Car of the Month - July 2011

Trey Ragsdale's 1970 Mach I

Thank you for choosing my car as Car of the Month.  You know you’re getting old when you’ve been chosen a second time, so I’m officially an old fart.   My car was originally purchased in September of ’69 by a couple in Ft. Worth for $3754 – I have the original title and receipt.  The car was well maintained for 16 years and was sold to an Austin resident in 1986.  It changed hands again in 1991 where it made its home in Buda. In 1992 the car was taken over by someone very special to me, my father.  My dad had a 30 year drag racing career that started in the late 50’s.  After only 3 years of competing he won a championship at the NHRA U.S. Nationals in Indianapolis.  He went on to win many more NHRA titles and set many ET and MPH national records.  When I was a high school senior in ’79 we designed and began building a new car.  Our goal was to build an engine, chassis and suspension that was technologically ahead of the rest of the field.  This was a laboring and time consuming task, but a great experience for me.  That same year, unaware of us building the car, NHRA honored Dad by inducting him into the Hall of Fame.  Within a year of competing with the new car we set a new NHRA national ET and MPH record and went on to reset 3 more records in the next 4 years.  When Dad retired in 1987 he still held the MPH record at 151.76.  This was with a 311 cubic inch Ford naturally aspirated limited to a 750 cfm carburetor. As you can imagine, retirement from racing left a pretty big void in Dad’s life.  He began getting interested in Mustangs.  He was looking for a solid, clean car that was not going to need extensive work but was not too “perfect” to be a driver.  After a few years of looking I found this car right under my nose in Buda in the summer of ’92.  I told Dad about it and within a week the car was his.  The car was pretty plain for a Mach I, so Dad made some upgrades including suspension, Magnum wheels and slats.  After a few years he got the itch to build a ’36 Ford 3-window coupe street rod.  Before he began his search for a coupe body he decided to let go of the Mach I and was generous enough to sell it to me for what he had invested in it. When I took over the car in ’95 Dad helped me build a stronger than stock, but fairly mild replacement Windsor.  After several fun years with that engine I decided to make several changes to the car.  In preparation for a much stronger engine I began beefing up the car and drive train.  I welded in sub frame connectors, installed a C-6 tranny with special ratios and a Gear Vendor’s overdrive, and replaced the traction lock with a Detroit Locker and hardened axles.  I built a new engine using the original block that I had stored, which is a stronger unit than the late model Windsors.  I wanted the engine to be strong, but street friendly so I put extra time and effort in designing a cam and building an induction system to give me that combination.  I installed the engine 2 years ago and have been very happy with it. It makes well over 500 hp, has good street manners and is pretty fuel efficient. After a ten year build, Dad finished his street rod and it’s beautiful.  It has a very strong 427 “Clevor”, lots of hand made stainless pieces including the front suspension and bumpers, and a show quality paint job.  He enjoys it on a regular basis and drives it to many shows and rod runs. With my son driving an ’01 convertible GT and my wife driving 2010 convertible GT, I guess we are officially a Mustang family.  Thanks for letting me share my car’s history with you.

Car of the Month - June

Bob & Tracy Schach's 1972 Mach 1

Wow, Thanks for choosing our 1972 Mach 1 for MOCA Car of the Month. We nicknamed her " Whoa Nellie" and she has 351c Engine with an FMX transmission. It seems Mustangs have always been in my life at one time or another. My older brothers had Mustangs and when my time came, I bought a 1965 Mustang Coupe for my first car which I purchased for $ 500.00 in 1977. Through the years I have had several Mustangs, bought them, drove them, sold them, would make a few bucks, but I always regretted selling them.

