My Classic Car: Robert’s 1969 Ford Mustang Mach 1

Robert and his '69 Mach 1 | Brice Family Archives
Robert and his ’69 Mach 1 | Brice Family Archives

A lot of changes happened in my life during the ’60s. Some were tough and some were good experiences. In the ’70s, all was “HAPPY-GOOD.” First I meet my beautiful wife, Lilliam, and I bought my 1969 Mustang Mach 1, and my son Robert was born. To me, it couldn’t get any better than that.

Let me tell you how I came across and bought my “Dream Car.” One Monday morning I picked up the newspaper (no computer in those days, you know) and I recall the ad: “1969 Mustang Mach 1, V8 351 Cleveland Stick – Air, PB AM/FM radio, 8 track, 2300 miles, price $2750 at Johnson Ford in Miami, Florida,” and the phone number.

I called and spoke with the sales person, and I heard the good news that the car was still available. That afternoon after work I went to see it.

When I saw that beautiful machine I fell in love with it and said to myself “O’ Boy, I have to get this car.”

Without showing much interest in the car I checked it and asked the salesman why such low milage. He said that the original owner did not drive it much because it was stick shift and had traded it for an automatic vehicle.

The Mustang was in “show room” condition inside out. After a little bit of dealing back and forth, I finally bought it for $2,500 even. To me this was a great deal, because no matter what, I was determined to purchase this car. Finally, I’d bought the car of my dreams, a 1969 Ford Mustang Mach 1, 351 Cleveland, 3 on the floor. Wow, this was a dream come true.

That same evening, I picked up my fiancee and we went for our first ride, she loved it and the first thing she said to me was “you have to teach me how to drive stick shift, and added, “I will have no problem learning how to drive it, I learned to drive in New York City you know.”

Lilliam and the Mustang
Lilliam and the Mustang

After three years of owning the car, my wife became pregnant, and with a baby on the way we had the need to get a much larger car. With a broken heart and left with no other choice I had to trade it in to accommodate our new family.

Well, folks, the years have come and gone but 43 years later, we still talk about our Mustang. I have these photos in my iPhone to show when we go to car shows, hoping to find it some day, if it does exist.

I do not have the VIN number, but as you can see in one of the pictures, the license tag number was Florida 1-133928 (1970-1971). If anyone knows the way to trace a car by using the tag number, please contact me at rbrice4@bellsouth.net

Thank you for reading our story.

Robert & Lilliam Brice, Homestead FL

My (for the weekend) Classic Car: Larry’s (well, actually his friend Jonathan’s) 1930 Ford Model A

Driving home from church with Lexie riding shotgun | Nick Chester photo
Driving home from church with Lexie riding shotgun | Nick Chester photo

‘Grandpa,” said Nick. “This is the best car I’ve ever driven.”

I was about to point out that at age 12, Nick not only hadn’t driven this car, but any others for that matter. “You know how I can tell?” he asked, answering his question before I had a chance to respond. “I haven’t even turned this on,” he said, showing me the PS Vita, a hand-held PlayStation video game console he’d pulled out of his pocket. “I’m not playing my PS Vita like I do in real cars.” Note the word “real.” I found it an interesting choice of words, even for a 12-year-old, because we were in a real car, albeit one more than 80 years old. Nick spoke as we were heading to the rendezvous where we’d swap back this car, which we’d been driving for the weekend.

Jonathan Klinger's 1930 Ford Model A Tudor Sedan | Larry Edsall photo
Jonathan Klinger’s 1930 Ford Model A Tudor Sedan | Larry Edsall photo

This car is a 1930 Ford Model A Tudor Sedan, and not just any Model A but one with some significant provenance. It’s also the car that provided my first prolonged experience with a classic car. Here’s how it happened: If this 1930 Model A looks familiar, it’s because it’s the one that Jonathan Klinger of Hagerty Insurance drove every day for a year a few years ago. So what, you might wonder? So consider that Hagerty is based in Traverse City, Michigan, in way northern Michigan where snow piles high and even Lake Michigan freezes over in the winter. But Klinger drove the car every day, and not just in northern Michigan but on a couple of trips through Chicago to visit his family, and even all the way to Hershey, Pennsylavania, for the big fall classic car gathering there. Klinger did a daily diary about his adventures, see www.365daysofA.com if you want the details. Anyway, since I was escaping the triple-digit temperatures in Phoenix and spending some time in Michigan, Klinger invited me to be one of the instructors at the Hagerty Driving Experience being held at the Gilmore Car Museum in the southwestern part of the state. At the Experience, teenagers can learn not just how to manipulate a manual transmission, but a manual transmission in a classic car. Because the Experience was taking place on a Friday, and because he was going from there to visit the old family farm, Klinger wasn’t eager to end that day by tackling Chicago-area rush hour traffic in the Model A and planned to rent a car for his drive to northern Illinois. “Why don’t you take my truck?” I said, offering the keys to my 2013 Nissan Frontier. “How are you going to get home?” he responded. “I’ll take your A,” I said. “Are you serious?” he asked.

