When we left off I had just sold both my ’67 Galaxie convertible and my ’63 Cadillac Fleetwood to the same guy for not as much money as I should have, abandoning a free parts car in the process. Which put me back into that favorite state of life – money in my pocket and an entire world of used cars to consider.
So how did I go from cars that were, let’s say, typical of a much older demographic into the thing that every other guy my age wanted? That is a really good question, and one that I lack an answer to. It was just one of those “I’ll know it when I see it” moments.
I saw the classified ad in the newspaper, and called to ask the basic questions. Which led to a much longer drive than I had intended – to Decatur, Indiana, a county-seat town nearly an hour from my mother’s house. I think I asked about the color during that phone call. I did not like the answer. “Damn” I thought – that same lime gold and black combo that had dogged me during my entire car-owning life. But as would be a recurring theme with me, when you find the right car the color just rides along as part of the deal. And besides, I still had some unused spray cans of Dupli-Color, so at least there was that.
Upon examination, it was a great looking Mustang. Keep in mind what most early Mustangs looked like in northern Indiana in 1979. They usually came in two flavors: First, and least common, were cars that were fairly straight, clean and decent, but rusty. More common were cars that had been beaten half to death by some (other) idiot kid, and were rusty. Quite amazingly, this Mustang was “none of the above”. I think this was a picture I took as soon as I got it home in March of 1979.
Someone had done some really good bodywork to
slay slow the rust monster and the car looked absolutely right, other than some slight color variations between panels – something almost impossible to avoid with that color, which tended to fade with age. The paint was shiny, the panels were straight and the black vinyl roof was in great shape. The black interior was “great-minus”. It had the console and everything was very presentable, but it had the misfortune to be a 1968 instead of a 1967. I kind of liked the universal FoMoCo steering wheel hub that year, but the problem with a 68 was the seat vinyl. That was the year Ford had switched to a softer, more pliable vinyl material on the inner parts of the seat cushions that had an unfortunate tendency to split at the seams. My late, lamented Galaxie convertible’s black vinyl seats had been stiffer but much more durable, marking 1968 as one of Ford’s periodic slouches into cost cutting. The photo above is not my car, but was close if we subtract the air conditioning and the automatic and add a few splits in the driver’s seat.
The six cylinder engine was a plus because gasoline was jumping in price, and the floor-mounted 3 speed stick provided at least a little performance benefit. The car drove right, too. OK, the brakes pulled hard to the right, but I knew how to do a brake job so that was fixable. I had spent enough time in a friend’s early 1970 Falcon that I knew how a 200 cid six with a 3 speed should feel, and this one was spot on. For a basic six cylinder Mustang hardtop, it had been pretty well equipped. In addition to the vinyl roof I had the upgraded wheelcovers and the hood that contained turn signal lights in the recessed louvers. Yes, someone had chosen a very nice car and had taken great care of it.
There were two weaknesses – the car had 103k on the odo, which was a lot in 1979. It was certainly more than on any car I could think of in our extended family. This was still the era when 60k was getting up there, 80k had “had the wheels run off it” and where 100k put the thing one repair away from the junkyard. But this one did not look like a 100k car. Except for the second weakness, which was the way the blue oil smoke got going at idle. But once you got it underway the exhaust cleared up. My friend Lowell was with me and he was pretty sure this was a sign of hardened valve stem seals and not something more serious. All in all, given the condition and the price (a very fair $800), I was happy to become a Mustang owner. I am not sure when the days of finding a decent used early Mustang for $800 slipped into the mist, but I am pretty sure that those days are long gone.
There was one other thing – the AM radio didn’t work either. But what a great excuse to go to the local discount merchant and buy a brand X radio with a cassette player. I mounted two 6×9 speakers in the rear package shelf (like any self-respecting teenager) and for the first time in my life had some real car audio. I did have to go to a junkyard to find a pair of knobs because those that came with the radio unit were not deep enough to poke beyond the heavy vinyl padding on the front of the console, right over the little roll-top mini garage door that concealed the storage cubby ahead of the shift lever. A pair of knobs from a ’64 Dodge in a junkyard were perfect.
I must digress on that radio. I have always had some fairly unique tastes, and music is one area where that hit hard. Somewhere in the mid 1970s I quit listening to the stuff everyone anywhere close to my age was listening to. I had played in the high school band and gotten exposed to big band jazz and came to love it. When I first got my convertible my favorite album was a fairly recent Count Basie release, simply titled “Big Band”. When the convertible was in the body shop I was sopping up the music by Woody Herman’s First and Second Herds of the late 1940’s. My time with the Cadillac was spent with some Stan Kenton stuff from the 50’s. This is a long way of saying that an AM car radio had been a pretty useless thing in my life since Fort Wayne’s little WGL dropped its jazz-ish programming and became “1260 Gold” in the summer of 1977. And the FM of the time was no better for me. I had developed a habit – I listened to music at home and listened to my car in the car. But no more!
