Go Pony, It’s Your Birthday….

Today is my Nephew Michael’s tenth birthday. Double digits, and it feels like only yesterday I was waiting around in the hospital for the first child of the next generation of my immediate family to be born. It’s painfully obvious based on his pension for wiseassery and understandable impatience for the adults (read, ME, haha) that it wasn’t yesterday and yes, in fact, he is most certainly TEN.

Forty four years ago today – a little over a year before I was born – and exactly thirty-four years before my nephew was born, My Uncle’s Mustang rolled off the assembly line in Metuchen, NJ. I was searching forums to find out where abouts the plant was, and I think it was somewhere just south of Interstate 287 on the southbound side of Route 1, but I am not sure. The plant has long been demolished, but leaves behind a legacy that will live long in Ford Mustangs like my Uncle’s.

I was trying to find a vintage picture of the Tahoe Turquoise Mustang Coupe to get an idea of what it looked like off the line – but I haven’t found one. I will. Today has been a day filled with nostalgia – a happy day – and a very Happy Birthday.

Dusty, but WOW – the Mustang Unveiled

My Uncle’s Mustang breathes. Yesterday, Doug Sr. emailed me and let me know that the “Mustang is cleaned out and all stuff is off of it!”  I immediately emailed him back and asked him to send pics if possible.

We had been concerned that the tires sitting flat for years would not hold air we started talking about cheapo tires to put on the car just to get it on the trailer for the trip up to Jersey. It was reasonable to think that we would have to do this and Doug even WD40’d the wheel studs to ensure they wouldn’t be too difficult to remove. Today, however, another thing just “fell into place.” Doug emailed me “Great news…..ALL 4 tires inflated and appear to be holding air at least so far.”

That was AWESOME news. I don’t need the tires to be perfect. I just need them to hold air for an hour or so while we roll the car up onto the trailer in Florida and then again when I roll the car off the trailer in New Jersey.

The tire news was not the news of the day, though. Doug sent pictures!

I opened the email and the first picture was of a dusty old engine but it nearly brought tears of joy to my eyes when I saw it:

Dusty but beautiful! Click to see a larger picture!

I knew Uncle Pete took care of this car. The engine is dusty, but look closely – newer fuel pump next to the newer oil filter, new master cylinder which could also mean new brakes, radiator hoses, tune up parts (cap and wires) along with replaced shocks. Some of this stuff was probably done right before he passed away 12 years ago unless Aunt Lotte had it done afterwards. I wouldn’t be surprised if the air conditioning ran cold too – That air compressor for the air conditioner looks newer too – at least the clutch is.

The next pics were:

Look at the INTERIOR!!! The TIRES!!! They are holding air! Be sure to click on each one to see them in greater detail!

I couldn’t contain myself. I had to show the pics to a few people and I was at work, and the closest person in proximity was the Director of Sales so was the first one I showed. I felt sorry for him – he was about to get on the phone and didn’t look too pleased that I was summoning him to my desk, but even the deadpan-even-keeled Director of Sales was impressed with the condition. I showed the Chief of Technology, and he was way impressed – and clearly understood the magnitude of what he was looking at.

Then I emailed the pics to my Dad but as of a few minutes ago when I called to see if he’d got them, he hadn’t looked at them. I think he’ll get a kick out of them – the sheepskin cover on the drivers seat, the pony embossing on the “pony edition seats” and the luxury wood accents…. Yeah, he will.

My wife was very eager to see the pics and when she did tonight even she was able to comprehend the great condition the car was in, and based on my reaction, she told me she was excited for me.

Truth be told, I am not sure if anyone will ever be as excited about this as I am – about how everything so far is just falling right into place – from the car still being in Florida right down to the tires holding air. I am feeling a great deal of joy right now – a child-like excitement that has become all too unfamiliar, and it feels good – it feels right. Just one week till I am sitting in the car. I can’t wait to show it off, brag about it, about my Uncle, about everything.

