Jim Smart
November 29, 2006

There has been a lot of talk from career politicians about family values. True family values don't come from an overindulged American politician making empty promises from behind a podium. They come from actually walking the walk of family life-caring for each other, doing things together, sharing passions, holding hands in prayer-and most importantly, being the best kind of support system there is.

When we arrived at the Bryner home in Sandy, Utah, an exceptionally large family greeted us-created by Jay and Jan Bryner in their three decades together. What makes this unusual is their status as baby boomers. Baby boomers traditionally haven't created large families, but the Bryners have. They raised well-grounded children and grandchildren.

The Bryners have a large family of classic Fords as well-a '69 Shelby GT500, a '70 GT500, a '70 Boss 302, a '70 Boss 429, a '69 Cobra Jet Mach 1, a '57 F-code factory supercharged Thunderbird, a '56 Ford F-100, a '99 Mustang Cobra, an '01 F-150 Lightning, a '74 Bronco, and this extraordinary '69 Mustang restomod. This isn't just a retirement plan-it's a well-thought-out agenda that would make even the most dreamy-eyed rock and roller jealous because baby boomers aren't your traditional retirees. Toss the rocking chair and shuffleboard equipment on the woodpile because we're going to party until we're 99.

The Bryners don't do much of anything like their contemporaries either.

  • Big family
  • Extraordinary car collection
  • An ironclad commitment to each other
  • Strong work ethic
  • Instilling solid values and morals in their children
  • And a '69 Mustang hardtop that changes all the rules about what we think of classic Mustang notchbacks.

When enthusiasts think of dream cars, they picture Bosses, Mach 1s, Shelbys, Cobras, and GTs. They don't think of a generation of hardtops originally purchased by teachers, librarians, and accountants. At a previous Restomods In Reno, we were prompted to stop at Jay Bryner's '69 Mustang hardtop and shake his hand. It was the most striking third-generation Mustang hardtop we had seen in more than two decades of automotive journalism. It demonstrated what you could do with a Mustang body given talent, vision, and buckets of inspiration.

Jay bought this Mustang from his brother as cheap transportation in 1973. He drove the car to high school and to work at his part-time job. As you might imagine, Jay and Jan were high-school sweethearts who survived the '70s. A year after Jay started college, he parked this Mustang in a barn on the family farm for two years and went to serve his mission with the Mormon church. After returning home, he hauled the Mustang out and got it back on the road. It served him and Jan through college, their courtship and engagement, the wedding, one heck of a reception, the honeymoon, and more.

In 1979, the Bryners decided to put their Mustang into dry dock while they raised children and built lives together. They never thought much about what they would do with the Mustang later on. It wasn't a lifelong dream, but they knew they would never sell it because it is where they began their life together. In 2002, Jay and his sons decided to blow off the dust and apply what they knew about cars to a full-scale car-building project. They wanted to build a Mustang like no one else had. The objective was street-rod nuances applied to a classic Mustang-slamming it down low, large wheels, custom interior, awesome sound system, billet accessories, air-grabbing scoops, and the thundering roar of an American V-8. Getting there would not be easy. There would be blisters from working around the clock and tremendous pride in a job well done. And there would be questions:

  • How radical should we build the engine?
  • How "out there" should we take the interior?
  • What's the largest wheel you can stuff in these wheelwells?
  • Do we stick with the Mustang's factory suspension?
  • What's the number for House of Kolor?
  • What brakes do you think we should use?
  • Who's a good metal polisher and plater?

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