When I got the tape deck for the Mustang I was deeply into a multi-disc set of Benny Goodman stuff that was mostly live air checks from “The King of Swing’s” radio broadcasts (The Camel Caravan) of the late 1930’s. I had a basic cassette recorder and converted those discs to a cassette, which accompanied me for most of that summer of 1979 and became the sound track I will forever associate with this car.
To this day, I cannot look at a picture of this car without hearing in my mind Harry James’ opening trumpet blasts on the first track of the first disc, “Dear Old Southland”. If I had to describe the Goodman band of the 30’s with a single word, that word would be joyful. BG always put me in a good mood (still does). And so did driving that Mustang.
I was really proud to drive this one around because it looked so great. I was also proud of having four matching tires for the first time in my life. Until I drove over a broken bottle in a parking lot and punctured one of them. Oh well.
I got it not long before the end of my first year of college at Ball State University in Muncie, Indiana. I drove it back to school for the last week of class and loaded all of my worldly possessions into it for the summer back at home. Which was the last time that everything I owned would fit in a single small car. I had never had to worry about efficiency in packing before. I wasn’t crazy about it.
The clutch pedal was a little sticky at the top of its travel, so I replaced the clutch pedal bushings. The throwout bearing was getting noisy and I decided that I would replace the clutch. I had at least one person shake his head, saying “I’ve never heard of replacing a clutch if it ain’t broke or slipping” but I was up for the adventure.
My buddy Lowell and I got all four corners of the car in the air and started to work. Clutch disc, pressure plate, throwout bearing, the works. It took us an entire day but by nightfall we had it all buttoned up and ready to test. Hmmm – we wondered why the wheels wouldn’t stop turning when I pushed on the clutch pedal before we took the car down off the jack stands. Fortunately it was a Saturday so we had another day to figure it out before we both had to be at work. On Sunday morning we took everything back apart and discovered that the clutch disc was 1/4 inch larger in diameter than the label on the box had indicated. The guys at the auto parts shop were as amazed as we were. One correctly sized clutch disc later, we were in business. We were a lot faster replacing that clutch the second time – another life lesson in the importance of experience.
I took my first solo road trip in that car, to a small town near Sandusky, Ohio to visit my cousin John. He had kept the 68 Mustang he had driven in high school and college, and it was getting rusty in all the usual places. He was a teacher who had more time than money and he had worked out a deal with someone he knew for a paint job if all the prep work could be done in advance. He had finished the body work and all that was left was the over-all sanding for the full body repaint. Lots and lots of sanding. The sensation of endless sanding on a gold car was like being in a desert. The dust, the drab lack of color and the hot summer weather made me endlessly thirsty for water. Or maybe beer. For the first time in my life, my light green car parked nearby looked like an oasis.
My Mustang would turn out to be a summer fling. There were many things about the car that I really liked. Not least was that it was a hoot to drive. Early Mustangs have gotten dissed for being mediocre handlers, but for a guy whose previous wheels were big land yachts in the 4-5,000 pound range, the Mustang was like a go kart. I liked the direct feel of the manual steering and brakes, and really loved shifting my own gears. My previous cars were cars that put a lot of buffering between me and the road. The Mustang was a much more direct experience that really felt like driving.
But little things were irritating me, like the worn hinges that made the drivers door drop a half inch when you opened it, and the constant rattling of the lock posts in the metal areas under the windows. Also, I didn’t like the way the front suspension bushings would start squeaking about 1,000 miles after a grease session. It felt like the car was giggling at me. My big Ford had never done that. The oil burning also nagged at me, and another oddity was that something about the interior plastics filmed-up the inside of the windshield faster than any other car I have ever owned. But I wonder if the biggest problem was that it was so socially acceptable. Every kid my age either had or wanted a Mustang. A friend saw me in it and said “I never took you for a Mustang person.” And though his comment irritated me a bit, that friend was right. I had proved to myself that I was a fan of cars that were bigger and more unusual, and I found the Mustang a little too compact and a little too common. And it was that damned light green.
I drove the Mustang back down to Muncie when school started at the end of August. State Road 3 was a direct route between Fort Wayne and Muncie, and was a largely deserted highway with good pavement. In other words, it was a great place to open it up. I had, by then, gotten multiple cars to 100 or more. My Galaxie would do it and so would the Fleetwood – I suspect that one would have gone a fair bit above 100, but it was old enough that I had no desire to press my luck. OK, press my luck any more than I was already pressing it. On that bright, sunny day I learned that 90 mph was every bit of what an aging six cylinder Mustang with a 3.25 axle could deliver. Oh well, the short axle had made the car feel lively in normal use so I could live without better highway gearing. Besides, the 55 mph speed limit was the law, and was a good environment for that Mustang.
