Dale Amy
April 1, 2014
Photos By: Drew Phillips

We've all done it—or at least been tempted. Here's hoping your parents sat you down and warned you about the potential pitfalls of this type of questionable activity, giving you their hard-earned life insight on how this particular sin can often lead to disappointment, embarrassment, and maybe even humiliation. We're talking, of course, about the risky business of buying a collector car sight unseen. Larry Ashley did it, and the result nearly threatened the sanctity of his marriage. No, really.

Browsing the Internet one day back in 2006, Larry found a 1968 Mustang GT/CS coupe listed for sale. Larry lives in Ontario, California, and the eBay-listed pony was almost 500 miles away up in Sacramento. So, based purely on photos and the ad description, he contacted the seller, haggled a bit, and finally settled on a price. Now, it's always supposed to be a happy day when a new toy gets delivered, but not this time: "Ugh, the car was far worse than he described," Larry said. "Once it arrived, I was so bummed I just shoved it in my back yard and let it sit for four years till I got tired of hearing my wife complain about it."

The bizarre irony here is that Larry had bought this 1968 Mustang coupe for his wife, Lola, in order to replace a '67 Mustang that the couple had previously been forced to sell after Larry was laid off back in early 2005.

"I had to sell it to make the mortgage and the wife was all bummed out," Larry said. "She said [the '67] was part of the family and we should have never sold it. I promised her I would buy another car and build it far better than the '67."

So after that, uh, four-year delay, Larry finally got over his disappointment in the as-bought condition of his 1968 Mustang and set about acting on his spousal promise. In the meantime, he had taken a new position as marketing director for TMI Products, a seating and upholstery specialist whose extensive line of Mustang and early Bronco interior products may well be familiar to many readers. This new job also got Larry thinking that the forlorn old notchback might make a nice rolling showcase for TMI's hardware at the annual SEMA show in Las Vegas.

With one look at its highly detailed "Lobster Red" interior, you'll see that the black coupe performed its recent SEMA show role rather well. Along with TMI's vinyl and suede upholstery and door panels, other primary contributors to the interior's classy modern vibe are the company's "Sport R" buckets and full-length center console. Likewise, Dakota Digital's VHX-series instruments combine analog and digital displays with red backlighting and Silver Alloy gauge faces for a look that's modern without seeming out of place in a 45-year-old ride. The cabin is isolated by a full sound-deadening package from Quiet Ride Solutions, finished off with in-car entertainment from Custom Autosound and a color-matching billet steering wheel mounted on an Ididit tilt column.

No doubt a good portion of Larry's two-year restoration/restomodification involved having Gabe Bell get the 1968 Mustang notchback's body panels straight enough to not show any imperfections—even after shaving the door handles—under the unforgiving coats of PPG's Brilliant Black Crystal Clearcoat as shot by GC Customs, and contrasted by those unique, slashed red graphics. The rear view is distinct with its GT/CS treatment, while the snout has a "Street Style" apron from Mustangs Plus, and those somehow-sinister projector headlights by Spyder.