Archived Story

Project about more than a car

Published 3:11pm Tuesday, August 6, 2013

Two months ago I didn’t know a solenoid from an alternator.

If I was put on the spot, I couldn’t have picked out a temperature sending unit from a line up if it was stuck between a spark plug and a radiator.

I was to car repair what former Vice President Dan Quayle was to spelling.

That slowly began to change in June.

A trip to McGough Auto Parts in Honoraville left me in love with a presidential blue, 1968 Mustang GT.

The car was sitting in a field of nearly knee-high grass at the end of a long row of Mustangs that hadn’t seen the highway in years if not decades.

To quote singer and songwriter David Wilcox, it was a field full of “rusty, old American dreams.”

These were cars who need someone to love them and bring them back to life.

I set my heart of rescuing the 1968 GT, which hadn’t run in at least eight years due to the fact that the engine, a 351 Windsor that had been stuffed under the hood some years back, caught on fire while riding down the road.

That’s a tall order for someone who had never even changed a spark plug.

But a couple of weeks later, with my wife’s blessing, my dad and I made the drive out to Honoraville to get the car. Since the pony car wasn’t exactly ready to gallop, Mr. Ricky McGough was nice enough to load it up on a wrecker and haul it to my garage where the work of restoring the car to its former glory would take place.

For the past couple of months my dad and I have worked side by side replacing parts damaged by the fire, cleaning and polishing others and putting it all back together again.

I’ve learned what a solenoid is, and can even install one.

I can lift the hood and show you where the alternator is hiding.

And if there was a guilty temperature sending unit in a line up, I could point it out.

I wouldn’t be able to do that if it weren’t for my dad.

Everything I know about cars and engines can probably still fit on the top of a radiator cap, but everything I know about cars and engines he taught me.

And while it was a lot of fun to hear the engine in that presidential blue, 1968 Mustang GT fire up, and to be able to climb behind the wheel and take it for a spin around the block on Saturday, the best part of the whole project has been being able to do it with my dad.

I couldn’t have rescued the Mustang without him.

Not only that, I wouldn’t have wanted to.

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