Modified Mustangs & Fords
1969 Mustang Deluxe Convertible - Basket Case to Best Case
Hard Work Can Produce Miracles
After more than 20 years of marriage, Sylvia Stone had seen her husband Randy drag home more than a few Mustangs in need of a major makeover. In the summer of 1999, it was probably a worst-case scenario that came to the Stone household in Greensboro, North Carolina.
"She'd really thought I'd lost it with this one," Randy recalls, "but the car was very solid, as it only needed three or four quarter-size rust spots repaired and lower quarter-panels to be replaced. It was a sorry sight as I trailered it home with the completely worn-out Army green' paint, dirt, straw, and weeds all over it, and the top flapping in the breeze."
Up until that point, Randy's experience had centered around '64½ through '68 models. "In the summer of 1998, a couple of friends of mine, Bobby Dodd and Kevin Shaw, finished building what I thought was one of the most beautiful cars I had ever seen--a '69 Mustang convertible. It was painted Winter Blue, black interior and black convertible top, 302 automatic with air and all the goodies. I just set the thought in the back of my mind to someday build one of those beautiful cars."
The time came when Randy purchased the car from then fellow Mustang Club of America board member Ricky Simmons. It was a '69 Deluxe convertible, so the potential was obvious. Getting beyond the current condition proved to be the first obstacle.
"After a quick cleanup, it didn't look much better, so I decided maybe the best course of action was to completely disassemble the car so it wouldn't look so bad, and it would be in little pieces so my wife might not notice it as much."
The plan worked. Body-rust repair was accomplished with help from Dodd. Ed and Brenda McMillen put down the paint, which is one of the first attention-getters. Over 32 individual pieces were painted Light Aurora Copper Metallic and hand-rubbed. Randy got the color idea from the MCA calendar, circa 1999. "Color code V is a factory Ford color not usually offered for Mustangs, but available through special order," offers Randy. Pinstriping was done by Wayne Jarrett.
Inside, Rick Kennedy put the new door panels, carpet, and seat covers in place while also kicking in his expertise on the convertible top. Stock items like seats, a Rim-Blow wheel, instruments, and belts were used.
To power the '69, the original 302 2V was completely rebuilt. Machine work was done by Interstate Motors of Danville, Virginia. The internal parts were new, but designed to match original engine specs. It has a C4 with the stock 3.00 gear ratio.
This car had come from the factory with a few added value enhancements left intact in the project. Those options include air conditioning, power steering, power disc brakes, and a power-top operating system.
While many of the stock aspects stayed in place, Randy had no designs on winning concours awards. "I wanted a good-looking and good-driving car to have fun with here in North Carolina, where it's never too hot and never too cold to have the convertible top down. I detailed the car to MCA specifications, but made a few alterations to suit me."
One of those alterations is pleasingly obvious. Randy lowered the car 2 inches, using heavy-duty lowering springs and Koni shocks from Harris Mustang in Charlotte. "The feel and stance of the car is terrific on the mountain roads I drive on the weekends, and I'm very happy with the setup."
Like most hobbyists building up this vintage, Randy chased parts and admits they aren't as easy to find for the '69 as they are for some years. The result was choosing a combination of used parts and a selection of new reproduction parts. They seem to play together nicely.
When Randy takes the car to regional competition, he parks in the Modified fields, but he's been pleased with the response. Like the transition from the ugly duckling to the swan, this one has made the move from basket case to best case, and Randy has awards to prove it.