I am an original owner of a 641/2 mustang convertible. Retelling the story of how I became one, even after 50 years, instantly transports me back to the simpler times of a goofy 16 year old kid...
My Dad was just a small town, small income family man who loved Fords. In July of 1964, a few days after my sixteenth birthday, he surprised me by suggesting we take a walk down to our local Ford dealership to take a look at these new Mustangs he’d been hearing about. What followed that summer morning changed my life forever.
Charles Prince Ford Sales was the only car dealership in my small hometown of Colfax, California (pop 910). As we walked into the showroom (a garage actually), I’ll never forget that moment when I came face-to-honeycomb-grill with the first Mustang I’d ever seen, a white 289 hardtop.
Well, if a car can flirt, that’s what she did. While I started a slow orbit around the car of my dreams, my Dad and a salesman crossed the room and began an arms-folded chat.
Dad eventually came back over and told me he recently won $800.00 playing a KENO ticket in Reno and that he knew about the $400.00 I had in my bankbook from a couple of years of washing dishes after school at the local diner. He said if we combined our money it would make a pretty good down payment. His fatherly advice included getting the 260 V-8 vs. the 289 and to get a color besides the more common white, blue, and poppy red...especially the poppy red. Before we left, I also remember him saying, “You know if you took the $150 you save by getting the 260, you could use it to get a convertible…it just might be more fun.”
With my Dad co-signing, I took ownership of my Mustang on Monday, July 27, 1964, and as far as the convertible thing goes, my Pop proved to be a very wise man.
In early 1977, after more than a dozen years of hard driving, I parked my tired pony down by the shed, threw a deflated rubber raft over her, got married, bought a tiny Honda and became a family man. Like a kid’s outgrown toy, my Mustang didn’t move for the next 33 years.
Finally in the late fall of 2009 I began my Mustang’s resurrection. I figured converting it from a multi-generational squirrel storage facility back to the car of my dreams wouldn't take more than maybe a few months. Exactly as I had anticipated, three years of a love/hate restoration odyssey followed.
My inspiration throughout the renovation effort was to recapture that same “Summer of ’64” feeling I had when, as a 16 year old kid, I slipped into that new seat, gripped the gear shift knob, let out the clutch and began the first of a thousand slow cruises down Main Street.
As a tribute to my late Dad, I resisted the temptation to modify. By choosing to rebuild my original parts over buying replacements, I was able to retain all the major components (block, carb, generator, starter motor, 3 speed tranny, etc.) of my Dearborn pony. The original paint was completely stripped and repainted with the identical ’64 Prairie Bronze. Additionally, the “Prince Ford - Colfax” dealer plate frames I received the day I purchased my Mustang have been faithfully securing my originally issued license plates for the past 49 ½ years.
I’m happy to say my restoration goal was achieved. All Ponies were meant to be on the road and I swear every time I return home from a drive my wife tells me I’ve broken out in pimples again. I guess this original owner will always be 16.