When I moved to Austin, in 2004, I found myself Mustangless. We found Nellie on Craigslist in North Dallas and she was a basket case, however, not very much rust. After haggling with some car dealer, who was posing as a friend to the real owner, we were able to bring Nellie home at a reasonable price. Then reality set in, we realized we had just purchased a car that had no interior and the left fender and hood needed to be replaced. The left quarter panel was an aftermarket panel tack welded on with duct tape covering it up. The motor ran like a 3-legged dog because of bad heads. Apparently, hillbillies had owned Nellie before because there were speaker holes all over the car including two 6x9 in the small front dash. Their wiring expertise was also present (extreme sarcasm). With the purchase of Nellie came receipts dating back to 1978. We are the fourth owner, excluding the hillbillies, as they apparently do not keep receipts or register vehicles.

We later found out that this body style and color scheme was the original "Eleanor" in the the original movie, Gone In 60 Seconds, filmed in 1974. The movie was produced and starred H.B. Halicki. Halicki did all his own stunts in the movie. Halicki died filming Gone in 60 Seconds 2 while performing a stunt. When Mrs. Halicki sold the rights to the movie to produce the newest Gone in 60 Seconds, she only insisted that "Eleanor" be a Mustang.

Thanks to Mustang Unlimited, Craigslist and Ebay as we are slowly putting "Whoa Nellie" back together. We want to extend a special thanks to Mike Jennings at Cedar Motors, for the quarter panel and a motor head, and to John McHenry Custom Auto Body for helping us with "Whoa Nellie".

Car of The Month - May

Scott & Melissa Gates '66 Mustang Fastback

My Dad was always interested in older cars so I got to attend allot of car shows growing up and was drawn to the sixties era Mustangs. My first car was a 1967 Mustang Coupe, 289 3 speed that I bought at 16, with help of my parents, in 1985. It was definitely a Ford (Fix Or Repair Daily). I worked bagging groceries and stocking shelves at the Navy Commissary to make the loan payments but was worth it to have that car. It was a great car, never left me stranded for long and was fun to drive. My dad and I enjoyed some memorable times, some good and some not, as we restored that car. I had that Mustang until 1991, the year I got married. It wasn’t until 2002 that I was able to consider finding another Mustang and located a1966 Silver frost GT Fastback just north of Dallas. The vehicle was in good shape and highly optioned, but needed some mechanical work. It has been work in progress over the years, doing minor restoration to having the original engine and transmission rebuilt. My Mustang was running good until the meeting in March when the power steering slave cylinder decided to leak all the fluid out while driving on Mopac. Needless to say, it was tough turning into my neighborhood. However, it provided an opportunity to solve some issues. The slave cylinder was rubbing on a header so decided to replace with a Borgeson integral power steering box (no slave unit needed) which worked great on the Bluebonnet Cruise. At least I am making progress!

Thank you for selecting my car for this month’s Car of the Month!

Scott and Melissa Gates

Car of the Month-April

Mike and Diane Escueta's 2004 Mach I

I became a mustang lover when I was sixteen when I helped my best friend partially restore his 69 mustang. It took us almost two years to prep the exterior for painting, remove the interior, replace the carpet, replace the reconditioned seats, and rebuild the 289 motor. It was quite a project and it kept us out of trouble when we weren’t playing sports. I got my first Mustang before I attended college. It was a ‘77 V6 Mustang my grandmother bought for me. Since that time, I have had four Mustangs but I always wanted to own a Mach 1. I upgraded to an ‘83 Mustang GT when they came out. I had to get rid of it in 85 due to speeding tickets, my driving record, and the fact that I was going to flight school in the Army to become a helicopter pilot. I still owned a Ford vehicle; it was an F-150 XLT. I got my wife a Taurus in ‘90. In 1999, I replaced my F-150 with another XLT and got my wife an Explorer in 1998 to replace the Taurus. I replaced the Explorer with an Expedition in ’06 though I still wanted to own a Mustang. I convinced my wife in 2001 that I needed to have a 2002 GT, she relented and I got one. The next year the Bullitt came out, and I said I had to have a green one just like the one Steve McQueen drove in the movie. I was lucky she said no. I played golf and was friends with the son and co-owner of Orchid Isle Ford. I had purchased my last three vehicles from the family dealership and they had always taken care of my family. In ‘03, the Mach 1 came out and Joe Hanley said that my dream had come true. I could now own my own Mach 1 and he said he could get me one. Lucky for me, it took me until the next year to convince Diana to let me get the car of my dreams. I was also fortunate that the ‘04 Mach 1 was also the 40th Anniversary Edition. I got to pick either the one pictured above or the red and black one. I fell in love with this one and the rest is history. It now has 9,300 miles and is kept in the garage under a Cover Craft custom Pony cover. Thanks for selecting our car as the “Car of the Month”.