As for a social life, my roommate and I put a little more effort into assimilating on the dorm floor, but not as much as we should have. In retrospect that is something I would do differently if I were to wake up and find that I was still a college sophomore. But as I actually lived life, I enjoyed time by myself and time with cars, so one way I loved to spend my free time was cruising the car lots on Sundays. I wasn’t looking for another car any more than someone who likes going to the zoo is looking for a lion – I just liked going out to see them. Indiana law decreed (and still does) that car dealers must be closed on Sundays, so it was the one day when I could browse to my heart’s content without being accosted by a salesman. It was on one such Sunday in October when one such car dealer’s lot contained something I simply could not live without.
It was a stupid trade – something my mother regularly mentioned for years afterwards. But the Mustang was really, really mainstream – and I wasn’t. “It’s not you, it’s me” as the saying goes. I am, however, glad to have had the experience. I am part of that great Mustang alumnae club which is nearly universal in my age group. This was a car that everyone had or rode in with some frequency. My Life With A Mustang lasted roughly 6 months and 3,000 miles, and during that time the little car did everything that anyone could have asked of it. Had I possessed more brains or more self control, I would have kept if a lot longer. But . . . . yeah. And besides, I would not have been able to write next week’s COAL installment.
That’s a great story, only you could have found a lime gold Mustang with a vinyl roof and listened to jazz in it. Not very mainstream at all, but I wonder what Kenton would have thought of it.
I have a suspicion about what was so compelling next, but I may be jumping ahead..
Yeah, I guess I found a way to make normal a little more unusual. I have been asking myself lately if I would have bought the car had it been an automatic – I am not sure. I think it was having a clutch pedal that pushed it over the top for me.
As for what’s next, that will have to remain a mystery until this time next week. 🙂
What a beautiful Mustang.
As for the “mainstream” thing, it’s interesting how general perception about specific cars demographics change over time.
It really was beautiful, and there was almost nothing I had to do to it – almost every thing I did was by choice, except the brakes and replacing a short stretch of fuel line that had rusted where it passed through a boxed-in structural member under the car. It would have been a really good car for the next few years had I hung onto it.
I am having a hard time coming up with an equivalent in today’s world – a 10-12 year old car that was phenomenally popular when new, with all kinds of demographics.
Playing the clarinet in high school I easily earned the reputation of a ’53 [old man car] Chrysler driving, band marching, nerdy burger flipping dweeb, so it wasn’t a stretch to be uncool and like the music of my parents. Besides, that’s the music I heard at home ALL-THE-TIME and let’s face it, Goodman, Miller, Dorsey and their cohort could develop some great ear worms.
My early car purchases were done with little thought and mostly teenage impulse and/or desperate need , so I, and probably many others, can say, yea … that’s kind of how our car buying experiences went too!
But none of those early car purchases had any music generating capabilities except for AM radios with one scratchy dashboard speaker. No FM, no 8-track, no cassette, no CD, and no bluetoo… well, no nothing.
But that old time big band music; it was in my head. All the time. Every note, pause, drum roll, and big blast ending.
I think I shared this with you on your other web site, so please excuse the redundancy. But, sometimes this kind of stuff needs to be exposed to the world just in case some new kids need a history lesson in greatness. And as you know, that’s Jess Stacy at 9:25 and Gene Krupa’s machine gun ending.
By the time I was of that stage, stuff like Goodman was not even the music of my parents, who were members of the silent generation who became adults in the early 50s. What is funny is that lots of classic jazz has become popular among younger people today just because it is so widely available. Back in the late 70s it just made you seem weird. But I embraced the weird. BTW, it had been awhile since I heard it and felt a compulsion to listen to your entire clip. As you say, I know every solo lick, and every other bit so that I could play it entirely in my head if I felt the need. But listening is so much better!
I have periodically taken dips into popular music (even as recently as getting samplings from three kids in their high school and college years – some of which I have liked a lot) but jazz from before the widespread popularity of the LP record remains my musical home.
And the Mustang was very much an impulse purchase – it was the best of what was available in the short time I was shopping. Had something else beat it in that sweet spot of price, condition and being interesting, I surely would have bought it instead.
Too compact, too common, and too green. Any one of those is sufficient to kill the joy; you had hit the jackpot with this Mustang.
Like DougD I suspect I know what is next although I haven’t yet peeked ahead.
What is it about a Mustang? A person gets one, they enjoy it, but they don’t fret when it goes away plus they really have no desire for another one.
Off topic: Did you know the family having the Kojak-esque Buick colonnade sedan in the third to last picture?
I certainly understand people who are really into Mustangs. There were so many reasons they were popular. There have been a couple of times since when I was in a mood for a later version of one, but those stars never aligned quite right.
