DEARBORN, MI – One of the most popular features in our weekly Ford Performance Fast News e-newsletter continues to be "Ford Fan Spotlight," where readers send in their own reasons why they're fans of Ford Motor Company. It’s so popular, in fact, that four times a year, we collect the stories behind each of the Ford loyalists we’ve featured and post them here in our Enthusiasts Newsroom for all to enjoy.
Below you’ll find info on the people who’ve appeared in our “Ford Fan Spotlight” during the fourth quarter of 2014. If you or a Ford fan that you know deserves a little bit of special recognition like this, simply send us a brief description of why (usually 200 words or less) and a photo or three (in .jpeg format, preferably 300 dpi). Include full name and hometown, please, as well as a reason Ford Performance should feature this person in our "Ford Fan Spotlight" for a weekly installment of Fast News and a place on FordPerformance.com. Email it to: AskTFR@Ford.com. Should you wish to send a video, simply post it on www.YouTube.com (preferably 1-2 minutes long) and send us the link, along with a brief description.
We'll choose one of your submissions to appear in each weekly Fast News e-newsletter. To sign up for FREE installments of “Ford Performance Fast News,” click on “WEEKLY EMAIL” at the top-right of the FordPerformance.com home page. If you’ve missed reading about the 11 Ford fans we’ve featured in Fast News this fall, check out the following noteworthy selections (with the photo above illustrating our first owner story, and the rest of the photos at the bottom):
Original ’65 Mustang Owner Lyn Adams of Fairfax,
VA, Still Loves ‘Musty’475K Miles & 50 Years Later
We first met Lyn Adams of Fairfax, VA, during the Mustang 50th Birthday Celebration at Charlotte in April when we helped a group of Original Owners meet up with original Mustang Stylist Gale Halderman. But when we spotted Lyn again at the MCA Nationals in Savannah, GA, in October and got the amazing story behind her 50-year, 475,000-mile love affair with her 1965 Mustang convertible (she’s dubbed it ‘Musty’), we just HAD to share it with you:
“When the Mustang came on the market in April of ’64, it was love at first sight for me, but it took almost a year for me to convince my husband that we should even go look at them. My first attempt to bring him around was to rent one for a weekend away that fall, but Bill was 6’4”, and he said that he couldn’t sit up straight in it. But I didn’t give up.
“The following spring on one of our Sunday afternoon ‘let’s go some place fun with the kids’ outings, I talked him into going to a local Ford dealer to ‘just look.’ Since I would be the one paying for it, I would have been content with the least expensive one on the lot, but because of our rental experience, that was out. However, there was a convertible on the lot that he said had more head room; it wasn’t the color I wanted, and that wasn’t all. It had an automatic transmission, a white Pony Interior, wire wheel covers and the 289 engine, making the price considerably more than I had been planning on. But I wasn’t about to argue; if I could just get my Mustang, I was sure I could figure a way to pay for it. Now, almost 50 years. later, not only am I glad that I got my Mustang, but also very happy that I got the one I did, and not the one I thought I wanted!
“Needless to say, the convertible has been a much more fun car to own, plus the bigger engine as well as all the other perks made it even more unique and special than I realized until recently. As to the Ivy Green color that I never would have picked? It has turned out to be a far more lasting color for a daily driver than the one I thought I wanted, and I have never gotten tired of it.
“At the time we bought the car, I had two daughters, age 3 and 4, and little did I know then that I would keep my ‘dream car’ for the rest of my life. It has been my only car, for most of the time, so we did everything in it, including family vacations. One memorable one was when I discovered that I was expecting daughter No. 3. Bill had built a platform for the back seat, and I had made a mattress to fit so that the girls could play and nap back there, but on the trip back home, I was so sick that I ended up on the mattress, and they had to share the passenger seat. Sure couldn’t get away with that today, could we?
“Ten months later, we moved from California to Virginia, but because Jeni was only a month old, I had to let Bill drive the Mustang with Vicki & Toni while I flew with Jeni. After we bought a house in Vienna, and got settled in, we enrolled the two older girls in a school in McLean which required a half-hour drive each way, twice a day, plus I picked up another family of four whose mother was ill and couldn’t drive. Yes, that’s right, four in the back seat, my two older girls on the passenger seat, and my then toddler, on my lap. Now I would be arrested!
