Now it’s time to start telling the story of Max.
Max is a Ford Mustang.
Built in 1968.
Her story will be told in English.
Now the story begins…
Her story will be told in English.
Now the story begins…
Something does not work the way it was planned on that 26th of February 1968.
It’s Fords River Rouge Plant in Dearborn, Michigan.
Max was planned to be built that day, here.
But it did not happen.
If you have been there – if you know more – let me know – be part of the story.
… that’s when Max is finally built.
It’s the 29th of February 1968. It’s a leapyear.
It’s the day of the Grammys. It’s a Thursday.
Have you been there? Did you work in the River Rouge / Dearborn Ford plant that day?
Today we’re going to look at what was Max like when she left the factory at or a little later than the 29th of February 1968. That’s an important part in a restoration.
Was she a BTO car – made especially for someone who ticked certain boxes on an order form? Longingly awaited by that someone?
We may never know. But let’s be honest: It’s not likely.
Looking at her specs it’s almost certain Max was produced on stock order recommendations that existed back then. These are said to have been issued by Ford to let the dealers know what would sell out of the showroom.
And Max was built to exactly reflect that, let’s take a look at the details, found in the archives of Ford, researched be the Ford Customer Service Division and officially issued to me in September 2015:
8 1968 Model Year
F Manufactured at our Dearborn Assembly Plant
01 Ford Mustang, 2-Door Hardtop
C 289 CID 8-Cylinder 2V Engine
161xxx Consecutive Unit Number
This vehicle was produced on 02/29/1968 with the following options:
• Acapulco Blue Exterior Paint Color
• Blue Interior Trim Color
• All Vinyl Bucket Seats
• 3-Speed Automatic Transmission – C4
• 2.79 Conventional Rear Axle Ratio
• Visibility Group
• 6.95×14 4PR WSW Tires
• Power Steering
• AM Radio
• Deluxe Seatbelts
• District Sales Office: Omaha
Looking at that data you can almost be sure she was a stock order, Acapulco Blue was a nice, fresh, metallic paint color, appealing on first sight to most customers, surely attracting onlookers that wandered around the dealership.
The Automatic Transmission was the logical choice for a small standard V8 of the time, powered by a standard 2 barrel carburetor, putting out close to 200 bhp.
While the AM Radio back then was a very popular choice, the Factory Power Steering was not completely common at that time and surely was a welcome extra to add a little luxury.
White Sidewall Tires, Visibility Group and Deluxe Seatbelts added to that little luxury.
The Visibility Group at that time meant some nice things like the Left hand remote mirror, under hood lights, trunk lights, glove box light and lock, ashtray and underdash lamps and a warning light for the parking brake.
So what were we looking at in that showroom somewhere in the Midwest?
A nice, appealing luxury cruiser.
Sure she would sell fast.
Did you or your father / mum, grandfather / grandmother buy her?
Her first owner is still to be found – please contact me if you know more.
So we talked about how Max has looked like in that showroom in the Midwest.
But where was it? Where did Max go after leaving the factory beginning of March 1968?
At the moment all I know is that the District Sales Office that was responsible for her was the Office in Omaha, Nebraska.
And her factory code tells us that she was planned to be delivered to Des Moines, Iowa.
The few details we know of her later history at the moment seem to indicate that in fact she was sold out of a dealership in or near Des Moines, Iowa.
Have you sold her? Do you know more? Please contact me.
1968 to 2003 – What happened to Max in between these 35 years remains a mystery – at least until now at the time of this posting.
That’s a massive gap.
The only information that seems secure at the time of this writing is that Max has been with a family that lived in Mason City, Iowa.
Rumor has it that she went through 3 generations in the same family within that time.
From grandfather to father to son and back.
Looking at a map all this seems to fit the mould.
Mason City is not that far away from Des Moines where Max most likely has been sold as a brand new car from some yet unknown Ford dealership.
But was someone in this family the first owner of Max? – Unknown.
All I know is that she was bought in 2003 by her previous owner in Mason City.
Have you sold a dark green Mustang ’68 Coupe in Mason City about the year 2003?
Let me know.
So Max was bought in 2003 in Mason City, Iowa by her previous owner.
When he moved (back) to Minnesota he took her with him.
But Max didn’t see much of the streets of Minnesota as I was told by her previous owner.
He took care of her, fixed some things, got her licenced and stored her safely in a barn.
After around 12 years of having her (2003 – 2015) he found that he might not have enough time and finally decided to sell her.
Jeremy – did I put this right? 🙂
Thats when I enter the story.
I had already been looking for a Mustang Coupe, V8, build years 1967 / 1968 for quite some time at that moment in early 2015.
There were lots of cars available on the market in Germany, in various states of preservation and within various ranges of pricing.
None really caught my eye, not a single one caused that „click“ of „must-have“.
That’s when I found Max on a large internet platform.
In an act of frustration I simply had ommited the limitation of only searching in my home country and changed the search criteria to „worldwide“.
There she was. She instantly looked like the perfect match.
Technically mostly ok and running, in need of some attention to body and painting.
Sounds like just mine.
I made contact to the owner, we talked about pricing and details of her state of preservation.
After we came to an agreement I took a look at her location and to my surprise it was in a reasonable distance to a place I was going to in the US anyway.
So I decided to take a look. Read on in „part II of the buying“ soon…
So my problem was – yes I was going near to where Max was waiting for me – but on a tight business schedule I did not know if I could find the time to set out to take a look at her.
But then – everything seemed to come together – I found a place and the time to rent a truck & trailer, weather was ok, a free evening showed up and so I went out into the countryside on that Sunday evening in early May 2015.
After two and a half hour driving out of the big city I finally pulled up to the house of the owner.
Together we took a look at her, everything was as expected, no surprises.
We did a short test drive, but on a small secondary road my courage ended earlier than Max‘ capabilities, so 75 Mph was all we did, errr – 55 of course, sorry… 🙂
So the deal was perfect, up on the trailer she went and just after nightfall I was back on my way into the city and to the place where Max would be waiting to be picked up for shipment to Germany.
That journey back alone was worth it all, if you and I meet some day, I must tell you the story in person. It involves cooking trailer brakes, a super-helpful gas station guy, a super-correct young police officer who pulled me over, unloading Max alone at the company and some raised eyebrows the next morning.
For me it was worth it all, I had found exactly the Mustang I was looking for, Max.
Simple: because I want to scare anyone away who thinks that this is going to be a concours restoration with every part that goes into the car being NOS (new old stock) only.
I am not like that. Sorry. If you are looking for that: look somewhere else.
I see myself as a redneck. What’s this? Look here to get an idea:
Urban Dictionary: Redneck
I start out to do most of the work myself.
This restoration will not involve many expensive external jobs, particularly not the bodywork nor the paintjob.
Yes, I will use Scott Drake parts. Yes, there are some good ones.
I will try to find the most (cost-) efficient way of repairing / restoring parts.
I will try to re-use most of the parts that I find on the vehicle today.
I won’t fix things that are not broken.
It will take time, I am not in a hurry.
I want to (re)build the car for myself the way I like it.
If you’re still interested, read on.
With the next post the dirty stuff will begin.