The beginning of the story
Fast forward a couple of decades, and while I still harbored a desire to own and tinker with a classic of my own, I've made precious little progress towards this goal. I did, however, finally have a house with a garage, and was no longer in college while working full-time. I'd see old Mustangs advertised in the classifieds, and was always surprised at how much they were going for - in high school, I remember these cars going for $1,000 or less, and now even the beaters were advertised at four and five thousand! And a good, solid running example would be listed for as much as a new car. Granted, living in the desert southwest means you're likely to come across more rust-free examples, but still the prices seemed out of reach. Maybe I'd take up golf instead...
At the same time I'm thinking I need to start shopping for my first putter, Brett, a friend of mine from work, had managed to drag home a new project car and invited a bunch of us over to his house at lunchtime to look it over. Brett's a Honda guy, but he and his wife thought it would be fun to tinker with an old classic muscle car and through a series of lucky conversations and encounters, ended up with this - a 1967 Ford Mustang Fastback, with a 289 V-8, four speed top-loader, and the most sickly shade of burgundy I'd ever laid eyes on. It was gorgeous:
It was one of those stories you hear about, but always happen to someone else - a chance encounter with guy who has more cars than time, and sells it for a song just to clear out some space. More than that though, this guy was the original owner of the car, lots of documentation, and the car had been essentially parked in his barn (I know, I know...) in Colorado since 1984. Some guys have all the luck, right?
About a year later, my friend decides five cars and two kids are too much, so one of the cars has to go. I tell him don't sell it without talking to me first. A week later, he's helping me unload it in my garage. It happened so fast, I only have a few pictures of it in daylight before throwing the Fastback in my garage. (Unbelievable! A Fastback! In MY garage! I kept peeking out there at it!). That was the Summer of 2011.
Now I just had to figure out what I'm going to do with it. I let it sit there for fully 5 months while I decided what I was going to do. Rolling Restoration, Daily Driver, Full-blown disassembly and rebuild? Why should this take so long? Because the VIN on this particular '67 Fastback had a 'K' in the Engine Code slot, denoting a very rare breed of '67 Fastback - one with the High Performance 271 hp 289 engine, same as the Shelby GT350's of the same year - except there were more Shelby GT350's from 1967 than there were K-code Fastbacks. Was I about to spoil some special, ultra-rare car? Should I even keep it? And It appeared that some sort of hopped-up 289 was in there - the cool Ford Tri-Power intake, the hi-po exhaust manifolds, and the big 9-inch rear end. Per the original owner, the engine is a race motor pulled out of another old Ford, and was running high compression pistons and electric fuel delivery.
In the end, I decided the right answer was to take it all apart, clean it up, and put it all together again. First, the car is covered in decades worth of dirt/oil/dust and everything is in need of a thorough cleaning although precious little rust (on first inspection). Second, if the car hasn't driven in 30 years, every system needs to be touched - brakes, suspension, electrical, fuel, and every gasket and seal would be shot. Regardless of the engine code, I've never driven this car and it's clearly not anywhere near roadworthy in it's current condition. To top it off, there is a lot of evidence of spiders and mice making themselves right at home in the car. That's gotta stop right quick.
That was about three years ago. As of today, we are well underway. I've got a rough Order of Battle, and a good idea of what I want to end up with when I'm done with the car (remember, I took months just thinking about this). I work on it when I get the chance. I've learned more about the car's history from the original owner, and have finally decided that this is my car, and I get to do it how I want. There's no due date, but I'm not getting younger, so the blog is a way to help keep track of progress when it's happening, prod me to work on it when I'm slacking off, and hopefully inform/inspire/warn others about what's involved in a project of this scale.
Brett warned me when I was looking at buying the car: "You'll turn every bolt and nut on this car before you're done." I'm thinking he's exactly right.