Joy, our fourth daughter, was born in 1975, and by then we did have another car, but the other one was Bill’s, so I continued to drive the Mustang. I guess it goes without saying that all four girls, plus the 17 foster children that I cared for over the years, all grew up being chauffeured to their various activities, as well as my girls learning to drive, in my Mustang.
”What seems strange now is that while I did love my car, my original reason for keeping it was that the price of cars kept going up, and I couldn’t afford to trade it in. During the 40th anniversary of the Mustang, when on a cruise with my local club, my speedometer passed 400,000 miles. It wasn’t until a week later, when I joined the Great American Pony Drive II for a few days, that it finally dawned on me that this wasn’t just a car that I loved, and a member of the family, it was also a connection to other people who loved their cars, just like I did. It was then that Joy told me that my girls had always thought of my Mustang as the middle sibling – in fact, she even did a collage on Facebook for Mother’s Day last year in which he was included.
“Now, as well as still being my daily driver (I am currently working on reaching 500,000 miles) it is great fun going to car shows and Cruise-ins during the summer months – in fact I host a Cruise-In at my store parking lot on Saturday nights, May through October.
“After all these years, he still runs as well as he did when I first got him, and I have to admit that I still get a kick out of taking off from stop lights, leaving newer cars – other than Mustangs of course – in his exhaust fumes and watching the surprised faces of the drivers left behind in my mirrors. People are always asking me when am I going to sell the car; my reply is, ‘Until death do us part, and I’m planning on going first.’ How could I even think of selling a member of the family?
“The car is still all-original in that when I have had to replace anything, it has always been with Ford tooling parts, not aftermarket. The engine has been rebuilt three times, the transmission once, and when I tell people that I don’t have a garage – that it is outside 24/7 – you should see their faces! I have pictures taken of him when he was a ‘baby’ as well as recent ones; and while he may be getting older, I don’t think he looks a bit different than he did almost 50 years ago . . . wish I could say the same about me!
“Another thing I never dreamed of when I bought the car was how much I would come to care for him, and how much he would become a part of my identity. I have frequently joked that I wouldn’t dare do anything illegal or immoral in Fairfax County because everyone knows my car. It makes me feel special when a bus driver, trash truck driver or police officer smiles and waves at me becase they see my car so often; and on days when my world is feeling a bit gloomy, that smile and wave really brightens my day.
“One recent funny story is when an officer pulled me over about a year ago; I had been speeding and hadn’t realized it. Being who I am, I was very embarrased and started apologizing profusely, to which he replied, ‘Well, the pony has to run once in awhile, doesn’t he?’ Not quite getting his point, I again apologized, and he once again replied, ‘The pony does have to run once in awhile, right?’ and then he guided me back into traffic. In hindsight it was kind of funny, but you can bet that I don’t want to get caught speeding in Fairfax again!
“Another story that I particularly like was when we had three back-to-back blizzards in January of 2010. The snow piled up so fast that northern Virginia was actually putting it into dump trucks and taking it to other locations that weren’t as hard-hit. Since I don’t have a garage, all I could see of Musty was an outline over a foot above where I knew the car had to be. So the whole time I was shoveling him out, I was talking to him, telling him not to worry, that I was being careful, I knew what I was doing, and that I promised I wouldn’t hurt him. And guess what? I kept my promise and got him out from under the snow without a scratch.
“Because back in ’65, cars were made out of solid steel, over the years Musty has saved my life more than once. By the way, ‘Musty’ is short for ‘Mustifer.’ Obviously, I had no idea that I would be keeping him for a lifetime when the girls and I named him almost 50 years ago. The first really serious accident was about eight years ago; I hit a deer at 65 mph, and I was told that if I had been driving a newer car, I might have been killed and the car probably totaled. While my Mustang did have to be towed all the way home from Emmitsburg, Maryland, the damage was only to the front end, and was all pretty easy to fix. Two years later I was rear-ended at a stop light by someone who was estimated to have been going 55-60 mph – they towed his car away, while mine had minimal damage, and much to the amazement of everyone, I didn’t even get whiplash.
“Then last year, when I was on my way to the MCA’s ‘Mustangs at the MickYard’ in Orlando, Musty’s wiring harness caught fire just two hours from home due to a faulty resistor wire under the dash; it burned the entire wiring harness, but nothing else was damaged. I did end up going on to the show without him in a friend’s Mustang, but it just wasn’t the same. However, even that turned out for good in that I had not originally intended to go to the 50th Birthday Celebration in Charlotte in April, but because I felt so badly that we had missed the Florida show that I had been dreaming about for almost two years, I changed my mind and registered for Charlotte. And I am so glad I did! That was an experience that I will never forget, and to think that I might not have gone if I hadn’t had to go to the Orlando event without him!
