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MAY 9, 2024 | By Julie Crate

Travis & Julie Crate Test Fate In Uncovering Their Storied ‘The Going Thing’ 1969 Mustang

Blue 1969 Mustang on the dragstrip

When we spotted this rare “The Going Thing” 1969 Mustang during a weekend cruise-in at the Gale Halderman Museum in Tipp City, Ohio, we knew we had to find out more from its owner, Travis Crate. We hadn’t seen or featured one of these “The Going Thing” drag-racing Mustangs since we put Greg Torbinski’s restored ’69 Going Thing Mustang in the Ford Fan Spotlight back on March 22nd of 2017. So we talked to Travis and after hearing that his Going Thing has a very cool history, he told us that his wife, Julie, would send us the backstory of how fate may have brought them ownership of this historical gem while in search of a much different car. We’ll let Julie tell you how this couple got going on getting The Going Thing ’69 Mustang in their lives below:

“Hi, Ford Performance! To truly appreciate the unique history of our car, we have to go back -- way back. The year was 1969, and the Ford Drag Team was promoting its ramped-up performance vehicles. This promotion was BIG. Ford hired a band to produce songs, commercials were plastered across every household television, and the Cleveland Sales District set up a special “drive & buy” event located at Thompson Drag Raceway in Cleveland, Ohio. This regional special-interest Mustang was pegged “The Going Thing” as it was The Going Thing to own one of these distinctive and powerful rides.Ford plate on mustang

“The car was painted Richard Petty blue as it was the only year that Richard Petty drove for Ford. Hubert Platt and Randy Payne showed up at the track to roar down the strip with their Ford Drag Team Mustangs. Spectators had the opportunity to watch the cars perform, and buy them right from the track. Cars that weren’t sold the day of the event were hauled to dealerships.

“One special blue Mustang was released to Quality Motors in Titusville, Pennsylvania, shortly after the event. It wasn’t long before a couple of local motorheads spotted the car and bought it to race. And race it they did! Original owner Gene Cook and friend Tom Wishnok burned rubber out of the dealership and never looked back. Too blue to race, Gene and Tom quickly swapped out the dreamy blue paint to an intimidating black-and-orange color combination and named it “Rat Trap.” The two owned and raced the car until 1976.

As luck would have it, Jerry Dick was looking for just a car to race. Rat Trap was sold to Jerry and Patty Dick of Polk, Pennsylvania, in March of that year. It wasn’t long before Jerry and Rat Trap were burning up the track in the UMTR race division. Jerry wanted more power and buried a 428 Super Cobra Jet into the eager engine bay. With newfound speed, there was no stopping Jerry and Rat Trap. Original racetrack records show Jerry’s precise and meticulous tuning of every inch of the car. A fine-tuned machine, Jerry and Rat Trap were well-known and respected at the racetrack, and wife Patty, loved by all, was never far behind.Rat Trap drag car with black paint

“After several years of racing the car, Jerry noticed that the car didn’t have a paint code stamped on the door tag. With a terrible, curious itch, he decided to dig into research. As Jerry dug, revealing information emerged. It wasn’t long before suppressed blue paint started to show through the worn black layers. It was then that Jerry realized what he had: a rare piece of Mustang history. With help from friends, Jerry restored the car and continued to race it, now in its original blue color with distinct white striping. He went on to win more races, with Patty by his side.Travis and Jerry

In the fall of 2016, Jerry unexpectedly passed away at the track while doing what he loved. Fellow racers, family and friends were devastated with the sudden loss. Travis and Julie Crate knew nothing of Jerry and Patty Dick. However, Travis worked with Kathy, a friend of the couple. In casual muscle car conversation, Travis had mentioned to Kathy that he regretted letting a 72’ Maverick Grabber get away when he was a teenager. Travis had grown up watching the car street race on the sultry blacktop country roads but simply didn’t have the money to buy it when offered to him. After several minutes of discussion, Kathy mentioned that she knew exactly where that car was hiding. It just so happened that Jerry Dick was not only known for showing up at the track with a 69’ Rat Trap Mustang, but he also ripped up the track with a red 72’ Maverick Grabber that was bought from Travis’s hometown. It was, in fact, the same car.Travis and Julie

“A few months after Jerry’s death, Patty’s heart was heavy, but she knew it was time to find a home for the cars. Kathy spoke with Patty and a meeting was set for Travis, and his wife Julie, to see the Maverick in person. Travis was excited with the chance to buy “the one that got away.” With anxious apprehension, Travis and Julie set out to fulfill a childhood dream. What they found, however, was more than they could have imagined. While waiting for Patty to grab the keys to an adjacent garage, they noticed a light blue car cover that hugged every curve of the beauty waiting underneath. Looking at each other wide eyed and anticipating, Travis asked Patty what was hiding under the sheet. As Patty pulled back the cover, the silent ’69 Mustang glowed in all its glory, and the rest is history.Julie Patty and Travis

“A friendship ensued and stories were swapped. Patty told of the many racetrack adventures that she and Jerry and so many friends shared. Letting go of the cars would not be easy. Finally, with a strong, faithful promise to never sell the cars, Travis and Julie bought both the Maverick and The Going Thing Mustang in April of 2017. With only about 5,000 original miles on it, a quarter-mile at a time, Travis and Julie are the third owners. Though records show some discrepancy in the actual number of The Going Thing Mustangs produced, it is estimated that about 77 of these cars were made, and only a handful are known to exist today.Travis and Julie with car show award

“Was it fate that brought Patty, Travis, and Julie together? No, it was a bigger plan. A plan that involved healing, friendship, and the love of cars. And this is the unforgettable story of Travis and Julie’s very special ‘69 Mustang.”


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