Car Rotisserie

I talked to two guys this weekend about a Car Rotisserie – and if I was able to fit it into the garage I am going to be working in, I would definitely get it from them. I wanted to do a Rotisserie restoration but there is just not enough room in the garage.

Car Rotisserie from Accessible Systems

I feel like I need to give these guys a plug though – and I am still likely going to buy the car dollies for ease of movement within the garage. Joel and Gabriel are the folks I spoke to – and Joel is the one who was just a wealth of knowledge with regards to putting the Mustang on the rotisserie. The company is Accessible Systems and their website ishttp://www.accessiblesystems.com/ located in Johnson City, TN.

U-HAUL Rented! Moving forward….

I was thinking about the trip today – a lot. I reserved the U-HAUL truck and trailer, so the arrangements to get the car to Jersey are almost complete! This triggered a surge of anticipation which then was reduced to some short-lived anxiety. I am OK with the whole “going to San Antonio on business and then flying to Florida to stay a night or two with the cousins” thing – and I am OK with driving the truck with the trailer in tow. Been there, done that, and it really isn’t as hard as it might seem.

But it’s my Uncle’s Mustang that will be on the trailer.

My Uncle’s Mustang – the car that I have been wondering about for over a decade now. It’s the car whose restoration I have always dreamt about and now, in a matter of a few weeks, is approaching reality. I asked the question “what could possibly go wrong?” and my overactive, mildly affected ADD thought process obliged with at least a half dozen scenarios:

  1. The tie downs break and the car rolls off of the trailer.
  2. The tie downs break and the car rolls off of the trailer while I am driving down 95.
  3. The car is stolen from the trailer in plain sight in front of the LaQuinta du jour.
  4. The trailer becomes unhitched while I am driving down 95 in Georgia and I don’t realize it until I park at a random Cracker Barrel in South Carolina.
  5. Someone steals the U-HAUL – trailer, Mustang and all, from the Cracker Barrel parking lot while I am eating my scrambled eggs, bacon, and grits.

I have a wandering imagination and I know this about myself. Thusly, I also know that it is not time to worry about this stuff yet, if at all. Leave the anxiety for when the car is actually buckled to the back of the U-HAUL – and even then, just keep moving forward one step at a time. That, the mantra of this whole project – keep moving forward, put one foot in front of the other.

So everything is still falling into place – moving right along – Just one more step, then one more, one more….

Tie Downs, Dreams, Discipline and the Driver

I sent a box of heavy duty tie downs to Doug and Mary today. I bought them at the Swap Meet from Cherokee Tie Down out of Gaffney, SC. They look to be strong and they definitely were heavy. 4 tie downs and 4 axle straps rang up at about 21 lbs. I am going to use those instead of the bright-orange-expensive-as-shit ones that U-HAUL will likely have for sale or rent.

I can’t wait to get the car. I am at the point now where I am even dreaming about it. One dream took place in the 70’s and the car was pristine. I have never seen the car pristine or shiny like new that I can remember and that is why I love dreams. Uncle Pete took great care of the car, but I don’t remember it being shiny. Maybe I was dreaming about Uncle Pete’s Mustang with the sky blue paint job that the ’66 at the show was sporting (see the picture in the previous post).

Doug Sr. sent me this pic of what the car looked like in 1968 – along with my Cousin Mary :-). You can get a sense of the color of the car – click the picture to enlarge:

This photo was taken around 1968

Tied down. That’s what I feel like right now. Work, responsibility, mediocrity, blah blah blah blah. I am itching to get down there, get the car up here and start the restoration. It’s taking all the discipline I can muster to spend the whole day actually working on work – and not working on the blog, researching Mustang stuff, thinking about all of the things I need to do to prepare, etc.

Calm. Patience. Discipline.

But it’s getting close and the level of excitement is building.