“Our arrival in Charlotte was delayed by having to replace his radiator on the way down, and, as those of you who were there know, the weather was less than desirable, but neither of those things made me regret going. What fun it was to be with so many people who shared my love for Mustangs; and to be in front of the entrance to the Speedway building with all the other Original Owners was something I will never forget. Most of them didn’t drive their cars to Charlotte, and I really got teased about it at the banquet on Saturday night.
“Being at the birthday celebration meant enjoying so many neat events as well as so many conversations with people I never would have met if I hadn’t gone. One of those being the panel discussion on Saturday when I got to actually meet Gale Halderman, who even signed my 50th Birthday Registry book right across Musty’s picture! Yes, the rain on Friday night did dampen the Cruise to Kanapolis just a bit, but it was still an awesome event to be a part of, and when I have shown the pictures that I took from up on the stands to people back home, everyone has been just amazed – even those who aren’t ‘car guys.’ The Saturday night banquet was also neat – I got to not only enjoy the whole program and meet more people, but I even won the model car at my table! Who would have thought, when I bought my ‘middle child’ 50 years ago, that anything like this was going to happen?
“As if all that wasn’t exciting enough, after the celebration was over, I took one of those ‘some day I want to do this’ trips and visited friends in Georgia, Florida and the Carolinas, spending time with nine couples in eight cities over 10 days, as well as putting another 2,000 miles on his speedometer. I just may make it to 500,000 yet!
“Musty’s and my world was turned upside down recently. I was taking a friend to the movies when a speeding SUV ran a stop sign and T-boned my baby. This time however, it was my passenger’s life he saved; I have been told by the man who restored the car, as well as many others, that if I had been driving a newer car, my passenger would have been killed. I guess I don’t have to say that I was totally traumatized and unable to even attempt to finish writing this story for awhile. But almost four months to the day after the accident, Mustifer came home, and the following day we had a party for him. Not many cars get parties with cake, ice cream, popcorn, balloons and a ‘Welcome Home’ banner, but then most cars aren’t the middle child either, are they?
“But there was a silver lining to even that accident! Because I had missed all the summer shows, I decided to go to the MCA Nationals Show in Savannah so as not to have missed everything, and now I have another unforgetable experience to add to my list. I met so many neat people there, made some very special new friends, and just generally had the most wonderful time. Then it was topped off by something that still has me in awe: It was our very first National Show, so except for the instructions I was given when I got there, I had no idea what should be done to prepare Musty for the MCA judging. Being such a newbie, I certainly didn’t expect a trophy; I was just having fun being there. So when my name was called for a ‘Silver’ trophy in the ‘Daily Driven’ class, I could hardly believe it. Looking at him always makes me smile, but now I also tell him that he is not only special to me, but that he now even has his own, legitimate trophy.
“I have no idea what the future holds, but what I do know is that I’m planning us spending it together. There are so many things that have happened already that I never would have dreamed of, and who knows what may still be ahead for Mustay and me? Besides that, not only is he a member of the family, but he has become a part of my identity, and I sure don’t want to lose that!”
Chris Grovet-Caissie of Edmonton, Alberta,
Drives ‘Foxbody Canada’ and a Cool Notchback
Ford Performance fans are constantly getting together all over the globe to celebrate their favorite Fords. When we got this email from Chris Grovet-Caissie up in Edmonton and saw pics that he sent of his wicked little Notchback packed with Ford Racing power, we were hooked. Once we spotted his fender cover and read that he and his friends are fans of the 1979-1993 Fox Body Mustangs, we decided he and his car deserves our Ford Fan Spotlight:
“Hi, Ford Racing! I don't want to take up too much of your time, but I wanted you to know that I’m a member of a small group from Edmonton, Alberta called ‘Foxbody Canada.’ Basically we are trying to bring together Mustang enthusiasts internationally by hosting meets here. We hang out, go on cruises and out to the track together.
“Our Facebook page shares pics, info, conversation and ideas on parts (Ford Racing, of course!) among other stuff (all family friendly). We’d like to ask if you could give our Foxbody Canada page a shout-out – it would be great and our members would love it! Thank you – we live Ford Racing!”
