Although I only recently joined the MCA, I have been a Mustang owner/enthusiast since I got my driverís license in 1982. Back when I was in high school, I drove a red 1966 Mustang coupe that my father had bought brand new in September 1966. It came with a c-code 289 and C4 transmission. How I ever lived through those early driving years is beyond me! Thankfully I survived, and the car has given me over 120K miles of joyful driving. Itís no longer my daily driver, and frankly it needs to be re-restored, which will happen in the next year or so. We have other Mustangs in the family, including a 1985 SSP Mustang (California Highway Patrol #E408395) and my wife's daily driver, a 2005 4.0L/auto convertible.
My wife has allowed me to cultivate our sonís interest in cars (with me as his father he didn't stand a chance!). Jack is 15yo now, and is now taking driverís education in school. For years, my wife and I had planned to let Jack drive the '66 Mustang, but she became concerned about the car not having safety features like airbags, ABS, crumple zones, etc. So last year we began keeping an eye out for a project car for Jack and me to work on together. We figured if Jack has his time and money invested into a car before he gets his license, then he'd be more likely to take care of it. So we started looking for an airbag car or truck that needed work. Jackís only requirement was that it needed to be a stick shift.
I had been keeping an eye out for another SSP Mustang, but nothing jumped off the page at me. I ran across a 95 Mustang GT convertible that was priced right and fit the term "project car", but I didn't like the idea of putting him behind the wheel of a powerful GT. So we kept looking. In August 2010, I found a nice prospect on AutoTrader. I spoke with the seller, and decided it was worth the 1 hour drive to check it out with the family.
The car was a '98 Mustang coupe with the 3.8L V6 and 5 speed transmission. Fourth gear was gone, the AC blew hot air, the windshield was cracked, the front brakes were thin, and the tires were worn. But the body was nice and rust-free, and the interior was clean. It was perfect! I showed Jack how to check out a car, and also how to haggle with a seller. A deal was struck, and we took the car home that weekend when the notary was open. Jack's savings was gone in an instant! Needless to say he was VERY excited. He joined 4 Mustang forums, and is trying to learn all he can about the car. I got the car insured, had the windshield replaced, and got two new tires. Here's a picture from when it was first tagged -
Some may say that this car is too nice to be considered a project vehicle, but these SN95 Mustangs are still plentiful and relatively inexpensive (depending on your location). Ones that need work can be found quite cheaply, yet the SN95 Mustangs still appear modern enough to be a relatively new car. Having the added benefit of modern safety features was certainly something we wanted for our soon-to-be young driver.
We've made further progress with the car, which I will update in subsequent posts.