So today, I was talking to my friend Matt and the thought arose that since I’m likely not going to rent an RV for $5000 – I might spend about 1% of that to send my golf clubs down ahead of me. I could stop at a course on the way home and drive something other than the U-HAUL, right?

Two weeks from today. 14 days. Damn, I can’t wait.

Spring Swap Meet – Mustangs, Junk and more!

Today was SWAP MEET DAY. I was originally slated to go with my brother-in-law and one or two of his sons but that didn’t work out. I went by myself and that was definitely a pleasure :-). I haven’t walked the swap meet by myself ever and being alone let me set my own pace, backtrack, people-watch, and absorb the historic and junky splendor of it all. I wouldn’t say that this would be an American Picker’s dream – everyone here is a picker and a plucker and they have a good idea of what they have, but just about anything that you want or think you need could be found here if you look close enough.

I had two missions today – to get insight into what I would want to do with my Uncle’s Mustang and to see if I could find a cutting torch, some good air tools and an air compressor cheap. I saw what I thought was a good Snap-On torque wrench but it was broke but still  the guy wanted $60 for it.

No good air compressors, some other good tools but none to spend good money on, and no cutting torch for less than $200!!! I mean – really?

So on to the car show. The minute I walked on to the racetrack I saw the Mustangs. I was remiss in getting the names of the owners of these cars – but if you are the owner, writer me. I will give you credit, for sure – these care are awesome.

The first one I saw was a ’66 restoration that appeared to be the same color as my Uncle’s. Check it out:

It’s got the Magnum Wheels, too. I am thinking about using those in the restoration I am doing, although it was equipped with steel wheels and hubcaps from the facory. Here is another with the wire hubcaps along with a pic of the engine – maybe what my Uncle’s should look like?

An then there was my ongoing search for my Dad’s ’48 Plymouth Coupe or ’65 Pontiac Catalina. No ’48 Coupe – but here was an interesting car for sale –

1938 Desoto – But back to the Mustangs – oh, wait, here, look at this one!

It had a NYC Taxi Medallion from 1977! Cool shit, really, from back when smog was a commodity on Wall Street like pork-bellies was. Made me think of my Dad and how many times he climbed into one of these. I remember the first time I did – and every ride after that I INSISTED that I ride in the flop down seat. New Yorkers know what I am talking about.



So back to the MUSTANG – after the RAMBLER MARLIN DRAGSTER!!!!

This car drew a lot of interest and it’s not the first time I’ve seen it at the Swap Meet. All of these cars and all of the old crap I was looking at throughout the day kept me thinking about how much my Dad would have liked the show. Maybe we’ll figure out a way to get him back here in September!


This one was the prize winner in my opinion. My Uncle’s Mustangs’ cousin from the West Coast – a ’66 Luxury Convertible with Factory Air – and this car was gorgeous. I thought I had taken a pic of the whole car, but I’m sorry to say that I just took pics of the components that interested me the most – the engine:

I’m thinking this is how I would like the engine in my Uncle’s Mustang to look when I am done with it. Check out the factory air conditioning compressor! The luxury interior with wood trim:

Uncle Pete’s interior is accented with Aqua Blue trim and white framing – along with wood trim throughout. This interior was pristine.

All in all I had a great time. I learned a lot looking around at the restored vehicles and I stopped at CJPONY PARTS for a bit and got some good info and a catalog (gonna be spending some coin there for sure). I was completely aghast when I saw “QQ” classic car license plates on a ’76 Chevy Monte Carlo – I mean really? Am I getting that old?

So now I am planning my trip to Florida….

The Dates are SET and yes, this is a new blog template

Tomorrow is my wedding anniversary! 5 years, and we still haven’t killed each other yet :-). Today, I made a final decision about how I will be getting the Mustang up here – I’ll be picking up the car myself and trailering it up to New Jersey. I am going to rent a U-HAUL van and auto transport trailer – probably without any discounts – but believe me, I haven’t given up on that yet, LOL.