John and Jill Gillett of Chanute, KS, Enjoy
Colorful Collection of 9 Different Mustangs
When Jill Gillett of Chanute, KS, emailed us about her husband, John, she dubbed him a “Mustang super fan.” It appears John not only has a lifelong love for high-performance Mustangs, but he also seems to enjoy all the bold color choices that the Mustang line has offered over the years:
“My husband and I currently have nine Mustangs. John grew up in the muscle car era and he loved the bright colors of the 1960's and ’70s so we don't have plain ones. Our herd is colorful – the brighter, the better!
He had a 1970 Yellow Boss 302 back in the day and a 1970 in Calypso Coral. His ex-wife made him get rid of the Yellow Boss, and he always says he regrets it and should have kept the car and gotten rid of her sooner. Today we have three modern Boss 302's among our half-dozen others. We still love the Ford color choices; after all, why be boring? You should see John’s Mustang memorabilia collection, especially the Boss 302 section. Even his office is a “pony haven!
“Here’s a list of our herd, from oldest to youngest: 1970 428 Super Cobra Jet Mach 1 Mustang in Avocado Green (a beautiful car!); 1995 Blue Sapphire Mustang GT as his newest project car; 1999 Torch Red Mustang GT; 2003 Dark Shadow Gray Mach 1; 2012 Boss 302 in Competition Orange; 2012 Boss 302 Laguna Seca in Ingot Silver; 2013 Boss 302 Laguna Seca in School Bus Yellow; 2014 Gotta Have It Green Mustang Club of America Special Edition Convertible that I bought for me!; and a 2014 Shelby GT500 in Grabber Blue (we just traded our 2010 Grabber Blue GT for it!).
“As you can see, John has a hard time letting go, and so do I. He's had other Mustangs over the years, but I have to keep telling him we cannot save them all. This year we are working on a bigger corral – we need more pony room to add to our herd! As you can see, our cars attract attention. When we pull into a parking lot, we don't blend in. Why be boring when you can stand out?”
T-Bird Fan Rich Stuck of Metedeconk, NJ,
Builds, Races 1957 ‘Battlebird’ Tribute Car
We met Rich Stuck of Metedeconk, NJ, during our coverage of “The Race of Gentlemen” held on the beach along Wildwood, NJ. It would have been impossible to miss him, as his recreation of one of Ford’s famed “Battlebird” racers was nothing less than stunning. When we asked him for the story behind his tribute car, we got much more than we bargained for:
“In my teenage years, while searching magazines and catalogues for Thunderbird parts (which were harder to find then) I came across a photo of the 1957 Daytona Thunderbird that became known as the ‘Battlebird.’ That photo stuck in my mind. About five years ago I discovered that the original car was up for auction, but the price rose above my means. Almost simultaneously, I found a Battlebird clone that was for sale in Florida. Built by Tom Kitchen, the body held a fair resemblance to the original, but underneath, the car was a very tired-and-worn-out, stock ’57 T-Bird. After purchasing the car, I set about building a very accurate recreation . . .
“Long ago, in the late 1950’s, the family car was a 1957 Ford Country Sedan station wagon. As a kid, I thought that the best part of the car was its 312 cubic-inch Thunderbird Special V-8 engine, and the fact that Dad didn’t mind showing off its power every now and then. That car and its Y-Block Ford 312 started me on long and meaningful love affair for all things Ford, and for Y-Block powered cars in particular.
“At age 14, in 1965, a 1957 Ford Custom Tudor was acquired for my eventual use. It was a former moonshine hauler and was sitting engineless in a shed when found. It sold for the princely sum of $150. It eventually got a rebuilt Ford 312 engine, Custom 300 trim and a flamed paint job. The car was eventually found to be an “F-Code” Factory Supercharged Vehicle and was restored back to stock some years ago.
“I also owned a 1955 Thunderbird for many years, which was the catalyst for the Battlebird build. All the chassis modifications were accomplished by George Gudat of G&G Fabrications, setting the engine back 6 inches, down 4 inches and 2 inches to the right. This necessitated the removal of the large X-member on the frame and fabrication of a new cross member and supports.