Driving the Model A | Nick Chester photo
Driving the Model A | Nick Chester photo

I was, and from Friday afternoon until early Monday afternoon, I was double-clutching my way through the Model A’s three gears (no synchros here) as well as a Mitchell Hi-Lo overdrive that allows the car to reach 50 miles per hour without overtaxing its 40-horsepower four-cylinder engine. Actually, the engine was pleasantly peppy, though it was taxed when it came to climbing even gentle hills. On the other hand, steering was — literally — a handful, and you needed to plan ahead when it came to stopping via the four-wheel mechanical drum brakes. Jonathan had asked only one thing of my drive: To stay off freeways and stick to country highways and city streets. That was fine with me. I prefer two-lanes anyway, and especially when I’m on a road trip. Sure, Interstates can get you somewhere quickly — if there’s no construction or accidents — but limited access also means a limited experience as well. Gimme two lanes and let me eat where the locals congregate. Speaking of congregate, the Model A was a huge hit Saturday at the Girls U10 softball tournament and Sunday in the parking lot of Graham Church, a country congregation in the middle of Michigan. Come Monday, it was time to travel back to the museum, where Jonathan would arrive with my truck, put the Model A into a trailer with Hagerty’s 1969 Camaro SS and then pull them back to Traverse City.

Heading back to swap the Model A for the pickup truck | Larry Edsall
Heading back to swap the Model A for the pickup truck | Larry Edsall

So Nick and his sister, Lexie, and I would drive back home in my truck, which provided air conditioning, satellite radio, power windows, power steering, power brakes, and an amazingly smooth and quiet ride. No shakes. No rattles. But not nearly as much fun, either. On the way back, I noticed that Nick was playing with his video console.larry-sig

Pick of the Week: 1957 Ford ‘sleeper’ custom

The cleanly restored but plain-looking ’57 Ford packs a big-block V8 wallop

“This 1957 Ford Custom 300 is one heck of a gnarly little sleeper,” says the seller of the hot custom car that looks more like granny’s go-to-meetin’ wheels than any sort of performance rod.

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My Classic Car: Don’s 1937 Ford

Don's then-girlriend's father won the car in a raffle | Don Zeilstra photos
Don’s then-girlriend’s father won the car in a raffle | Don Zeilstra photos

It was my first car. This was a great car to have in high school. I bought it from the father of the girl I was going with at the time. He had won the car.

The view through the windshield
The view through the windshield

This ’37 Ford was offered at the local carnival in Brookfield, Illinois in 1937. My girl’s father bought one raffle ticket for 25 cents. And he won the drawing and car!

When World War II broke out in 1941, he put the Ford up on blocks in the garage for the duration. I purchased the beauty in 1950.

The Ford had 23,000 miles on it. I think I paid $275 for it.

DSC00369Being mechanically minded, he had made an oil filter and stuffed it with rags. A very sloppy process to change.

Looking like new, I was constantly asked if this was a foreign car or what.

Unfortunately I had to sell this special Ford when I was drafted in 1956. I believe I sold it for what I paid for it and got to drive it for 5 years.

I’ll never forget my first car.

— Don Zeilstra, Pinehurst NC

My Classic Car: Wayne’s 1975 Ford Torino

The Torino was ready for the wedding | Wayne Fraser photo
The Torino was ready for the wedding | Wayne Fraser photo

My daughter was getting married and wanted a classic car for a wedding car. I tried to rent one from the local car club people but it was no go.

Since 1978, I had this 1975 Ford Torino in the garage and it was pretty rough. But one fine day, Cherry, my daughter decided it was that car for her wedding car. She always loved it and for years tried to entice me to fix it up.

With the wedding being planned, how could I say no? Fortunately, they had a three-year engagement. Took me two years and a lot of work, but Cherry got her wedding car.

And I am enjoying cruising the summer with it now.

— Wayne Fraser, New Waterford, Nova Scotia, Canada

Pick of the Week: 1954 Ford Crestline Skyliner

The handsome 1954 Ford Skyliner is described as a low-mileage survivor ‘in darn good shape.’
The handsome 1954 Ford Skyliner is described as a low-mileage survivor ‘in darn good shape.’

