9 March 2008

A Father, a Daughter and their ’68 Mustang

The following story is one of the entries for Hagerty's "Car Guy Search," a campaign to find the star of our next "Car Guy" print ad. For information on how you can submit your own story, see below.

Dear Hagerty:

I wanted to share my story with you and why I insure my ’68 Mustang with Hagerty. About 7 years ago, my oldest daughter had just turned 15. She was like many other teenagers I’m sure, and to say that our relationship was strained is probably an understatement. A friend of mine had a ’68 Mustang Coupe that had been sitting in a field for a while and was in need of some love and attention. After we charged the battery and changed the oil, it started, but had a horrible valve noise and the inside had been home to various small animals and water damage from an open window. We bought it anyway. On the way home, I made a deal with my daughter. If she helped me clean it up and put it back together, it would be her 16th birthday present.

When we got home and got a better look at the car, we realized the car was in bad shape. Rust had won the battle on the quarter panels and around the radiator. The interior and drivetrain would have to be replaced, and hours upon hours of body work would be needed to get her back on the road. But a deal was a deal, so we started pulling parts and working.

We spent four or five nights a week out in the shop. In the beginning, most of the nights were very quiet, other than the radio playing in the back ground, hardly a word was spoken. We ended each week by completing a parts list and sitting down with the catalogues from Mustangs Unlimited, NPD and other such entities and ordering what we would need for the following week. When we did talk, it was mostly about the car and how things worked and what repairs would be needed to get us to the next stage. She never missed a night. If I was out in the shop doing something, she was right there beside me.

As her 16th birthday drew near, I was regretting the fact that we would not be finished with our project. We had become very close and the car was “our” thing. She also realized that we had spent thousands more on it than originally planned and was worried about driving it. When I totaled the receipts a month before her birthday, I realized that we had spent over $20,000 and still needed some big ticket items. So her mom and I decided we’d upgrade my daughter’s car and help relieve some of the stress we both had about her driving this classic.

We found a beautiful ’94 Mustang Convertible and got it in and had it painted without my daughter knowing. The ’68 was 95% complete on her birthday. Her 16th Birthday was on Easter Sunday. The Saturday night before Easter we were working in on the car in the shop and she was frustrated that her car wouldn’t be done in time. I made a guarantee that she would have her Mustang on her birthday. What she didn’t know what that the Easter Bunny had put her new Mustang keys in her Easter basket. On Easter morning she found the keys in her basket and ran down to the shop and opened the door to see her convertible sitting next to our project car. She loved the new car and was somewhat relieved that she wouldn’t be driving the ’68.

We finally finished the ’68 and needed to get it insured. Someone recommended Hagerty to us so we called and became a member of the Hagerty family. This old Mustang was the catalyst that brought a father and daughter back together again. The car means more to my family for the reason we bought it, not because of what it cost us to put her back together. I wouldn’t trust something like that with just any insurance company! The relationship I have with my daughter is stronger than ever, all because of countless nights spent together working on an old car.

Thanks Hagerty!

John from Salisbury, NC

To read other stories like John's, click here.

2 Reader Comments

  • 1
    Dave sims Tallahassee April 16, 2014 at 20:01
    Any car project with a classic involving your daughter who appreciates the effort is time well spent! I have a '68 Camaro that my daughter loves, not a mustang but classics are universal! By the way she is insured by Hagerty (The car!). Thank you for keeping the young cool!
  • 2
    Jeff Hansen California March 27, 2015 at 11:03
    Having a car project to do with your kids, boys or girls is priceless. My son and I spent 14 months on a 1980 Z/28. It started with a road trip to Texas to pick it up. Then countless nights and weekends working on it. The time spent pulled us closer and gave him a sense of pride as he drove it, not to mention being careful with it.

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