To those of us who love seeing the world through a windshield and over the rim of a steering wheel, Dave Kunz’s attachment to his 1965 Ford Mustang makes perfect sense. When you’re lucky enough to get a perfect day on your favorite empty stretch of road, everything else fades away.

“Driving is freedom, whether you want to drive around the block, or if you want to drive across the country,” Kunz says. “You’re in control of where you go. That’s why driving is important.”

Kunz goes way back with his Mustang, growing up in its back seat when the car belonged to his aunt and uncle. He clearly remembers going for rides in it—the sound of the engine, the smell of the vinyl interior. “I dreamed of someday owning it. It took them a while, but eventually they did sell it to me,” Kunz says. “When (my uncle) finally sold it to me, I felt like he was trusting me with his baby.”

Packing a 289-cubic-inch V-8 with a four-barrel carburetor, dual exhaust, and unique honey-colored paint, the car’s rumble and look came to represent Kunz’s fantasy of a custom car. He fondly recalls being 15 years old and getting stick-shift lessons from his uncle in the Mustang. After Kunz struggled, the two swapped seats so his uncle could show him how it was done. “He popped the clutch and smoked that tire all the way down the block.”

For Kunz, his Mustang connects him to a chapter of his life where he was totally blown away by cars. “It’s a connection to my family and people like my uncle who would teach me about cars,” he says. And every time he gets behind the wheel, turns over the 289, and hits the open road, that connection is alive and well.

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