November 1, 2004

It's amazing how one's love for Mustangs can affect those closest to you. Case in point: Jason Morley's father Ed found this '69 Mustang in the garage of a house he was refurbishing. Hidden among over 20 years worth of boxes and junk was a Meadowlark Yellow hardtop with only 68,000 miles on the odometer. Powered by a straight six and C4 automatic, the car had the standard black vinyl interior and even retained the original AM radio. Considering a born-on-date of October 18, 1968, this car only had 12 years of driving before it was parked for an automotive version of Rip Van Winkle. Knowing his son's love of Mustangs, Ed called Jason and informed him of what he had discovered. Jason contacted the original owner; one month and $50 later, the car was his. Towing the car back to his O'Fallon, Missouri, home and cleaning off his find, Jason began to evaluate what his fifty bucks had bought him. After discovering far more damage than he wanted to cope with, he was ready to part it out, call it a day, and try to put a fifty back in his billfold.

It wasn't until after visiting several All-Ford car shows and not seeing one '69 hardtop in the lineup, that a decision to fix the rust queen was made. A challenge, if you will, to show there was another body style in 1969 (besides a fastback) that could be done well. In order to compete with that other body style, a choice was made to go restomod on this project. Jason's friends thought he was nuttier than a can of Planter's finest, but he saw true potential in the car. Like a surgeon prepping for surgery (Jason is a metal fabricator by trade), a comprehensive list of all that was cancerous had to be compiled. The patient's symptoms included rusty front framerails, torque boxes, floor pans, left shock tower, left fender apron, front fenders, hood, rear quarter-panels, wheelhouses, trunk floor, and taillight panel-you can see why it took Jason a year to replace all that metal. CJ Pony Parts, Mustang Corral, and Mid-America Mustang provided the new body parts.

Media blasting what was left removed all traces of the original Meadowlark Yellow paint. Friends Joe Trueb and Daryl Stillman of Riverside Autobody spent the next seven months massaging the body and squirting the DuPont Mineral Gray. Jason re-upholstered the seats and laid new carpet to get the interior up to grade.

Following the restomod plan, rolling stock was upgraded to American Racing's Torq-Thrust II's, measuring 17x7 in the front and 17x8 in the rear. A call to Stainless Steel Brakes for a front disc brake conversion gave all the whoa it needed. For motivation, a 5.0 from a wrecked '90 Mustang was picked up. Using his skills acquired in the U.S. Navy's Seabees, Jason rebuilt the 302 as a carbureted version, leaving the fuel injection for a later project. A Ford Racing B303 bumpstick actuates the valves, while Comp Cams competition springs keep the valves in check. Liquefied dinosaur and K&N filtered air are sucked down through a 600-cfm Holley, where it is then directed by an Edelbrock Torker II manifold into all eight cylinders. Lighting the fire is the duty of the MSD ignition, and ceramic-coated Hedman Elite shorty's send the waste back through two-chamber Flowmasters. Power is routed via a World Class T-5 to the surprisingly stock 2.79 rearend where Fifth gear and 70 mph nets a cool 1,900 rpm.

Jason designed and fabricated his own bezel to house a Pioneer CD player and snuck in a four-speaker system to keep the tunes rolling on cruise night. Add custom features such as an electric trunk release, hidden antenna, halogen driving lights, and the package is complete.

We first met Jason at the Mustang 40th Anniversary Celebration in Nashville, where he received an Award of Excellence. The car also took First place at the Mobil One World Ford Challenge Dallas Mustang Auto Show Spectacular. The car was also featured on a local cable TV show. Jason credits his 14 years of reading Mustang & Fords for the ideas and knowledge he used during this project.

Jason, we thank you for your support; it's people like you who see something precious where others would merely shy away.