July 1, 2002

More times than not, people buy a Mustang thinking it will be their only baby. They restore that car, take it to a couple of shows, win a few trophies, and sit back and think, "Wow, this is really fun!" Those same people walk around these shows and see other cars, body styles, and years they like, and then happen upon a great deal that can't be passed up. Pretty soon, Mustangs and Mustang parts surround them-Mustang heaven, I like to call it.

You end up loving these cars so much it's hard to separate yourself from even one of them. God forbid your 17-year-old wants to borrow your concours '65 fastback while on a date. That same child watches his parents and sees how much joy their Mustang brings them. Pretty soon he's out in the garage with the parents doing the monthly cleanup. Now he's hooked and you buy him a Mustang of his own to restore. The circle of Mustang life starts all over again.

Jeff Pace of Piedmont, South Carolina, started out with a '68 hardtop when he was 14 years old. His father purchased the car for him to get back and forth to school. They restored the Ford together, top to bottom. "This will keep you out of trouble," his father told him. It did, kind of.

Jeff now owns six Mustangs including this '88 Sand Beige hatchback, which a friend found for him in the newspaper. Jeff and his friend went to take a look and could not understand why a Mustang made with this color had so few options. "All the right tags, interior is correct, all the paperwork is here." Originally, the car was purchased from the dealer as a special order. Jeff bought the Sand Beige LX 5.0 with its automatic overdrive tranny.

Already having a restoration project in his garage, Jeff thought this car would make a great commuter for him and his wife. All it needed was a good cleanup. He started with the paint, fixing a few rock chips, and finishing off with a good waxing. "Not too flashy to get pulled off by the highway patrol, but you know it's a Mustang," he said. Next, he moved on to the undercarriage-the exhaust had some pinhole leaks. Flowmaster mufflers, a little more detailing, and some '91 five-spoke wheels got the Ford ready for the open road.

Although the Sand Beige beauty was originally meant to be a daily driver, Jeff liked the car so much he just kept cleaning. The Mustang was in original condition in no time and Jeff took it to a few shows. He's since driven away with at least five trophies and a Mark of Excellence at the 25th Anniversary MCA Show in Commerce, Georgia.

One-of-a-kind ponies like this don't come along every day. Even with so few options-such as power windows and door locks, AM/FM stereo system, and air conditioning-this car keeps a person comfortable on long trips. The original owner used it to commute to school, and the healthy 5.0 V-8 was there just in case she woke up late and needed to get to class in a hurry. In any case, we believe it really sets the pace with Jeff and his five other Mustangs.