By 1954, the domestic automakers were getting into the swing of the ’50s and seeking out ways to set themselves apart. For Ford, the biggest news was the new overhead-valve Y-block V8 that replaced its longstanding side-valve engine.

But there was more, and today’s Pick of the Week focuses on a short-lived option that came straight from the aerospace industry.

The tinted Plexiglass roof lets in filtered sunlight.
The tinted Plexiglass roof lets in filtered sunlight.

The 1954 Ford Crestline Skyliner was a new model with a unique feature: a transparent Plexiglass panel that replaced the front half of the stylish hardtop roof, allowing sunlight to illuminate the front-seat occupants.

The green-tinted roof panel was designed to let in filtered light, Ford said, while blocking 60 percent of the heat and 70 percent of the glare. A practical option was a sunshade that fit inside.

This example advertised on ClassicCars.com is described by the seller in Fredericksburg, Texas, as “an unrestored original car that is still in darn good shape.” Just 44,435 miles are showing on the odometer, the seller adds. “The glass roof is in terrific shape with only the common hazing around the perimeter.

Plastic seat covers (remember those?) still protect the upholstery.
Plastic seat covers (remember those?) protect the upholstery.

“The interior is amazing. It looks totally original with the old-timey plastic covers over the front and rear bench.”

The Skyliner had the same upmarket trim accents as that year’s Victoria model, and this one has been fitted with dual exhaust, fender skirts and working spotlights.

The price is set at $27,500, which seems entirely reasonable for such a rare beauty in good original condition.

“This car would make someone a great original cruiser or would benefit from a full restoration,” the seller states. “You can imagine how rare the Skyliner model is. How many have you seen?”

Texas couple wins Great Race for third time in a row

Barry and Irene Jason (in blue) celebrate their third consecutive Great Race win | Great Race
Barry and Irene Jason (in blue) celebrate their third consecutive Great Race win | Great Race

A Texas couple in a 1966 Ford Mustang achieved the first-ever threepeat of consecutive victories in Great Race history by winning the 2014 Maine-to-Florida classic car competition.

While they were at it, Barry and Irene Jason also scored a couple of other firsts. No one before them had ever scored a perfect day in the time-distance rally contest, as they did on Day One. And no one had ever won the Great Race in a post-war car, a difficult feat because of a scoring system heavily handicapped toward older vehicles.

So that’s three wins and three firsts, and the reward for Jasons’ efforts this year was a $50,000 first-place check that they collected at the finish line on Sunday.

The Jasons of Keller, Texas, won the 2012 and 2013 Great Races in a 1935 Ford coupe, but this year they opted for their bright-red 1966 Mustang, a six-cylinder coupe favorably equipped with air conditioning. This is the 12th year that Barry Jason, an electrical engineer, and Irene Jason, a retired school administrator, have run the cross-country race.

The Great Race, an annual event founded in 1983, is a long-distance rally for pre-1972 vehicles. This year, the 2,300-mile race started June 21 in Ogunquit, Maine, and finished Sunday in The Villages near Ocala, Florida (click here to see our Eye Candy photo gallery).

Ninety teams started out in the competition, with a number of them dropping out before the finish because of typical old-car mechanical breakdowns. The Great Race visited 19 cities along the way with local spectators creating a festival atmosphere at each stop.

My Classic Car: Tom’s third 1966 Ford Mustang

toms66mustang

In the last 50 years I have had 2 1966 Ford Mustangs. Last year I go the itch for my third.

After looking for 9 months I found a mostly restored ’66 that my mechanic approved. It is Arcadian blue with medium blue interior and 65,500 actual miles. It has factor air, power steering, power brakes, and a 289 with automatic.

The third owner and seller bought the car to cross off an item on his bucket list.

The car was bought new in 1966 in Houston, Texas, and I live in a small town adjacent to Houston.

The car was stripped down to metal and repainted. The body and frame are straight and have no rust.

The previous owner kept it original, but I put chrome valve covers and air cleaner cover, 15-inch chrome wheels and new tires, 134a air-conditioning compressor, racing stripes, and added white faces to the instruments and air horns on it.

I had to replace the front and rear springs, rebuild the power steering, replace the upholstery and rebuild the carburetor.

The engine, tranny with a shift kit had been rebuilt.

Now I have a very nice-running and great-looking third Mustang. I love the way people comment nice things about the car when I drive it around town. I sure enjoy driving it.