The tri-level across the street with the Buick – I actually did not know them. I had known the prior owners very well, a younger couple with two little girls. My sister babysat for them and I would fill in on occasions when she couldn’t and I had nothing better to do. The wife was still driving the 67 Fairlane 500 convertible she bought as her first new car and the husband had a 72-ish Pinto. They moved after I left for college, and never got to know the next owners, who were not there all that long.
plus they really have no desire for another one.
I’m waiting for a couple of our serial Mustang owners to chime in on that. 🙂
I am too. Never would I throw out bait. 🙂
Serial T-Bird owner here… Mustangs weren’t really on the radar until I had no other choice in a RWD 2-Door Ford Car.
I get the attraction after owning one, but would likely not get another one. I like the idea of just keeping my 2007 going for as long as I can.
But I’m seeing the attraction to the Mach E… (he ducks to avoid things being thrown at him now)… An EV is inEVitable, and after Jim Klein’s review, I could see one of those as a cool retirement vehicle.
Of course I have to chime in on this topic! I saw my first Mustang the day before they were formally introduced at our small town Ford dealer. I liked it but didn’t think it was for me. I was 16 and just gotten my license. In college I started with a ’62 Fairlane and moved on to a ’64 Galaxie. That one was not a good car. I decided after that one that it would be my last boat. Looking for a different car after I returned from Basic Training I found my first Mustang, a low mileage ’67 coupe. I had that car for 23 years. It started out as a family car and ended up being a toy. That one was followed by a ’75 Mustang II, ’86 fastback, 2003 V6 Coupe, ’66 Coupe, and my ’09 V6 Coupe. In addition we bought a ’78 Mustang II for our oldest girls to drive in high school and a ’74 Mustang II parts car. I have driven or ridden in many others from a ’66 6 automatic to a ’68 Shelby GT500KR and a ’69 Boss 429.
Between the ’67 and the ’03 I went 13 years without a Mustang. My job required putting on a lot of miles within the state on a daily basis. For years I drove compact pickups and when It was time to trade the last one in I decided to buy something sporty to make work a little more fun. I looked at a lot of cars but ended up with my ’03 Coupe. It was a great little car and really helped me with my driving skills.
That being said, they are not everybody’s cup of tea. To each his own. I have friends who can’t believe I still drive one of these, let alone with a stick shift.
The only two I didn’t regret selling were the first Mustang II and the ’86. They were both four bangers. The girls’ Mustang II was pretty much bulletproof and made about 3 trips to the body shop. Actually caused by other drivers. I really hated to sell the ’03 but I was planning on retirement within a year and it already had 228K miles on it. I enjoyed it so much that it took me a long time to “bond” with the ’09 with all it’s upgrades. My plan is to keep the ’66 for the rest of my life and maybe even the ’09 if something catastrophic doesn’t happen to it. The ’66 has already survived a building fire and a couple of under hood wire fires.
As to future Mustangs, I really don’t care for the latest design. I have driven a couple and they do what they are supposed to do but just don’t appeal to me. Just my opinion, but to me the electric “Mustangs” will never be a true Mustang. But then, Detroit has a habit of putting names of successful brands of the past on new offerings. For instance, Nova, LeMans, Charger (K car) etc.
I enjoy my Mustangs every time I drive them, but I have told friends that ironically the most significant car in my lifetime is still the ’79 Malibu I bought new and still own. Someday I am going to do a COAL on that one.
Sorry for the long reply.
The reply was interesting. No wonder you go by Mustang Rick!
I don’t want to leave the impression that I didn’t enjoy the Mustang – I did. I think that was a period of my life where I was seeking perfection from a car. We all know that doesn’t exist, but some of us take awhile to learn it.
Hindsight tells me that I should have kept it for a long time – maybe even as long as some of the longtime Mustang owners here. But then I got other experiences instead.
No, I could see that you enjoyed the car while you had it. I also forgot to mention that I thought it was a beautiful car. That color and a black top work better on the Mustang than any other car, I think. One reason I bought my ’66 was because of the contrast between the red paint and the black top. When I saw my first one I never dreamed that I would eventually own several. In fact my Dad had me convinced that when I hit my mid twenties and had a family I would be driving a four door sedan or wagon. That never happened. The only sedans I owned were in high school. All of my 3 siblings have owned at least one Mustang.
People’s tastes change over the years, I know mine have. I’m glad you enjoyed the car while you owned it. They are a perfect summer car. But lousy in winter.
“I mounted two 6×9 speakers in the rear package shelf (like any self-respecting teenager)”
Great story well told. Your search for something less mainstream has me quite intrigued…
You make me remember now that when I prepared to be done with the Mustang I took my speakers out and bought a piece of black vinyl to cover the hardboard parcel shelf under the back window. It would have been a whole lot easier to just buy new speakers for the next installation.
