Jim Smart
March 30, 2007

Like a lot of small towns along the Rust Belt, Shreve, Ohio, had its beginnings in 1853 with the arrival of the Pennsylvania railroad. A lot of towns popped up along major railroad lines, crisscrossing the country. Some grew to be large regional communities, while others faded away with the decline of the railroad industry. Shreve remains a solid survivor.

Locals talk about a place south of Shreve known as Centerville. Centerville was a small settlement originally known as Stuckeytown, named for Stuckey Robinson. Around 1850, Stuckeytown became Centerville. The town needed a railroad stop, which-with some political maneuvering-wound up in Shreve. Had you made a whistle stop in Shreve in 1853, you wouldn't have seen much. It was a small farming community isolated from the bustle of urban life, much like it remains today.

When Allen planned Chris' SportsRoof project, his mind was more on cruising and showing than raw horsepower and torque. So he focused his energy and resources on the body, interior, brakes, and suspension. When Jamie Reynolds went to work on this 351W, he did a balance and blueprint job on the engine's crank, rods, and forged Speed-Pro pistons. The pistons were dished to keep compression modest considering supercharging and nitrous. Allen understands the respect these elements need.

The dreamy, faraway sound of the old steam whistle has been replaced with the sound of General Electric and GM diesel-electric locomotive dual air horns in harmony, soliciting a lonely drone as trains diesel away from Shreve and Centerville. The clippity-clop of horse hooves and the rickety sound of wooden wheels have been replaced with the roar and smell of internal combustion, but the charm of Shreve hasn't changed much in 153 years.

Shreve's claim to fame is "Where Good Friends Get Together," and we believe that. There's just nothing else like rural life because people are as genuine as it comes in small-town America. There are civic meetings at the high school, cruises at the Dairy Queen, parades on national holidays, church on Sunday, and other activities celebrating the wonderfulness of rural life. And when the going gets rough, rural America understands what it means to pitch in and help a friend in need.

Allen and Chris Cornelius have the good fortune of calling Shreve, Ohio, home. Call it the solidarity of rural life where everyone knows your name-and friendships are made that last a lifetime. You can bet just about everyone in Shreve knows Allen and Chris. What's more, they know Chris has always wanted a '69 Mustang SportsRoof. When she turned 16 during the mid-'80s, her first car was a '77 Mustang II. With all this in mind, Allen went to work searching for a dream Mustang for Chris. Because this is in the heart of the Rust Belt, he knew it wouldn't be easy to find a solid project platform. Virtually all candidates would need sheetmetal replacement.

One of Allen's favorite haunts is a buddy's body shop in town. One day, Allen was wandering around the shop when he discovered just what Chris wanted-a '69 Mustang SportsRoof. When he expressed interest in buying it, his friend said it was a customer's car. It turned out to be a solid California car, void of rust but in need of bodywork and paint. Allen was determined to know if the owner would be interested in selling, and he was bold enough to call the owner and ask. An unfortunate turn of events led to the sale of the Mustang. The owner lost his job and needed the money badly. So, he sold Allen the car for what he had in it-$3,200.

One man's misfortune became a labor of love for Allen. He had the car media-blasted and sold the 351 Cleveland engine in it. He needed and wanted the appropriate 351W engine. Because he wanted to have the car ready for the SEMA show in Las Vegas 10 months later, he worked 16-20 hours a day for 10 months to meet the deadline. To get the job done, he had help from his buddies Jamie Reynolds, Brent Repp, Mike Hofer, and Dave Thomas. He also had help from CJ Pony Parts, which stepped up to the plate and provided a lot of parts for this project.