Car of The Month - March

Neal & Kathy Armstrong's 1968 Coupe

A diamond stud earring was in the ashtray, right where Chad said it would be, and I returned it to him the next day. He was most appreciative to get it back, knowing his mom would have a fit if she found it was missing. Seventeen-year-old Chad, following the fashion of the day in the '80's, had gotten his ear pierced and was occasionally borrowing his mother's earring when the need arose. Unfortunately, he had forgotten to take it out of the car before he parked in the Beall's lot at 183 and Lake Creek Blvd. with a "For Sale" sign in the windshield.

It wasn't an easy decision: selling the Mustang his grandmother had given him on his birthday, only 5 or 6 months earlier. Ever since he was a little kid, he'd loved grandpa and grandma's car. When he and his mother visited them in Sacramento, California, he would sit in the driver's seat, in the garage, and pretend to drive. Grandpa had purchased the San Jose-built Gulfsteam Aqua coupe new on March 1, 1968 at Downtown Motors in Sacramento, and it had been his pride and joy right up to the day he passed away. The new-for-1968 302 cubic-inch 4-barrel V-8 gave this car wings, and the air conditioning, power steering, power disk brakes, tinted windows, AM radio, and Cruise-O-Matic transmission made life on the road comfortable. For some visual pizzazz, a deluxe exterior package, featuring a louvered hood, set off by the Parchment vinyl top, deluxe wheel covers and wide-oval whitewalls were added. But the particularly unique feature was a full-width bench front seat in the deluxe parchment interior. (What grandpa might not have known is that there were only 853 coupes built in 1968 with that deluxe bench seat, and only 27 of those had Gulfstream Aqua paint.)

The teen years are challenging for young guys, some more so than others. Chad had unfortunately found himself in arrears to the county court due to an indiscretion, and with the Mustang being his most valuable asset the choice was regrettably clear. The good news was that after paying his debts, he'd have enough left over to buy that motorcycle he'd been lusting after for a couple of months. What he could not foresee was that the motorcycle would be totaled within a few weeks. . .

Fingering the keys, Chad looked at the check in his hand for a long time. He glanced at the car, back at the check, and finally at me, and handed over the key-ring. On September 29, 1988, after 20 years in Chad's family, the stewardship of "6T8" (as the coupe later became known) was transferred to Kathy and I in exchange for what was possibly generous currency. Perhaps it was a fair price, considering that its life of being garage- kept in a semi-arid climate insured a completely rust-free body, but the coupe's 148,000 miles of "experience" had taken its toll mechanically, in spite of the regular maintenance documented by careful record-keeping. A worn-out front suspension, non-functional second transmission gear, well-used front seat, carpet, and door panels, splitting headliner and dash pad, and the engine's heavy overcoat of greasy dirt all indicated that this car was ready for a serious freshening.

While it still wears a repaint applied in 1987, as well as an incorrectly-seamed and now aged vinyl roof, a hefty folder of receipts speaks for the repairs and upgrades performed in the 22½ years we have owned 6T8. A restored interior, rebuilt rear suspension, front suspension, brake system and steering, the cleaned-up and repainted engine compartment, rebuilt original J-code engine - including some mild performance components, and the upgraded 15" x 8" chromed wheels, were the major investments. Safety, reliability, decent handling and performance, and presentability are top priorities to ensure that we have a "ride" we can use to participate in all of MOCA's activities for years to come.

Thank you for selecting "6T8" as the March Car of The Month!!

Neal and Kathy Armstrong