Funny, I did the same thing with the first couple of cars that I installed those 6X9s in. Even though they were kind of buzzy generally crappy speakers. I’m not sure what I saw in them other than “these might be useful some day”. Which surely they were not.
Yep, I did that on that on the package shelf of my Cougar along with some on the kick panel by 1971. Between 1972-76 I didn’t enjoy them that much since I had an all paid company car so the Cougar was not a 6 day a week car. By 1977 I saw that it would be with me longer than even I had thought so I went to to Berkeley Ford and bought a new package panel and two kick panels before they got discontinued and installed them.
I know it’s not your favorite, but I really like the Lime Gold/Black vinyl roof color combination.
Just yesterday, I was watching some old Mustang commercials on YouTube. I’ve often wondered what it is about early Mustangs that people find so attractive (I say this owning one and liking Mustangs). The old magazine articles didn’t often gush about the looks, and many of them thought the front end was a little haphazard on the ’65/’66 models. I think it’s just the proportions in general, including that little kickup behind the doors. They’re certainly boxier than the concurrent Corvair. All I know is that if you want an old car that almost everyone will like, that’s the one.
I’ve often wondered about that too, why it was so attractive to so many. Obviously it arrived at the right with the right ingredients, and created a tidal wave. That alone was a huge factor. Its styling was a somewhat curious blend of traditional and fresh, in a harmonious way that clicked. Folks like fresh, but not if it’s too challenging. The Mustang nailed it in that regard.
As time has passed, I have come to appreciate that color combo – it is certainly one that was unique to its time, and is not so commonly seen now – everyone who restores them seems to prefer other colors. If a car of that combo came into my life today, I would enjoy it.
I saw a 66 (I think) convertible parked in a parking lot all by itself a few years ago, and I spent several minutes just walking around it and appreciating its styling all over again. Lots of cars look great except for one or two things, but the early Mustang nailed virtually everything. I don’t know if it is still true, but at one time the early Mustang was the most collected old car out there. I do not regret having the experience for a minute. I wonder if I would have kept it longer if it had been a V8/stick.
As always, it’s satisfying to get the full story on your cars after having heard/read snippets about them over the years.
As to music, I was exposed to classical music from very early on. My father played the piano, but actually we didn’t have one at home until 1962, when I guess he felt he could afford one. And I started violin lessons about a year later. We used to go to concerts at the university, which had an excellent music school.
In fact I have vivid memories of a recital in about 1964 or so at the university by a visiting pianist, William Doppmann, whose intensity (and what he did with his jaw while playing) was mesmerizing. In a coincidence, I noticed he was performing here at the University of Oregon some years back, and we went and were mesmerized again (including his ability to seemingly pop his jaw in and out of joint).
I didn’t play the violin well, and gave it up when we moved to Baltimore in 1965. And my musical interests soon gravitated first to soul, and then acid rock.
But when I moved back to Iowa City in 1971, aged 18, I immersed myself into all of the classical music readily available to me again. Having three girl friends (one after the other) that were themselves bass, cello and piano players, and whose father were music profs at the university, had a significant influence too.
My point is that between the ages of 18 and 23, my main musical interest was classical, and I collected a fair number of records.
I eventually tired of it in later years, and moved on to classic 50s – early 60s jazz (Monk, Coltrane, Davis, etc..) But just in the past few months I’ve suddenly returned back to classical music to listen to on my headphones on the many drives between Eugene and Port Orford. I’ve been listening mainly to Mozart, and his utter genius is simply incredible.
I can very much appreciate big band, but since I was not exposed to it early, except peripherally, I do not gravitate to it. So far, anyway. Who knows, I may tire of classical again. 🙂
Even though I had that Mustang for only about six months, cars from that age in life leave very vivid impressions.
I have taken some fairly deep dives into classical (and earlier) music in a few periods of life, and there is much there I love. My mother had some classical records she bought in the late 50s so I got some exposure as a kid, and I went into a big Bach phase as a young adult. You remind me that I am deficient in my Mozart exposure. I must do something about that.
Aha! Now I understand your comment about the picture I left in your Galaxie COAL of a Lime Green ’68 Mustang. I bet you never thought you’d have two cars of that color!
It’s funny about these original Mustangs, because I’d never appreciated – or even liked – them until just a few years ago. I’m probably about 10 years behind you, and as I was growing up in the 1980s, it seemed that the ’60s Mustangs still on the road were either beaters being driven by their grumpy original owners, or beaters driven rough-looking teenagers. But what really annoyed me at the time was how just about everyone from my parents’ generation would talk endlessly about how wonderful these Mustangs were. All the Mustang Worship just irritated the heck out of me, so I decided I didn’t like them.
Now, I can appreciate these cars as being good-looking and enjoyable cars. My wife owned a ’67 Springtime Yellow Mustang with the 289 V-8 (her parents had bought it new, and she kept it as her daily driver until 1995). Her stories gradually started changing my mind.
