Rod Short
November 1, 2002

When Secretariat retired after winning the Triple Crown, he became the standard by which every future racehorse would be judged. No matter what came before or after him-whether it was Man o' War, Citation, Affirmed, or Aysheb-all the talk was about how these horses measured up against this remarkable thoroughbred. The same might also be said for Tom Mynes' exceptional J-code '68 GT, as this car could very well be the first retired contestant from MCA's elite Thoroughbred class.

"I guess I've been a Ford man since I was a teenager," Tom said when asked about his attraction to the breed. "When I got out of go-carting, I went to at least a half-dozen national shows to look at the cars, talk to the people, and see what the whole format was so I could decide what I wanted to do. I'd always had a thing for '67 and '68 models, but if you want to go to a high level, then you need a good car to start off with. So I looked for about six months before I found one that I liked, and it just went on from there."

Tom's find was an all-original '68 GT fastback painted in Highland Green metallic with an Ivy Gold deluxe interior. With just minor trim changes from the previous year, in 1968 these cars outsold the Camaro by almost 82,000 vehicles-with a total production of 317,148 despite a 60-day UAW strike that adversely affected production. Equipped with an Interior Decor group, a Convenience group, a Select-Aire A/C, tinted glass, power steering, a center console with push-button AM radio, and a three-speed Cruise-O-Matic, the car was well-equipped for its time. The GT equipment group included ornamental goodies, a low-restriction dual exhaust, a heavy-duty suspension, 4-inch-diameter foglamps, special steel wheels, and F70x14 Wide Oval whitewall tires. Power for Tom's J-code Mustang came from the new-for-1968 302-4V rated at 230 bhp at 4,800 rpm, which was introduced midway through the model year.

Following a three-year stay at Eddie's Restorations in Morris Plains, New Jersey, Tom debuted the car at the 1994 AACA Eastern Fall Meet, with a First-Place award that was followed by numerous awards in MCA's Concours Trailered class. Two years later, Tom took a suggestion and entered MCA's elite Thoroughbred class, where he has consistently won Gold awards.

"The requirements for the Thoroughbred class is for the car to be like it was when it came off the assembly line," Tom said. "All the parts have to be N.O.S. and date-coded prior to when the car was made. The judges look at each individual part and then decide if they're right or wrong for that car. They're very qualified people with a lot of years' experience, so they know what and where to look for certain things.

"Usually, the others in my class are just shown once or twice, and then you never see them again, whereas I've been showing my car four to five times a year for three years now. The reason I showed the car is for other people with '67-'68 models so they can see what they have to do to their car. Overall, I think the cars in this year range have come a long way, not only because there are more cars in the class, but because there are better cars too."

Since retiring the car from competition following the MCA Southern Nationals at Augusta, Georgia, in 1999, Tom has shifted his attention to a '68 Shelby GT500KR that he plans to debut soon. The '68 GT fastback will get a well-deserved retirement, with an occasional appearance maybe once a year or so.

Even so, this carefully researched and restored masterpiece has a pedigree that will be well remembered.