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On August 27, 2003 I prepared for the long 1000 mile round trip to get the car. My plan was to rent a car-caddy and to make the tow easier since I would have to drive through the New Jersey
Turnpike and the Garden State Parkway through heavy traffic. Little did I know that every single car-caddy in northern Vermont was rented out for that day because of a collision derby
that was going to take place that night. I was told by a local rental place that the odds were very good that at least one of their two caddies would be returned before they opened the
next morning, so that the renters would not have to pay for an extra day's rental.|
On August 28, 2003 I should have bought a lottery ticket because one of the caddies was returned by the time I got there at 7:30 in the morning. I hitched it up to the truck and I was off. I was a little nervous since the caddy was very wobbly. By 3:30pm I had arrived in Clarksboro, NJ. I found out right away that the engine and transmission was not original, but I didn't mind since I really liked the original color that I could see on the inside of the car. Pictures do not do this color justice. Nobody is going to believe this color to be original without some documentation. It took only a few minutes to put the car on the caddy and I was off. I learned right away that I couldn't exceed 63 mph, because of the wobbly caddie and the miss-matched tires on the car. It was a long ride home.
|On August 29, 2003 I had a new toy. Joy ! The first thing I did was an assessment of the vehicle. I went through all of the parts that came with the car and recorded the ones that were usable. I then went over the entire car and recorded all of the parts I needed to locate and recorded all of the areas that would need body work. Since I was still in the middle of restoring my 1959 Oldsmobile (seen here on the rotisserie in the background), this is all I could do at the time. This was no big deal ,since I would have plenty of time to locate parts before I started to work on the project.|
On September 2, 2003 I contacted Don Hughmanick to let him now that I acquired the car so that he could update his registry. Don had reproduced the Limited Edition 600 decals that he originally
found painted over on his car in 1982. I bought a set from him for the day when my car is all done and is ready for the final touch. My Ford CAC 999 Report that came with the car and later my
Kevin Marti Deluxe Report, told me that the car came with a tape stripe. Don informed me that my car should probably have the white/gold/white Ford pinstripes that his car originally did. I was
later to find pieces of the original stripes on my car that were actually black/red/black, which I was glad to find since I think that it will make a better accent color on the lime green.|
|A LITTLE ARCHEOLOGY|
For an old car like this to survive this long means that it probably exchanged hands several times and had experienced lots of changes. Usually not for the better. Here is my attempt to piece together
some of these changes based on my first overall inspection of the car.|
A dealer name plate was attached to the tail panel probably from the original dealership that the car came from, Koelle Greenwood Ford. The tag is long gone and the holes were filled with bondo. (If anybody out there has one or can locate one for me, please let me know).
Very early in the car's life it must have been in a light accident since the hood had been changed and the car was repainted the original color. There was no evidence of damage to the radiator support or the remaining sheetmetal, so the damage must have been to the hood and grill. At that time the Mustang emblems had been removed and the emblem mounting holes where filled. This is where the car lost its Limited Edition 600 indentity, since the special decals were destroyed when the car was repainted. The car was probably taken well care of since I counted 6 service station decals inside the driver's door jamb area. They are illegible because they were later painted over with a crappy red paint job.
Much later on in its life the rear quarters and the bottom outer corners of the doors were patched with bondo and the car was painted red, rather poorly. The inside of the door jambs was poorly covered with red paint. It was filled with lots of runs and the paint was semi-transparent. This is when the service station decals and tire pressure decal were painted over. Also at the time the original chrome remote mirror was removed and a set of cheap sports mirrors were installed. The typical conclusion from this is that the ownership of the car was transfered to a teenager that didn't like the lime green color and wanted to 'dress it up'.
Sometime after that, things started to get messy. There was a set of hood locks installed where hood pins are typically installed. There is evidence of a manual choke since there was an extra hole drilled in the lower dash with a corresponding hole in the firewall at the level of the carburetor. Around this time a dual exhaust system was installed. Big holes were drilled under the back seat to mount the hangers. Another set of hangers were attached to either side of the gastank. The rear valance was either replaced or hacked-up at that time to make way for the dual exhaust. The primer was baked off the side of the frame rails and trunk pan by the gastank due to the exhaust positioning. Somebody was very lucky. In addition airshocks were installed, the trunk was painted with splatter paint, the main fuel line was replaced with a long piece of tubing and a stereo was poorly installed. The ground wire for the stereo was run along the dash and was screwed down under the middle of the passenger's sill plate. How bad of an installation is that ?
Then things got worse. Inside the trunk big pieces of fiberglass mesh were used to stuff the ever increasing rust holes in the lower rear quarters. The rear quarters and lower outer corners of the doors were buried on the outside with even more bondo. The mounting pins for the roof pillar running horse emblems were ground off, probably because the emblems were missing. The left front fender was replaced. And then the whole car was primed with either a thick coat of dark gray or black primer that eventually cracked and faded to gray. The work on the car was probably abandoned for some time before it was sent to the salvage yard. I know that it was sold to the salvage yard by a Anthony D. Salvatore of Eddystone, PA around the year 2000. (Hey Anthony, if you are reading this please contact me).
Once it made it to the salvage yard (Ritt Jones in Swedesboro, NJ) the car gradually lost a bunch of pieces, like the engine, pretty much everything in the engine compartment, the grill, the bumpers, the trunk lid, the side windows, the front & rear valance panels, the instrument cluster, the passanger pod and the rear interior trim. It also looks like it spend some time sitting on or very close to the ground. Areas of the rear suspension and front strut rods and braces had some residue of what looks like white paint. Basically it looks as if the car was sitting on the ground where there was a paint spill.
I will erase the evidence of the car's sorted past by restoring it to a concourse driven state.
|An interesting thing I found during my first inspection of the car was that this big blue '52' was painted on the left shocktower, which appears to be factory applied. When the car was repainted when the hood was changed the engine compartment was touched-up with black paint to cover the oversprayed body color. I found the '52' under the touch-up paint. So if it wasn't factory applied it was done early in the car's life. I have yet to determine the significance of it. I know that there is a '52' in the serial number, but its not the last 2 digits. The rotation number on the buck tag is '171', so that's not it. I know that that it was dealer stock number '54' so that's not it either. When I eventually removed the left front fender I found '252' written in white crayon. So perhaps its related to that.|
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