I’ve been considering writing up my changing attitudes about Mustangs, using this lime green ’68 as an example (another picture of it is below), but it’s a tough thing to expand upon, so I think it’ll wait a while longer.
The Mustang is certainly a car that people have an attitude over – good or otherwise. I was just getting old enough to pay attention to new cars when the Mustang came out – so I understood Mustang Fever from the beginning when it was the hot new thing. Several years later they became the choice for parents buying a used car for kids – they were common and popular. And my friend Lowell had a 68 Cougar all through high school so I got some firsthand exposure before I owned my Mustang.
I remember at the time feeling the lack of a V8 engine. The six made a great economy car – something good for me at the time and probably the reason the price was so reasonable. But I always thought of the car as the ultimate Falcon. Today I would appreciate that 6/3 speed setup far more than I did then.
Coming up on 16 in 1969 I had been collecting all those Motor Trend cars of 1967, 1968, and 1969 to look for my car. I too wanted a Mustang but don’t ask me why other than something about it clicked in my mind. I ended up with my father’s 68 Cougar, after his 17 months of ownership, the day I turned 16. So much for the Mustang although my best friend’s family had one in lime frost gold of course. As a counter point I had another friend, my age, in 1973, whose daily driver was a 71 Chrysler Newport in gold. That amazed me at the time till I thought about it from the perspective of a 20 year old male.
Anyway, back on subject, I finally bought a 68 Mustang from the original owner out in the Richmond District of San Francisco via Houston, Texas. She was in her mid-40’s and it was your basic Texas Mustang meaning A/C for sure with a V8. I was one of two people looking that afternoon in the garage when she asked what would happen to her car. The other buyer, early 20’s, spoke first about modifying this and that unwisely. I said take it down to the unibody, rebuild every inch of it back to stock, and just like that I got the car in Pebble Beige. It is a very enjoyable car to drive. Solid, no rattles, quite peppy, good handler, and lots of smiles.
I’m enjoying your zigzagging all over the car size and type spectrum, and it’s great that I have no idea what size or sort your next purchase will be. Really loving this series!
“I have no idea what size or sort your next purchase will be.”
I used to hear that same thing from my mother. 🙂
Nice car JP, I’d take a $800 Mustang any day of the week even a six,( Barra fits right in) stick shift no problem, but having owned over 100 cars already Ive changed my transport a few times too so cant blame you for that whats next.
100 – that’s a lot!
Chicago’s jazz programming held out for 20 more years then disappeared like Ft. Wayne’s. Dick Buckley’s show had a fantastic opening:
Niche radio formats stuck around for awhile in some places, but not many.
My oldest sister had a ’68 Mustang notchback. In the same shade of green. 200 six, auto trans. She bought it in 1970, because that’s what all 19 year old college girls drove at the time. Probably could have got a new Maverick for less money. And a Pinto was below her pay grade. Was not faster than a speeding bullet, but was as reliable as a anvil. She drove it 10 years and it had over 200K on the clock when she sold it for $800 in 1980. With no major repairs. Fun fact: When I got my drivers license in 1983, used Mustangs were already out of my price range. But ’70-72 Mavericks were everywhere, and dirt cheap. Same thrills, less money. 🙂
My cousin’s gold 68 was a 6/auto. I wonder how I would have liked that – it was the 3 speed that really made mine work for me.
Here’s a freshened memory for you!
Thanks – let’s call this one double-freshened. Another reader (I have forgotten who, but thank you again) freshened the faded original when it appeared in a comment. Your version improved it again, so thank you.
Funny you mention music. The first thing my sister did to her ‘stang was have a 8 track tape deck and door speakers installed. It had a sliding mount with a key lock so you could remove it. I think my mom bought it for her as college graduation present. I was about 4 at the time, so my memory may be a bit fuzzy. But I do remember it was a Audiovox system.
Well, no one in my family had a Mustang, but my Dad did have a mid-life crisis car, which was pretty mild but not typical to his other purchases. In 1980 he bought a Dodge Omni 024, the 2 door coupe version…it was pretty sharp, white, with a rear spoiler, he also had a sunroof added to it (I wasn’t a fan of the sunroof).
Anyhow, about 41 years ago, his best friend from school age came up to visit him (never did that before nor since, he lived about 700 miles away)…and my parents took he and his wife to Montreal for the weekend (we lived in Shelburne Vt, it was the closest big city). Anyhow, I had just gotten my ’78 Scirocco which I added a tape deck to, and decided my Dad needed one also, so I put one in as a father’s day surprise gift while they were up in Montreal.
