June 1, 2012

Like humans, cars can complete some pretty crazy journeys over their life spans. Some vehicles might spend their lives in service, delivering goods--others hauling tools for an owner in the trades. Some may be driven into the ground by families, getting the kids to school and seasonal sports, while many never get to reach their full potential thanks to fire, theft, or destruction at the hands of enthusiastic, but tasteless young customizers.

For modified car fans, the vehicles we hold dear have almost invariably been through a few different stages of life. In some cases, our cars may have lived through any combination of the scenarios listed above and come through smelling like roses after dedicated restorers and modifiers breathe new life into them.

Australian Frank Kolarik's '69 Mustang GT convertible has experienced quite a journey in its lifetime. While little is known about its time prior to 2002, the Candy Apple Red roofless Pony spent most of its life in Detroit.

Early in the new millennium, the previous owner brought in the Mustang for an extensive restoration that spanned almost 5 years. After this, the '69 spent a couple of years on the show circuit, accruing a large cache of trophies, some of which stand at more than 6-feet high.

"I bought the car in September 2010. It's one of only 1,127 built," says 52-year-old finance manager Frank Kolarik. "The previous owner didn't want any reminder of the car, which meant that I ended up shipping the car over here with its enclosed trailer and 20 years of memorabilia and trophies included."

According to Frank, some of those trophies included a First Place award in its class at the Detroit Autorama and since landing the car in November 2010, Frank has continued to show the car around his home base of Sydney. You can bet the car has garnered plenty of attention at shows down under ever since.

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Owning an award-winning Pony car clearly isn't enough for Frank; he's built his life around stallions. Besides his day job in the finance industry, Frank and his family also run a champion horse stud service outside of Sydney, which is where our photo shoot took place. On top of that, he's also got a nice '69 390ci Mach 1 to keep the convertible company.

But it's the GT convertible that shines brightest in Frank's garage, thanks to the resto job performed back in Detroit. As you can see from the photos, the bodywork and the candy paint are flawlessly finished. That blinding color also extends underneath, where the full, smoothed floorpan and wheel arches are all coated in it. What isn't red has been coated in a contrasting metallic white and everything has been clear coated as well.

Adding to the glitz and glamour are hundreds of smaller details; some added by the previous owner and some added by Frank himself. Pop the hood to check out the rebuilt 351ci Windsor and you'll start to notice dozens of little chrome and polished pieces like bolt caps and hose clamps, most of which carry either the Ford or Mustang livery. Truly the work of a die-hard fan.

D&S Engine Specialists in Detroit, Michigan, rebuilt the Windsor to factory specifications; save for a camshaft swap to something a little more aggressive. While the power and performance may be a little on the sedate side, the convertible more than makes up for it with plenty of color and attention to detail. The entire engine has been smoothed and painted in the same colors, as has the suspension and driveline. Breaking up the red and white theme is the ceramic-coated factory exhaust manifolds and exhaust system.

Besides the huge 20x8.5-inch Boss Motorsport chrome rims squeezed under each corner, the paint, and the attention to detail, Frank's GT is really a well restored example of a rare roofless 'Stang--not a hugely modified custom. This is evident in the cabin where you'll find a largely factory-style interior; albeit an immaculate factory interior that has been accentuated by a color-matched rollbar and blood red carpets.

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