“While the chassis work was being done, a new engine was being machined and assembled. With the help of Jordan Automotive Machine and Charles Morris, Author of How To Rebuild and Modify the Y-Block Ford, a Ford 312 was built out to 348 cid. The engine has Hilborn Fuel Injection as original, with the injectors converted to electronic control so that my Battlebird can be street driven. Clones of the original 2-into-1 headers were also fabricated.
“As the original car had an aluminum hood deck, doors, head fairing and tonneau cover, this will too. The hood and tonneau were made out of aluminum for the build, with the other parts scheduled to follow this winter. As part of the recreation, a second gas tank and Ford ‘Power Punch’ battery were added to the highly modified trunk area.
“While all the other parts of the project were being juggled, the body and frame were stripped to bare metal and repaired as necessary. At least 20 pounds of undercoat were removed in the process. The body, floors and underside were then painted the original Ford Colonial White, by expert painter Rupert White, thanks to the generosity of Jack’s Auto Body in Toms River, NJ.
“My Battlebird recreation was completed in just 10 months, which was just in time for it to appear at ‘The Race of Gentlemen’ in Wildwood. NJ. and most recently in a match race against my supercharged 1957 Ford Custom at Raceway Park in Englishtown, NJ.
“To me, the Battlebird is the ultimate expression of Ford Racing’s efforts in 1957 and a foreshadowing of the domination of motorsports that Ford has enjoyed during the following decades. I have owned FORDs exclusively throughout my lifetime, both new and vintage. I am proud to call myself a ‘FORD Guy’!”
Tom Baker of Placentia, CA, Loves His 1968 GT
but Mustang Cobras Played Big Role in His Past
We first met Tom Baker of Placentia, CA, at a Ford Racing Meet & Greet during a Mustang show at the Queen Mary in Long Beach, CA, a couple years ago. While swapping Mustang stories is quite common when you stop by our tent, Tom’s stories of what he did with his 1966 Shelby GT350 -- and how attending a Mustang Cobra drive event at the old Ontario Motor Speedway almost 39 years ago had his path cross with Carroll Shelby and a young Edsel Ford II – were uncommonly amazing, and well-deserving of this week’s Spotlight:
“I was honored when my 1968 GT was chosen as a ‘Milestone Mustang’ at this year’s Fabulous Fords Forever show at Knott’s Berry Farm. I previously owned a 1966 Shelby GT350, and in May of 1976 was invited to the press launch of the Cobra II. I was in the Cobra Owners Club of America at that time and Ford invited 1965-66 GT350 owners to the Ontario Motor Speedway to drive the new Cobra II’s with the media. Edsel Ford was there, as was Carroll Shelby, who rode shotgun in our GT350s on the track and signed autographs! Ford had brought down two or three transports full of Cobra II’s for all of us to drive, and by noon all of them needed new tires!
“After a lunch break and tire changes, it was back onto the track for more driving in our GT350s and the new black-and-gold Cobra II’s. When it was over, Ford gave us two commemorative desk plaques and a few Press Release packages as a “Thank You” gift for participating. We also received as much gasoline as we needed for the day, and then our tanks were topped off when we left. We also were given new Ford spark plugs, oil, and oil filters for future use. In the early 1980's I was offered enough cash for my GT350 to buy a house . . . which I did.
“In addition to the 1968 Mustang GT I now drive, I own lots of Mustang memorabilia and dealer items, including two of the rare 1/12th-scale battery powered Orange Mustangs that were sold at Ford Dealers in 1966. They have really early fiber-optic head lights and tail lights, and you could purchase a gas engine kit from the model’s manufacturer that you could install in place of the electric motor. My brother installed a gas-powered engine in his model, and it took off down the street and struck a curb, rupturing the fuel tank and bursting into flames. It was the first Mustang crash I had ever seen.
“I also own a Jim Beam 1964 Mustang Decanter, a 2010 Barbie Mustang Power Wheels, a lot of Mattel Hot Wheels Mustangs (including one that has a battery – the Sizzler Hot Wheel), plus a lot of Mustang models ranging from 1-2 inches up to about 6 inches long, and many, many more of all sizes. My garage is filled with old signs, old shop equipment, old auto test equipment, NOS parts in old Ford boxes from the 1940's & ’50's, tools with ‘Ford’ in the casting, Ford signage and stickers, dealer only goodies, and even a lot more. And oh, my Gilmore Gas Pump.
“It doesn’t end there: The ring tone on my cell phone is the 1968 Mustang singing commercial. Whenever I get a call, I hear, ‘Only Mustang Makes it Happen, Only Mustang Makes Life Great! Mustang Moves You, Mustang Grooves You – Mustang, Mustang, '68’!”