I needn’t have bothered…the very next year (40 years ago) they ended up moving from VT to central Texas….where my Mom still lives (Dad passed 6 years ago)…The Omni didn’t have air conditioning, in fact was a pretty modest mid-life crisis vehicle, other than the spoiler and the sunroof. Guess he could have had it retrofitted, but I was stung with the same situation with my non-air conditioned Scirocco when I moved down a year later.
He soldiered on with the non-air conditioned Omni until 1986, when he bought a new Dodge 600 to replace it…which needless to say had air conditioning. Coincidentally I also held off till 1986 when I gave up my Scirocco for a GTi (air conditioned of course).
Nowdays, that would be laughable, but the traffic back then wasn’t nearly as bad as today, such that you’d be moving most of the time, and even though you got a hot breeze, at least it was a breeze. With more than 10x the number of people here, there is traffic galore, so when your air conditioning breaks, you call “uncle” pretty quickly. I still haven’t given up my manual transmission yet though, but I’ll need to with my next car, since I’m getting old and no one else can drive my car.
Nice car, in 1968 my Dad’s new car was…a Renault R10.
Ah, 6X9 speakers to replace the AM radio… I did that to my LTD, and then removed that stereo and transferred it to my Ford Futura (that came new with NO radio at all!). Back then, we all thought nothing about cutting holes into the parcel shelf for such an “upgrade”. Thankfully, we all don’t have to do that anymore, as cars come pre-quipped with decent sound for the most part.
Nice looking Mustang, JPC. Although not my favorite color for these, it somehow works on the ‘68. That shot of the interior really shows that sub-generation’s influence on the look of the interior of my own 2007. The gauges and dash shape especially.
Funny, like you I always found Mustangs to be too small. I preferred all of the T-Birds that I had over the years, but since they no longer existed when I bought my own Mustang, if you wanted a RWD 2-door Ford, you basically had no other choice. Now if you simply want a Ford CAR, you simply have no other choice.
Great series JPC… I am enjoying this a lot!
” like you I always found Mustangs to be too small.”
They were not bad for a driver, but the back seat was tiny and the trunk was next to useless. That short deck that made the proportions work so well had its cost.
I used mine on Saturday (as a truck) to go to the dump… because I don’t have a truck!
Yes, that short deck makes for a small trunk opening making it harder to load up. But somehow I make it work. Being able to fold the rear seats down for a nice pass-through is a big help. Did your ’68 have such a feature?
I think this is why my wife wants a little Maverick if we can ever get our hands on one. 😉
“Hmmm – we wondered why the wheels wouldn’t stop turning when I pushed on the clutch pedal before we took the car down off the jack stands.”
I had that exact thing happen to me about 10 years ago when friend and I just completed a clutch R&R on my ’70 GTO. Removing the inspection cover revealed the clutch disc was being held/pinched by the pressure plate structure because it was a larger diameter than the pressure plate friction ring. When I called the auto restoration parts place, he put me on a brief hold and when he returned he said all the other particular clutch kits on the shelf had the wrong diameter discs as well.
While they made good on quickly sending me the correct replacement, I still remember that feeling of being profoundly crestfallen, after having labored in the heat and humidity, of knowing I’d have to go through with it all over again. I can just imagine how you felt.
Exactly! Lowell and I scratched our heads, trying to figure out how we could have screwed things up when we had followed the Ford shop manual step by step.
While I’m on record as not really liking the styling of this particular era of Mustang, I may be reacting to how I see most of them, i.e. red, blue, and lots of copper perhaps? As a young person I probably would not have enjoyed the lime and black either, but now? I think I like it, it’s perhaps more sophisticated in that combination without overtly trying to be so. A gold one would probably strike me the same way but would be more common as well so maybe not.
As a summer fling I don’t think you can go wrong with a Mustang. Even if not really your thing, the initial excitement easily lasts the first month, you get comfortable the second month, and then in the third month you perhaps start to notice that mole, er, I mean rattle and your head maybe swivels around a little more at other possibilities as they pass by…
You describe the thought process of short term ownership perfectly. I had some spring and a little fall in there too, but double each of those time periods to 2 months and that was about it.
It was probably good I didn’t keep it into winter – my friend Lowell’s 68 Cougar had showed me how awful these were in snow. If this car had been a winter fling instead, this COAL could have gone in an entirely different direction.
And I agree with you on the colors. This combo gave the car a very grown-up look and is one seldom seen in restorations.
Around that same time period, someone around the corner from my grandparents had a very similar Mustang. I think it had the black top, but it was definitely a green ’67 or ’68. It was paired with a maroon full size Ford. I want to say a wagon from around 1970, but I don’t remember it as well as the Mustang.
Do I recall that next week’s car may be a bit angry?
“Do I recall that next week’s car may be a bit angry?”
You will just have to sail on back here next Sunday to find out.
