Jeff Ford
May 1, 2000
Photos By: Mark Houlahan, Tom Rounds

Convertibles are really fair-weather friends. They can be fun to drive with the top up, but wind noise, top rattles, and a lack of really good insulation in the roof make them a bit undesirable on all but those nice, sunny days. When the weather is nice, though, look out because the convertible is ready to show off its carefree spirit and sporting nature. The Mustang convertible really shines on those days. The image of a person driving with the top down, hair blowing in the breeze, and a satisfied grin on his or her face is the one that most people have burned into their brains. Most don't think about the rest. Who could? The tantalizing ability of being able to zip around in just that way is enough to make us all want to push to the front of the line for a vintage drop-top.

This brings us to Scott and Debbie Morton of Lake Stevens, Washington, and their '65 Rangoon Red drop-top. Apparently four years ago, the former owner put the car out in the driveway for sale only on sunny days-probably with the top down. To us that is good salesmanship. To Debbie's brother-in-law, it was a perfect car for his brother, Scott, and sister-in-law, Debbie. There were two major problems for the couple, however. Debbie's brother-in-law couldn't remember exactly at which house the car was located, and all during the next few days that they tried to locate the car, it rained, and therefore the convertible sat in. The Mustangers answer?

"We went knocking on doors until we found it," Debbie said.

Guess that is one way to get a dream car. What Debbie and Scott got for their troubles was a convertible that is wrapped in one of the top Mustang colors, though like most vintage Mustangs, it did require some sprucing up. Now the Mortons own a beauty that is packed with some of the more sporty options-for instance, the 289. Originally the engine was a mundane 289 2V, but the intake and carb were given the boot in favor of a 4V intake, carb, and Cobra dress-up kit. Behind the healthy V-8 is a four-speed and frugal 2.80 rear gear. Inside, things are just as sporty with the Rally-Pac, console, and red interior. Convenience has not been forgotten, either, with the power top at the ready and finger-light power steering to keep the car from becoming a handful in really tight parking spots. Finally, as if the Rangoon Red paint weren't enough, Styled Steel wheels round out the exterior and add some flash to the already flashy drop-top.

When we asked if they planned on keeping this basically rust-free beauty, the answer was affirmative. "Any cars we restore, we will keep and enjoy for many years to come," Debbie said. "Our latest find and future project is a '65 hardtop-289 with a propane setup. It was so odd, we decided to buy it!"

What is not odd is that they are driving the convertible when sunny weather permits. Who can blame them? Not us, that's for sure.