T-Bird Club Member Lee Stoner of Toledo, OH,
Mixes it Up with His Collection of Fords and Mercs
Lee Stoner knows cars. Not only does he own an insurance agency in Toledo, OH, but he also owns an eclectic collection of Fords and Mercurys – including a couple of sweet “Baby Birds.” We met Lee at The American Road Thunderbird Club’s 50th Annual “September Song” event in Dearborn, and loved the stories behind some of his cars. We think you will, too:
“Thanks for the nice job Ford Racing did speaking at our T-Bird meet. I agree with you that Ford club members are great ambassadors for the brand. I am a center of influence; I own an insurance agency and love to talk about my cars! I own a 2103 F-350 Super Duty; 2009 Mercury Marquis; 2003 Marquis; 1978 Ranchero; 1971 Cougar Convertible (4-speed with non-original 429); 1956 Thunderbird (that I’ve owned since I was 15; I’m 62 now); and a 1955 T-Bird. I have never worked for Ford, like many of our club members, but as you can see I bleed Ford Blue.
“I always wished I was a racer, and I even drove a stock car on a dirt track once. I bought the Ranchero for my girlfriend. We took it to a show at MIS and made a donation to a fundraiser to be able to take it out onto the track for a few laps. I was a blast to get up on the banking at speed … but we spun a bearing and blew the motor out of the Ranchero! It’s all redone now, but it wound up costing me $1,000 a lap to run at MIS after the motor rebuild!”
Warren Mansfield of Dayton, OH, Finds, Buys
and Restores His Long-lost ’69 Fairlane Cobra
We met Warren Mansfield of Dayton, OH, at the Fairlane Club of America’s 2014 National Meet this past June in Dearborn, and were amazed by the story of his car. Warren ordered a new Fairlane Cobra in 1969, sold it in 1972, found it (one step from the crusher) in 2009, resurrected it to its former glory from 2010-13, and showed it off this year. You won’t believe his journey:
“In April of 1969, I was just a few months past my 21st birthday and finally able to buy a new car. This is a story about that car and how it came to be a Fairlane and not some other popular Detroit muscle car of the day. This story also describes how I sold the car in 1972, found it (one step from the crusher) in 2009, and restored it to its former glory between 2010 and 2013.
“There were many things that influenced my decision to buy a Fairlane Cobra. First of all, there was little doubt that I would buy a Ford of some sort. As a child I watched my dad build and race Ford flathead stock cars at Danbury Race Arena in Danbury, Connecticut. He also had an old Ford pickup and we had a 1951 Mercury as our family car. Secondly, as a teenager in those days you were expected to be identified as favoring one of the major car brands, and I had made it clear that I thought the Fords were the fastest and best. I’ve been a devoted Ford owner ever since.
“When I was ready to buy, I knew I didn’t want a Cougar or Mustang or a full-size Galaxie. The Fairlane size seemed perfect. Then one day I was reading a car magazine and saw an ad for the Cobra which showed both the “Sports Roof” and “Formal Roof” versions. That Formal Roof style, and an article explaining that the Fairlane Cobra would run 13.9 seconds in the quarter mile, sealed the deal for me. So early in the Month of April, 1969, I ordered an Indian Fire (paint color) Formal Roof Fairlane Cobra from Murphy Ford in Ansonia, CT. It was a pretty bare-bones car except for the Super Cobra Jet 428 V-8 with Ram Air, a 3.91 axle, and the heavy duty “Toploader” four-speed transmission.
“Around the middle of May I got the phone call I had been waiting for: My Cobra was at the dealership. I wasted no time going to look at it. Even though it hadn’t been prepped, I thought it was beautiful. It didn’t take me long to start adding aftermarket speed parts and taking it to the drag strip on Sundays. I installed a Hurst shifter, a Ford Muscle Parts aluminum intake, Jardine headers, a Ford performance cam, a seven-quart oil pan and other speed parts.
“But for as much as I loved that car, by 1972 my world had changed dramatically. I had gotten married and was trying to buy a house. The first gas crisis struck the U.S. and having a car that used premium fuel (and a lot of it) was seen as an unnecessary burden. So I sold my Fairlane Cobra for the sum of $2,200, and thought it would be gone forever.
