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1969 Ford Mustang Sportsroof - A Long Time Coming
Anthony Massimiano’s SportsRoof was built in stages as time and money allowed
A young elementary school age boy walked past a "cool race car" parked in a driveway each day. There it sat as he walked to and from school. He really wasn't sure what kind of car it was at that young age, but all he and his pals knew was it was cool looking. Well, that cool looking car was actually a '69 Mustang SportsRoof with a 351W and C6 automatic; no doubt a fun ride for its owner. Strange thing is, that little boy walking to school would someday own that SportsRoof, he just didn't know it yet. The boy in question is Anthony Massimiano of Newtown Square, Pennsylvania.
Fast forward to 1985; Anthony is now a 16-year-old high school student and drives a '71 Mustang convertible (that SportsRoof must have really left an impression, huh?). While at a stop sign waiting on traffic, Anthony's '71 convertible is rear ended, totaling the car. "I can remember hearing my mom on the phone arguing with the insurance company about the payout. I did a lot of work to the car, but didn't have any receipts; I was only 16 and didn't know to keep them." Anthony received $500 from the insurance settlement and the insurance company allowed him to keep the car.
Anthony figured he'd find another '71-'73 Mustang convertible and swap over all of the good remaining parts. Anthony's mom told him the '69 Mustang down the street he used to drool over as a kid was for sale for $1,200. Anthony knocked on the owner's door and the woman who owned it wouldn't let him drive it due to his age. Instead, she just took him for a ride in it. Anthony knew nothing about cars then and it was difficult to determine if the car had any issues as a lowly passenger, but he still wanted it.
Anthony knew of a local salvage yard that specialized in muscle cars and, believe it or not, it gave Anthony $500 for his wrecked '71. With a cool grand in his pocket he only had to scrape together an additional $200 to buy the SportsRoof. He brought the car home and began fixing it up over the summer. His father helped with some money for a basic paintjob.
"It was your typical slap some 'mud' on the body to fill in the rust holes and then a simple spray job, but it didn't look half bad. We also did the typical teenage updates like a stereo and speakers, loud mufflers, and so on," Anthony says. John Ottaviano, his high school buddy, helped him with said updates as well as future buildups on the car.
Anthony drove the car for the next several years as his daily driver, but during his third year in college, a friend in the back seat tried to get out and put his foot clear through the floor, Flintstone-style, due to rust.
"I figured it was too unsafe to drive, so I stored it since the rust repair work was beyond my knowledge at the time," Anthony tells us. He took it off the road in 1990 and his dad co-signed a loan for a daily driver. Anthony did tinker with it some over the next several years. He pulled the engine and trans and searched for trim parts at swap meets, and by 1997, Anthony started tearing into it seriously.
"I met Mike McGinnis, who worked at G&A Collision Center, during the summer of 1999. He introduced me to his boss who said to bring the car down and I could use the shop for paint and body repairs. I worked three nights a week on the car for almost two years replacing torque boxes, floorpans, and other structural stuff before paint was even thought of," Anthony explained.
Another G&A employee, Jeff Martin, started helping him and they worked on painting the car. First Anthony painted the underside and rebuilt the suspension. The remaining exterior sheetmetal and bodywork was completed at Anthony's mom's house, which took another two-plus years (into 2002).