovers” column and we offer you the ability to share your stories, experiences, and photos with positively excellent outcomes for your vehicles, new or old, in whatever size, shape, and color they may be. Or, perhaps you’ll want to share a “major fail” story like mine – it’s all good stuff.
If you have a story along with accompanying photos to share and you would like a chance to have it featured right here on our site, leave a comment or send us as an email.