“About 20 years ago I found out that the guy I had sold it to still had it. It wasn’t long after that I had a chance to look at it, and it looked awful! It had been parked since 1979 and was under a tree in a field, rusting away. Its mighty 428 was long gone, the interior was destroyed by mice and squirrels, and the Ram Air hood was missing as were most of the underhood parts, like the Ram Air setup, springs, linkage, brackets, wiring clips, etc. I realized it would take a monumental effort to bring it back to its old glory. Nevertheless, after several years of trying to buy it, in 2009 the owner agreed to sell it back to me at a ridiculous price, but I had to have it!
“After literally hundreds of hours of labor, seemingly endless searches for the correct parts, and a lot of help from friends, here we are in 2014 and the car is now fully restored. I am happy to say that I achieved my two main objectives, which were to preserve as much of the original car as I could, and to bring it back to the condition it was the day I had sold it in 1972 with all of the performance pieces I had added for drag racing back in place. It was a long, hard journey, but well worth it to get back behind the wheel of this fantastic car!”
‘Dynasty’ Award makes ‘Mustang Memories’ Sweet
for Steve and Angelia Caesar’s ’78 King of Ithaca, MI
We met Steve and Angelia Caesar during the “Mustang Memories” show at the Ford Product Development Center in Dearborn, hosted by the Mustang Owners Club of South Eastern Michigan (MOCSEM). This couple from Ithaca, MI, displayed their freshly-restored 1978 Mustang II King Cobra at the 1,200-car “50th Anniversary” extravaganza, and was pleasantly surprised to drive off with the “Mustang Dynasty” award given out each year at the show:
“We bought our rust-free 1978 King Cobra on EBay back in 2005, and had it shipped from California to Michigan, where I completely disassembled the car down to just its shell. It now has new front and rear suspensions plus stainless-brake and fuel lines. The motor and trans have been rebuilt and the interior has been completely redone. Body and paint was done by Old Station Hobbies in Maple Rapids, MI.
“Old Station Hobbies is owned by a friend of ours who converted an old gas station into a car memorabilia and body shop. The car was finished this past spring, in time to bring it to MOCSEM’s big annual show on the Ford campus in Dearborn. We were so proud that our Mustang won an award at its very first big showing!”
Way down in Louisiana, Ford Truck Fan David Lee
Takes Pride in Resto of Rare ’76 Bicentennial F-150
This week’s selection comes from John Canfield of the Mach 1 Registry, who emailed us the following note: “Thought I'd send you something non-Mustang for a change of pace. One of our Mustang club members recently bought a 1976 Bicentennial F-150, and I thought it should be in your Spotlight, as they are not something you see often.” So we contacted the owner, David Lee of Central, LA (just outside Baton Rouge), to get the story behind this rare Ford pickup:
“I’ve owned Fords and then Chevrolets, but always had a soft spot for Fords. When I started having issues with my ’96 Z-71 and GM went thru the bailout, I said, ‘Enough, I’m going back to my roots!” I sold the Chevy and bought a 1979 F-150 FlareSide shorty. I planned to do a frame-off resto, and one day while searching for parts online, this 1976 Bicentennial popped up. It was local so I went to have a look at it mainly for good parts. But once I saw it, I fell in love with it, so I paid $1,800 on the spot and took her home.
“I have not seen any on the web in this condition and according to Haggerty they are quite rare. From what I could find online, Ford offered the Bicentennial Option Group for F-Series trucks for the spring of 1976. Available on the F-100 through F-350 Custom Styleside pickups in regular cab and SuperCab models, the Bicentennial pickups were available either in Wimbledon White or Bahama Blue, and featured a golden eagle graphic with red and blue border stripes. The interior treatment included special red, white and blue plaid-cloth inserts framed in blue vinyl, and an eagle badge affixed to the glove box door, right above the “Custom” emblem.
“From what I could tell, it was a $263.30 option package that was dealer-installed, and it proved quite popular, although few are said to have survived. I would love to know how many Ford sold with this Bicentennial package?
“I found out that this truck was originally owned by a gentleman in Arkansas. It was for sale on E-bay in an estate sale listing. A man here in Louisiana bought it, and he gave it to his nephew, who is who I bought it from. It was run pretty hard the last few years. I had to replace the entire brake system down to the bearings, as well as the power steering pump and radiator. I noticed that the engine, a 360 FE, had been replaced around 1983 with a reman, but it had a major oil leak from the intake gaskets. So to give it a little more go, I got a cast-iron four-barrel intake from a 1968 Mustang 390 and an Edelbrock Performer 600 cfm carburetor. I reworked the heads and replaced lifters and gaskets. Then I found the flex-plate on the transmission was cracked and the trans was slipping, so that got a fresh rebuild. Next on my to-do list is resealing the 9-inch rear.
