March 8, 2004

Bench-Seat CJ

John Taliaferro from Staunton, Virginia, is the third owner of this '681/2 Cobra Jet fastback, one of only 11 built with the bench seat and automatic transmission. Purchased in April 1973 with 22,000 miles on it, John has racked up another 58,000 miles over the past 30 years. During that time, it's been repainted (with painted-on GT stripes because decals weren't available at the time) and the engine rebuilt to factory specifications. John says, "It's a matching-numbers car with the VIN on the left rear cylinder head and transmission."

Tribute to Carroll

"My son and I restored this '65 fastback together," says David Tabor. "It's been a great growing experience for both of us." The father and son from Vermontville, Michigan, elected to build the 289 four-speed fastback with a Shelby theme. "I've been teaching Austin about Carroll Shelby and his cars," David explains. "There were only 562 GT350s in 1965, so it's not realistic that we'll ever own one. So we built one. Whether right or wrong, we did it for the love of the car and out of respect for Shelby."

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Red Racer

Ed Gile purchased his '86 GT as a retirement gift to himself after 20 years in the U.S. Navy. Over time, Ed has converted the car into a street-legal "Trans Am road-racer look-alike." Modifications to the Virginia Beach, Virginia, GT include a five-lug wheel conversion, Saleen rear wing, America Racing Torq-Thrust wheels, Eibach springs, BBK headers and Flowmaster mufflers, and a combination of suspension enhancements from Steeda, Saleen, and Dugan Racing. Fast Signs in Virginia Beach created the graphics.

Pride of '73

When Bowditch Ford in Newport News, Virginia, received its last '73 Mustang convertible in 1973, Bill Bowditch, Jr. grabbed it for himself. And he's owned the blue ragtop ever since. Originally a standard convertible with the 2V 351C, Bill has upgraded over time to a Holley four-barrel, dual exhaust, Mach 1 front end, three-hole dash with aftermarket instruments, and aluminum wheels. "It helps that I'm a Ford dealer and my guys have done much of the work," Bill says. "At 74,000 miles, it is still running strong."

Tangerine Dream

Even Ray Charles can see Pete Watson's Tangerine '96 GT convertible coming down the road. The bright Mustang from Niagara Falls, Ontario, is one of 51 built with the Tangerine paint, black leather interior, and five-speed. Factory options include ABS and Mach 460 sound with CD. Pete has also added Flowmaster mufflers, BFG Comp T/A tires on Bullitt wheels, a Classic Design Concepts lightbar, and hard tonneau covers.