Back in the mid-80’s I was just out of high school and working for the summer at a local cannery. There was a pretty girl working in the same part of the plant who drove her parent’s car to work–a ’67 notch in Dark Moss Green (drooool) with black vinyl roof, factory 390/4-speed. Then I stopped seeing it. I was sick to my stomach when I finally found out it had been stolen and what was left of it was found in a chop shop in Portland. 😭
Mustangs with 390s were always fascinating to me. Those were front-heavy cars even with the 289/302, but were at least moderately well balanced. I have never driven one with a 390 and wonder how it would feel. And what a terrible fate for that one.
Is it gold or green, seems to change from pic to pic? The gold/black top combo was on my aunt/uncles spiffy new “68 LTD”!
Came from Koons Ford in Falls Church, VA
I preferred the 67-68 Mustangs over the 65-66. I had an opportunity to purchase a 68 in a distress/divorce sale but I needed the money for home improvement projects. That was the one that got away. Music and cars seemed to have been intertwined since day one. What is better than driving a cool ride while listening to cool tunes. I discovered jazz and big band while in middle school. Every morning while waiting for the bus a distinguished gentleman used to walk his dog down the road and always stop to talk to me. He would ask about school and if I liked music. I advised I was in my third year of playing the piano. I told him at that point I was playing the soundtrack from Godspell but was getting tired of practicing, etc. He told me to keep it up as it could change my life. One morning my father stopped as he was going to work and rolled down the window to say goodbye and hello to my friend. I said “Dad, meet my friend Benny”…they chatted, and my father went on his way. That night at dinner my father asked do you know who your friend is and I replied No. This was 1980 so he pulled out the encyclopedia and showed me Benny Goodman’s abridged biography. I was impressed but it never changed anything as Benny was a nice neighbor who took the time to talk to a 13 yr old boy about school and music. Our conversations lasted two years and was a highlight of my early teenage years.
Wow, what a great story! How many people could have gotten casual, neighborly conversations with a musical legend? And really, it was great that any nice, older neighbor took time to talk with and encourage a kid.
SAFJR’s friend Benny. Wow, just wow.
There are pictures still up on the internet from when Benny’s house last sold in 2012. Google Benny Goodman Stamford Connecticut and there is an article from the Stamford Advocate titled “A House With All That Jazz Benny Goodman’s North Stamford Home”. The owner was very generous with pictures both inside and outside.
I just looked – thanks for this. That house was a long, long way from the Chicago tenement slums where the Goodmans lived a dirt-poor existence in Benny’s youth.
Nice tale, and surely a very tempting car for a student. It’s a Mustang, stick shift…., ok, so only a 6 and 3 speed but….. I’d have had it.
1965 Chrysler New Yorker next?
I don’t quite sense you lusting for another compact, just yet. So, I’m cueing up a little Jack Jones in anticipation of the next installment.
We probably could have traded our early car fleets, and have both been quite satisfied. ’73 Cutlass, ’76 Cutlass, ’65 Riviera, ’82 Delta 88 coupe, ’67 Galaxie coupe, ’72 Pontiac, ’87 Grand Marquis.
I’m pretty excited about the next car. If I’m right, I made an offer on the same (make / model) car and was told it was just sold about 20 minutes before I made my decision.
Still would like to have one to this day.
I too love swing and there was a local peanut whistle AM station that played it up into the late 1980’s .
Your picture #6 shows Mr. Goodman enjoying himself but the folks in the back ground don’t look happy at all .
In 1965 there was a Mustang radio commercial that claimed the Mustang was good in the snow, I doubted it but never really know .
In the mid to late 1990’s I chanced upon a pristine 1968 Mustang coupe with i6 and three speed in South Pasadena for $1,000, ome teenager had been given the car as his first and didn’t like it – ‘too old !’ .
My son talked me out of buying it, oops .
JP, isn’t it great that you took so many pictures of each car to document your chronology of vehicles to date? Who knew you would be blogging about cars on a regular basis here at this forum and occasionally in your regular blog? I am way behind you with just four cars, but yes, I took lots of pictures, just like you. When I think of the classic Mustang you have here, I am reminded of my neighbor who lived across the street. As a young college student, he bought his first car, a used lime green Mustang and parked it in front of the house of the old biddy that lived next door to us. She did not drive, was in her late 80s/early 90s and didn’t like seeing the car parked out front of her house, so she saw he left all the windows open, so put on her sprinkler. Poor guy went to night school, had returned home from work to eat dinner, then off to night classes. He was furious for the damage it caused.
P.S. – Heard today with the auto reporter at WWJ that Dodge says goodbye to Challenger and Charger muscle cars (3 million made and 1 billion horsepower). You can get a convertible version of Challenger. Brampton, Ontario which makes the car will become an EV plant and there will be a new muscle car. The auto news is all about this Saturday’s Woodward Dream Cruise.
Actually, JP, now that I just read this one and the earlier ones I have to say that you were a strange teenager and young man…