“I plan to get the seat reupholstered as close as I can to the red, white and blue plaid. I will get exact duplicates made of the Bicentennial graphics and repaint the truck back all-original. Its Bahama Blue had been repainted sometime in its past; the owner had taped off and painted around the original graphics, as he was likely unable to get replacements from a dealer.
“My dad had a ’73 or ’74 F-250 when I was a child. I loved that baby-blue truck! Dad was a Ford man thru & thru. We moved from Livermore, CA, to Orlando, FL, in 1976. We loaded up his truck and my mom’s Mercury Montego and away we went!
“Dad and I went on many Scout and fishing trips in that truck. It had a camper on the back and we would load what seemed like the entire Scout troop in the back and head to camp. Needless to say, I had many memories of him and that truck. He sold it prior to us moving to Louisiana. He had several Rangers and Broncos afterwards, right up until he passed away a few years ago.
“I’m debating on whether to put my Bicentennial on a 1976 4x4 chassis. It was available in 4-wheel-drive and, like my dad, I love a Ford 4x4. But I will probably just restore it the way it is and drive it around from time to time and put it in a few car shows.
“My other Fords are a 2013 Mustang 3.7L convertible, and my wife has a 2000 Ford Excursion 7.3L that she just will not part with.”
Rare ‘K’ Code HiPo 289 ’64 Fairlane a Thing
of Beauty for SoCal Ford Fan Roy Maynard
When Roy Maynard emailed us from sunny SoCal and said he owned Ford that we “might find interesting,” he wasn’t kidding. Not only is his 1964 Ford “K” Code HiPo 289 Fairlane 500 ultra-rare, but his also happens to be an unrestored rust-free original with just 64,000 miles on it:
“I found this Vintage Burgundy example on the old “Woody’s” Fairlane website two years ago. It had been out East in two different Ford collections for about 24 years and rarely driven. Since the 1980’s it has only had 6,000 miles put on it. From what I can find out, there were fewer than 600 “K” Code Fairlanes built in 1964.
“It just spent four months at the San Diego Auto museum in their Muscle Car show and it generates a lot of attention wherever we take it. I have had many people come up to me at car shows and say, "I knew they existed but I have never seen one!" I’ve since lost count of the number of times I have been asked to sell it!”
“I first became a Ford fan in 1963 when I used to go to the old San Gabriel dragstrip near Pasadena, CA. Gas Ronda and Les Ritchie were racing their 1963½ “Lightweight” Galaxies. I was hooked. My first car was an Antique Bronze 1966 Fairlane GT, and I have loved Fairlanes ever since.”
Fabulous Fords Fill the Family Pole Barn
of Keith & Nancy Vincke of Chesaning, MI
Ford employee Abby Alexander tipped us off that her friends, Keith and Nancy Vincke of Chesaning, MI, had a pole barn full of cool Mustangs and hot Fords. When she pulled back the covers and sent us some pics, we just had to contact Keith for the story behind his collection:
Their Mustangs include a six-cylinder automatic ’65 Coupe; ’66 Fastback and 289 four-speed Convertible; ’67 Coupe and Convertible; ’68 302 automatic Fastback; ’69 Mach 1; ’70 Shelby GT500; and a ’99 35th Anniversary Mustang. They also have a 1966 Fairlane and a ’69 Fairlane Cobra complete with a 428 big-block and a four-speed.
“I’ve loved Fords and Mustangs ever since I was a kid, and started collecting them and some memorabilia about 25 years ago, and it just took off from there. This Ford thing runs in the family; I have four brothers and they have several great cars among them, including a 1967 Shelby GT350, a 1968 GT500 and GT500KR, a 1969 Mach 1, a 2007 GT500, plus Fairlanes and a 1969 Torino.”
And it’s not just Keith and his brothers. Abby told us that Nancy once decided to forego getting new carpet to buy one of their Mustangs, and that their son commutes from mid-Michigan down to suburban Detroit just to work for a Ford Contractor. Now that’s a true Blue Oval family!