| I got my first car in September, 1976. I was living at home, going to Pierce College and working at a Shell gas station. I constantly needed to borrow one of my parent’s cars to go anywhere and it was starting to get kind’a old. The owner of the gas station, where I was working, had 2 Mustangs for sale. Both needed some work, but hey they ran. I asked my father to borrow the money to buy one of these since I was a college puke with very little money. My father decided that neither of these Mustangs would be good for me and that he would find the right car for me.
One day while I was working, my father and sister drove up in a black 1968 Mustang coupe. He asked if I liked it and if I did, that he would buy it for me and I could pay him back. It looked okay; standard rims (with hub caps) no real bells and whistles, but still good enough. I mean it could have been something like a Pinto or a VW Bug (they’re really not my type). So I said “sure, I’ll take it”. So my father went back to the dealer and bought it for me.
For the first 10 years, I was very diligent about keeping Dabeest clean and waxed. Then I started to get lazy and Dabeest started to look pretty “worn”. Like the driver’s seat seams coming apart, the head liner had a small tear that kept growing, the dashboard started to crack, a crack in the windshield, vinyl top coming apart, you know stuff like that. I would try to fix what I could with duct tape (hey, I was still going to college and could not afford better). I would also get cheap seat covers to hide my work, but after a while, well you get the idea.
Then came that fateful day, May 26, 2006. It started out as an okay day, the Friday before Memorial Day weekend and my birthday. I went to work like normal (ya, I had to work on my birthday, but who doesn’t now a days). On my way home from work at 4:30 in the afternoon a utility truck hit me. The impact spun me around crossing 4 lanes of traffic. The officer who came to my aid stated that the approximate speed the truck that hit me was about 45 mph at time of impact. Fortunately for me, I did modify my exhaust system with “turn downs” before the rear axle or there would have been a fire. Another “modification” was the back of my driver’s seat was kind’a broken and I had a tool box behind it holding it in place. That gave way upon impact, but prevented me from getting whiplash. Whew, I guess God’s birthday present to me was I will survive this. Dabeest was declared a total loss as a result of the accident, though.
I used the money from the insurance company settlement, cashed out a 401K plan (before the market went down) and put Dabeest back together. Dabeest is now insured as a collectors car and is now my 401K.
Ever since I got Dabeest back from the body shop, I have entered it in to numerous car shows and events. I have won multiple 1st, 2nd and 3rd place trophies/awards along with several honorable mentions. It was also used in Katy Perry’s music video “The One That Got Away” (she actually drove Dabeest). Not too bad for a salvaged car!
After almost 36 years and over 450,000 miles, I had the engine rebuilt in October, 2012. When the engine was being machined, I was informed that the engine had been rebuilt before I got the car. He was surprised it lasted as many miles as it did.
Modifications to the car include a Holly 600 4bbl. carburetor, dual exhaust with “shorty” headers, mag wheels, an extra large radiator, a new stereo, rebuilt engine with a “mild” cam and the back ½ of another ‘68 Mustang!
The moral of the story; How much you love your car is not based on how much money you spend on it, rather how much money you spend on it that you don’t have.