I am leaving on May 3rd for a business trip to San Antonio and then I will fly over to Fort Meyers, Florida on May 6th. THEN I will rent the truck and trailer and haul my Uncle’s Mustang here to Jersey.

It’s all coming together without any real hitches so far. That is if you don’t include the bullshit script errors I had to deal with on the blog tonight. 500 errors galore. I couldn’t access anything for over an hour.

I decided to change the theme back to the original – I was using a theme template called Aruna, and I am not entirely sure that was the culprit, but I wanted to keep on the safe side. This totally sucked and I wanted to throw my mac through a window – but I am finally done, I am cranky and I am going to bed. Really, though – if this is the only hitch I have to deal with, I’ll take it!

Tomorrow, I will reserve the U-HAUL equipment and start planning my trip.

My Wife’s Reaction

My Wife. She is supportive – and nervous and doesn’t want me to write about her in this blog. I’ll honor that – but I am compelled to put her reaction on the blog because her concerns are all legit.

I have never been the concerning type. Shit happens. If I fail or do not complete something, I move on to the next thing no big deal. I am also not the discerning type and I think that is what makes her nervous. This project could potentially cost a significant amount of our hard earned coin. Admittedly, my thing is that when I find things I like to do – it’s often lots of them at the same time –  and I only do them for as long as I am interested in them. This has been my M.O. forever – and some might say it’s ADD – and believe me when I say it’s as annoying to me as it is to her if not more.

Things that I have started and not finished:

  1. Remember the scale model from my earliest blog? Not finished.
  2. Most books that I have “read” – not finished.
  3. The book that I am writing? Not finished.
  4. Countless projects on the house? Well – some have been finished. Many in fact, but there are many that are not – probably because I was completely sidetracked and distracted by the projects that I finished.
  5. School – hey, I did graduate for shit’s sake!

So God bless her – with all of her support, she basically asks “If we’re gonna put this money into this, are you going to follow this project through?”

I’ll say it again – I hope so, but I am nervous, too. Sometimes I think about how perfectly things have fallen into place with this project and say – “something’s gotta go wrong” and maybe I will get bored? I am gonna keep this going as long as I can – but right now I am committed to finishing this project. I am motivated. I mean, it’s My Uncle’s Mustang!!  I have been thinking about this car for DECADES and I’ve been wanting to get my hands on the car to fix it up since Uncle Pete passed away! This is a dream come true, right? Right. This is a dream. A dream that at any cost I am going to fulfill – and I am blessed to have My Wife’s support. That’s not to say that this won’t cause conflict between us – it might – probably will, but I think only if I let the project go or spend too much money without telling her.

So where are we with this? I have her blessing. We have a budget to get the car here and I am going to pull all stops to ease the financial burden – even go to the extent of asking for sponsorships – but I will not ask for money from friends or family. Just moral support – and My Wife is providing that and much much more.

Will this be a logistical nightmare?

First off – I am COMMITTED to getting the Mustang brought up here by early MAY. REALLY.

Second – I am leaning towards a auto transport company. I know for sure that these companies are like snake oil salesmen – and already the snakeoilyness has occurred. I have been getting phone calls from these auto transport companies for the past few days – really, voicemails because I haven’t been picking up the phone – I even got a prerecorded message. Cheesy. Won’t be calling that one back.

I actually talked to one that sounded pretty good – now the way they got my name is I filled out a form online, and one of the questions was “is the car running” and I let them know it WASN’T!!! So this one company I talked to sounded good – and was all about quality, reliability – and it was actually a person I was speaking to on the phone. Turns out the great price that they gave me wasn’t valid because they quoted me as if the car was running.

The Mustang hasn’t been running in nearly a decade at least. Have a look at the latest pics (published with the permission of Doug Sr!)

So the gasoline in the tank is probably a decade old, too. There is no way I try to start this car. YET.

More to come – hopefully the next post will be letting you know which auto moving company I will be using. Blech – I hate dealing with folks like this….