Jim Smart
February 1, 2004
Photos By: Jeff Ford

Shamus Richmond has owned 10 or 11 classic Mustangs through the years. He and his wife settled on '69s as their personal favorites because, as Shamus puts it, "they look like they're going fast sitting still...." the Richmonds came across this Candyapple Red '69 convertible in their travels. They enjoy country barn sales. Barn sales can yield virtually anything under the sun, farm implements, of course, and sometimes a whole lot more. In this one barn was a '69 {{{Mustang}}} convertible. "Filthy, dirty, and funky," as Shamus puts it. It needed everything. Mice were living inside it. Dents. Rust. Bad parts. The car ran-just not on eight cylinders.

The Richmonds had no money to buy this Mustang, much less perform a full-scale restoration. They had just finished a '66 Mustang hardtop, which had already taken awards in a couple of shows. So, they proposed an idea to the seller-take the restored '66 Mustang and we will give you $600 for your '69 convertible. The seller took the offer. Two years, eight months, two weeks, four days and sixteen hours later, the Candyapple Red droptop rolled out into the Oregon sunlight for a new chance at life.

Sounds simple, doesn't it? It wasn't. The car sat in the Richmonds' garage for the better part of a winter before Shamus had enough parts accumulated to perform the restoration. Shamus remembers trying to buy a pop-open GT gas cap on E-bay. He recalls, "the bidding on the cap got all the way up to real stupid. When we got it, it needed replating-even more stupid!"

Shamus learned in the course of this restoration that most of the parts needed to restore the car would come from the '69 Mustang hardtop they already had. Casey Burton, a good friend, invited Shamus and his two Mustangs to his shop. there they transferred parts from the hardtop to the convertible, including the 351W, a FMX transmission, and a 9-inch rear end. The hardtop also had a swing-away tilt steering column, a nice swap for any ride. All of the parts from the convertible were installed on the hardtop. The hardtop was then sold to help fund the convertible's restoration.

Shamus and Casey worked hard on the convertible's beautification, stripping the car down to the shell, and sweating every last detail. Portland Engine Rebuilders freshened up the 351. Dave's Transaction Transmission shook down the FMX. Theiland Auto Body in Cornelius, Oregon, tweaked the body and laid down the paint. Along the way, Shamus' wife began to feel like a Mustang widow. But Shamus never heard one complaint. she did draw the line at Shamus hijacking her dishwasher to clean Mustang parts. The last step was rolling on the GT stripes. The job was done. Mission accomplished.

The Richmond's convertible is more than just a restoration. It is a restomod-with American Torq-Thrust wheels, Holley carburetion, and Hedman hedders. The FMX provides a crisp upshift thanks to the installation of a Shift Kit from Trans Go. With 3.25:1 gears in back, acceleration is standard equipment. The Richmonds have shown us what you can do with a little imagination and some spare cash. They have produced a fine-looking ride that will serve them well for years to come, and provide plenty of eyewash for the locals.