A private investigator tracked down my family’s old Mustang California Special

1968 Ford Mustang GT california special side profile
Courtesy Dylan Feik

This article first appeared in Hagerty Drivers Club magazine. Click here to subscribe and join the club.

In the mid-1990s, my parents bought a 1968 Ford Mustang California Special. It was the very first Mustang I ever laid eyes on, and I fell in love with it. As most car stories go, however, my young parents were raising three kids (and up to 75 foster kids) and didn’t have room for the car, so they sold it.

My love of Mustangs only grew in the years since, and I always thought I’d try to find the California Special. In mid-2017, I got hold of the VIN and did an online search; I found one record in Ohio. The general public can’t obtain records of vehicles owned by another party, so I found a private investigator in Ohio and asked for a record search on the VIN. About $45 and 40 minutes later, I had the current owner and his address.

1968 Ford Mustang GT california special vintage
With help from a private investigator, Dylan Feik was reunited with his parents’ old Mustang California Special. Courtesy Dylan Feik

I sent him a letter and introduced myself and my family. I shared a picture of all of us and said I was looking for a specific Mustang. To my surprise, a week after I mailed the letter, Jim called me and told me he still owned the California Special. I was forthcoming with him in the way I located the car—he giggled at the thought that a PI was involved—and he was touched by my story. He said he had never thought about selling his Mustang but that he’d be honored to sell it to me if I wanted it.

Last September, I had to go to Baltimore for a conference. At the end of it, I drove through the night to Columbus, Ohio, where I picked up my wife and newborn daughter, then we all drove to meet with Jim and his wife, Luella, who welcomed us into their home. They had cared so well for the gold Mustang for 20 years, racking up 5000 miles on the odometer. The car arrived in California in November, and I unveiled it to my parents on December 15. They were shocked, to say the least, and so happy this show-quality GT/CS had rejoined the Feik family.

1968 Ford Mustang GT california special rear three quarter
Courtesy Dylan Feik


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