Jerry Kay
August 14, 2018

It’s kind of hard to call this a barn find because the car’s whereabouts have always been known, but it’s still one of those stories you hear and think “why can’t that happen to me?”

San Diego, CA resident Jerry Kay went to help an elderly friend, 90 year-old Andy Canepa, with computer problems and as he pulled up to the man’s house, he noticed Andy cleaning out his garage. That struck him as odd since Andy never parked his two Hondas in the garage. Andy said he was making room for a car his sister, 93 year-old Florence Johnson, was giving him. She couldn’t drive it anymore and wanted Andy to have it. Jerry asked about the car, and it turned out to be a Mustang—Jerry’s first car was a 1967 Mustang, so he was intrigued. The car was only a mile down the road, so the two men went to look at it, and when they opened Florence’s garage door, there sat a dirty ’67 Springtime Yellow hardtop with a 289 and automatic, just like Jerry’s first car, covered in boxes and other garage debris. The only difference between this one and Jerry’s first Mustang was the color and the fact that Florence ordered it new with a bench seat. When they looked at the odometer, it showed 37,113 miles. In the glove compartment were the original warranty card, owners manual and other papers delivered with the car on September 30, 1966. There were even the original keys with the original key cut tags in tact on the original dealer key fob from University Ford in San Diego.

The odomteter reads 38,113 miles, and since Florence didn’t drive much, that’s original mileage.

Jerry knew that 90 year-old Andy would never do anything with the car and asked about buying it. After striking a deal, Florence, 93 years young, came out of the house and stepped a few feet into the garage. She wanted to make sure it was going to a good home, stating that the car had always been in the garage when not in use. She said it never sat outside and wanted to make sure Jerry had a garage to keep it in. She also said it had never been rained on nor did she ever intentionally drive it in the rain—the car had been caught in the rain a few times, but she avoided it at all cost. After assuring her that the car was going to a good home and that Jerry would never let the car sit out when it was parked, Florence went back into the house.

Two weeks later she passed away at the age of 93. Jerry believes that knowing her beloved Mustang was going to a good home was the last of her worries and she was ready to meet her husband and only daughter that passed away many years before her.

Cleaned up and ready for show season, Florence would be proud of how Jerry is keeping her Mustang alive.

Jerry pumped up the tires and pushed the car out of the garage and took pictures of it so he could get insurance on it before taking it home. He then pushed it back into her garage and applied for insurance, but it took him two tries to find an insurer that could see past the dust and grime.

Jerry charged up the battery and the car turned over just fine but wouldn’t start. The last stickers on the license plate were 2003 so it had been sitting for a long time. Jerry had it towed a few miles to his home, popped off the distributor cap and cleaned the points and rotor, and with a turn of the key it started right away even with the 20 year-old gas in the tank.

Jerry looked for months for an original 1967 Autolite 24F battery, and found this one in an Ebay ad for a battery rack (but not the battery itself). Jerry contacted the seller and said that he was interested in the old battery that was sitting on the rack and the seller said sure, he would sell it. He said he owned the old battery for many years and that it came from a then-closed Ford dealership in Abilene, Kansas, having sat on the parts counter as a display battery there for over 20 years—when they closed he bought it. Jerry got it for $85, the final jewel for his build was there in his hands for the show next week.

Then the process of cleaning, cleaning, and more cleaning revealed a very good condition all-original vehicle. Florence was 43 years old when in September 1966 she ordered the new 1967 Mustang and unlike many young Mustang owners, she never molested the car, leaving it stock and just driving it. The only modifications she did were to put San Diego Chargers stickers on the inside of the three rear windows and she put a Saint Christopher magnet on the metal ashtray door on the dash. There was also a State Farm Insurance sticker on the rear bumper. What a joy it was to clean up such an original, unrestored find. Jerry assumed that since there were millions of these cars sold in the 1960s that it was not that uncommon to find one in such great condition, but as he took it to various car shows including Ford shows he found that he had the only unrestored Mustang in great condition there.

Jerry took the cleaned-up Mustang to the National Antique Automobile Club of America car show in Tucson, Arizona and was awarded with the Historical Preservation of Original Features award. It was at that show that he met a member of the Mustang Club of America who told Jerry that the car was a “jewel” and should be taken to the national Mustang show in Georgia the next month, where they had a special class for unrestored Mustangs and people would love to see it—in all his years belonging to the club he had only seen a handful of unrestored early Mustangs in such great condition. Being only a month away and Georgia being so far away from San Diego, Jerry passed on the idea but after looking at the calendar of events for the Mustang Club of America, he found the next national show in Lincoln Nebraska three months away. That show was a lot closer and would give him plenty of time to prepare.

Jerry first found and called Johnnie Garner, the national MCA judge for his class of unrestored 1964 ½ to 1973 Mustangs, and started to ask questions with regard to the class that his car would be in. He also asked who had the finest example of an unrestored Mustang so he could get an idea what he was up against so Johnnie told him of a man in Bend, Oregon that won gold the previous year by the name of Craig Denson. Jerry took a detailed video of the springtime yellow ’67 and sent a copy to Craig and a couple of other knowledgeable Mustang restorers—Bob Perkins from Wisconsin and Marcus Anghel from Scottsdale Arizona. They all got back to him with a long list of things that needed to be replaced—hoses, clamps, belts, tires, and an original battery. The goal is to make the car look just as it did when it left the dealer showroom without any restoration at all.

After weeks of ordering and installing all of the parts, he borrowed an Econoline van and rented a trailer then drove for 24 hours from San Diego to Lincoln, Nebraska. The car got rained on three times during the trip and twice the morning of the show; Florence would not have been very happy to see the car get wet. At the show, there were 300 cars in the show to be judged and maybe another 200 that were just there to be shown and not be judged.

There were only four Mustangs in the unrestored class: Craig Denson from Bend, Oregon; Marty Rupp from Lincoln; Jerry Kay from San Diego; and Bob Perkins from Wisconsin—all the guys that had been helping Jerry over that past few months on what changes to make to help the car to win gold. Two months prior, at the Georgia show, there were no original cars present for the URA unrestored class. It is by far the smallest class at the MCA shows because of the rarity.

Judging at MCA National Show in Lincoln, Nebraska.

The judging was grueling. On Saturday afternoon three judges spent 1 hour 45 minutes going over every part on the Springtime Yellow beauty with a 20-page checklist, and the owner had to be there all the time to answer any questions the judges might have. The judges also gave Jerry a lot of good pointers on what to do to improve the car and how to do it but he had to wait until Sunday afternoon to hear the results of the judging.

On Sunday afternoon hundreds of people entered the air conditioned Pinnacle Bank Arena in Lincoln for the results and then came the moment Jerry had been waiting for. The Jumbotron lit up with the following: “Next up in URA class a Gold award for the ’67 Springtime Yellow coupe, Jerry Kay.” The crowd cheered since a lot of people walking by noticed the amazing car during the 3-day show. The greatest reward was finally bestowed on the 50 year-old garage find.

You need at least 96 percent of the points to win gold and Jerry had attained 97.5 pecent of the points, amused that the judges even deducted one point for the St. Christopher magnet on the ashtray as it had not been a Ford dealer accessory delivered with the car. Jerry said he would never remove that piece of history off the dash regardless of the points deductions it brought.

It was amazing to win Gold the first time at a MCA national event. Jerry has taken the car as far as it can go and sees himself as the temporary custodian of this jewel with the chick color Springtime Yellow paint, but he is now ready to part with it and move on. Next maybe something a little more manly? Maybe a black 2019 GT500?