1969 Grande Coupe
Changes that I have made so far:
New front bumper
MY MOM, THE MUSTANG AND ME
It all started on June 26, 1969. My mom traded in her 1965 Silver Blue Mustang for her Meadowlark Yellow 1969 Mustang. She liked the 1969 better because she could see over the steering wheel. You see my mom was only five feet one and one-quarter inches tall, so when they lowered the steering wheel on the 1969’s she wanted that car instead.
Mom and I had a lot of fun in the Mustang. We took it to Missouri almost every year during my summer vacation from school.
During one summer trip, we were on our way to Missouri and had to stop in Gallup, New Mexico for gas. Just as we were getting ready to drive out of the gas station, the attendant hollered at us to stop. Mom stopped but immediately got suspicious. The attendant told mom that her tire had a bubble on it. She got out and the attendant showed it to her. She couldn’t see it. The attendant tried to sell her a new tire. Mom wasn’t buying, so she told the attendant just to change the tire and put the spare tire on. The attendant was very worried that if we didn’t purchase the new tire, that something might happen to the spare while it was on the car, we wouldn’t have a spare to take it’s place. Mom told him that we would take our chances. See mom was skeptical to begin with, being that it was only mom and I in the car. So after that, whenever we took a trip back to Missouri we always made sure that we had plenty of gas so we wouldn’t have to stop in Gallup.
I learned how to drive on the highway driving from California to Missouri in this car when I had my learners permit. It was during this trip, my uncle decided to make sure that I knew how to parallel park a car. Therefore, one day while we were on my grandparent’s farm, my uncle set up two 55-gallon drums. My uncle gave me instructions to park the John Deere lawn tractor in between the two drums. I was able to do this without a problem, being that he had set them farther apart than was necessary. Once I accomplished that, I hollered at my uncle that I had in fact parked the tractor as he had instructed me to do. He then brought the barrels a little closer with the instructions that every time that I was successful to bring the barrels closer. I continued to follow his instructions until the barrels were no farther apart than the length of the tractor plus two inches. That was the way that I learned how to parallel park a car.
My father, while on tour with Ray Conniff, was playing in Las Vegas. My mom and I, on our way back to Missouri, stopped in Las Vegas for a couple of days and spent time with my dad. We left there with the understanding that he would come and join us in Missouri. About a week later, my dad joined us in Missouri. A couple of days later the three of us left on our way up to Canada, to see a friend of the family, who was staying with her mom out in the middle of the Saint Mary’s river, on three islands that she owned, outside of Sioux St. Marie, Canada. On our way there, we went through Kalamazoo, Michigan, which is where my father taught me the Kalamazoo song. Once we got into Canada, the directions said to take the ferry across the river, go to the third telephone pole and honk three times. That was their notice to come, pick us up in the boat, and take us to the islands. We had a wonderful time while we were there. Rica had her two kids there, who were able to bring a friend with them. So once I got there, there were five kids there and we had fun. We fished, swam, played games and just kept ourselves entertained. There were three meals served to us, if we got up in time by the cook and her daughter, who were there on the islands also. While we were there, there was an awful storm. At one point in time, mom looked up and thought she saw a monster. This monster turned out to be one of Rica’s friends that decided to ride out in his boat to deliver some beer. Rica made him spend the night and go back to the mainland the next day, after the storm had blown over. While there, we made a trip to the mainland and did some shopping for some souvenirs of the trip. We spent about a week there before leaving to head back home. That was, one of the most memorable vacations that I had as a child.
There are many memories that I have of my mom, the mustang and me. We not only took it to Missouri every summer, but mom and I would sometimes set out on the weekend and go for a day trip, sometimes just driving and other times we would have a destination in mind.
My first accident was in this car, thankfully, it wasn’t a bad accident. I still have the front piece of chrome that still has the original dent in it.
Back in the mid ‘70’s mom tried to give this car to me, but I told her that gas was too expensive at that time, so they bought me a VW beetle for me to drive to and from school and to work.
When I did drive the Mustang, I did ENJOY it. It always had a whole lot of get up and go. I felt very safe and secure in it. I guess in the back of my mind I always knew that one day I would get the Mustang, so I guess in a way it was always my car, I just let my mom use it.
Mom had to have the transmission rebuilt at 110,000 miles.
Mom had my dad bring the Mustang over to my house sometime in 2002. She wasn’t able to drive anymore due to the fact that her Macular Degeneration had made it impossible for her to see let alone drive and her emphysema had gotten much worse. She knew that I knew how to start it the “right way”. It sat in my garage for about four years before I decided that I was going to start restoring it.
It was a slow process in the beginning, but once I joined the Mustang Owners Club of California, well, I got the bug and in 2006, I started restoring the car back to when mom drove it off the dealer’s lot. I’ve had the compression checked in the engine and it is at 150psi in all eight cylinders. The air conditioning still works. I am so glad that I never took the Mustang from my mom, because she would get the oil changed every 3,000 miles religiously. And for that I am eternally grateful.
I told mom before she died that once I got the Mustang fixed up we would go to Bobs’ on a Friday night. She was all for it and knew that everyone would enjoy the Mustang. Unfortunately, mom didn’t survive. However, I know that when I do go over to Bobs’ on that Friday night, she will be with me in spirit and loving every minute of it.
I may not have my mother anymore, but I do have her Mustang, so I guess I still have my mom.
I was able to get the original factory invoice and since mom was the original owner…