Hot Rods Forever stamps launched by Post Office

Hot Rods Forever takes on new meaning with the '32 Ford roadster stamps | U.S. Postal Service
Hot Rods Forever takes on new meaning with the ’32 Ford roadster stamps | U.S. Postal Service

A pair of ’32 Ford highboy roadsters look ready to roar in the U.S. Postal Service’s latest nod to American car culture with its new Hot Rods Forever Stamps.

The two freshly minted stamps, one showing a “deuce” in classic black with flames and the other in scarlet red, were recently dedicated as a limited-edition collection that any hands-on street rodder would be proud to stick on the corner of an envelope. Or save and frame a sheet of them.

The Hot Rods Forever Stamps join other recent Postal Service depictions of significant American cars of the past on stamps, including a set of 1950s icons and another focusing on popular muscle cars. The Hot Rods stamps were designed by Derry Noyes of Washington, DC, and digitally created by artist John Mattos of San Francisco.

Just like the cars they celebrate, these stamps are timeless.” 

“These Hot Rods stamps mark the beginning of America’s fascination with customizing fast cars, and they’re just as popular today as they were decades ago,” said Postmaster General Patrick Donahoe. “Just like the cars they celebrate, these stamps are timeless in that they’re good for mailing First Class letters any time in the future.”

The first-day-of-issue dedication ceremony took place at the National Street Rod Association (NSRA) Street Rod Nationals East Plus at the York Expo Center in York, Pennsylvania. Joining Donahoe at the dedication were Jerry Kennedy, special events director for the National Street Rod Association, and “Car Crazy TV” host Barry Meguiar.

“With an estimated 12 million hot rodders in America today, I applaud the Postal Service for recognizing that Hot Rods will forever be a symbol of our American Culture,” Meguiar said.

Available in booklets of 20 stamps, customers may purchase them at usps.com/stamps, on the Postal Service’s eBay page at ebay.com/stamps, by calling 800-STAMP24 (800-782-6724), or at Post Offices nationwide.

 

Five of the coolest nearly extinct cars from the ’70s and ’80s

The attrition rate of cars from the mid-disco to late Reagan-era is huge. And while we’d love to see someone somewhere driving any one of the cars on this list, in truth, we can’t remember the last time we saw any of them.  Here are five of our favorite nearly extinct cars:

Ford Capri XL
Ford Capri XL
1971-77 Mercury Capri — Few people remember the 1980s Fox-body Mustang’s near-identical twin, the Mercury Capri. Fewer still can recall the Australian-built front-wheel-drive convertible Capri. This isn’t either of those cars— it’s not even the first to wear the Capri badge. It’s the German Ford mini-Mustang Capri. Sold in the U.S. through Mercury dealers and marketed as “The Sexy European” with an assortment of four- and six-cylinder engines, it was nice looking and great to drive—at least we’re assured of this from vintage road tests. One Capri recently offered on Bringatrailer.com was the first that we’ve seen in ages.
Mitsubishi Starion
Mitsubishi Starion
Chrysler Conquest/Mitsubishi Starion — The Conquest was the captive import twin of the Mitsubishi Starion. In the hottest turbo spec with 197 HP, these cars would put the fear of God into Porsche 924/ 944 owners who had the privilege of paying almost twice as much for less performance. Where have they all gone?
International Harvester Travelall
International Harvester Travelall - Photo courtesy of John Lloyd
1969-75 International Harvester Travelall — The Travelall was the Scout’s big brother, and while Scouts are still regularly seen (particularly in the summer with tops off), the Travelall has all but disappeared. In reality, it was one of the pioneers of the modern SUV and one of the first vehicles to offer anti-lock brakes. Sadly, it was completely overshadowed by the Jeep Wagoneer.
Chrysler Laser
Chrysler Laser
Chrysler Laser/ Dodge Daytona Z Turbo — The K-car platform saved Chrysler in the 1980s and underpinned nearly everything that they built, including the sporty Laser/Daytona twins. The car was nowhere near as bad as the foregoing would suggest; 2.2- and 2.5-liter turbo fours produced anywhere from 175 HP to 224 HP in their hottest states of tune. Carroll Shelby versions of the Daytona are somewhat collectible, assuming you can find one.
Volkswagen Scirocco MKI
Volkswagen Scirocco MKI - Photo courtesy of Charles01
1975-81 Volkswagen Scirocco MKI — The Scirocco was the spiritual successor to the Karmann-Ghia. It followed the same formula of a pretty Italian body over more pedestrian underpinnings (in this case a body designed by Ital Design clothing Rabbit-derived mechanicals). No matter, it was a decent handler and quick enough for the day. Today, there are probably more Bentley Continentals on the road than MK I Sciroccos.