Jim Smart
February 1, 2003
Photos By: Jeff Ford

Original owner. Two words that carry a lot of clout in classic Mustang circles. Being an original owner means you lived and experienced the original Mustang mania that stood America on its ear in the '60s. It means that long ago you experienced the Ford showroom, the option sheet, that euphoric rush of the swiftly fading new-car smell, the feel of a brand-new Mustang, and membership in the original-ownership fraternity. Priceless.

Brian and Daphne Young hale from the great state of Washington, just south of Seattle in Tacoma. These folks are the original owners of this Grabber Blue '70 Mustang SportsRoof. When they signed the papers over three decades ago, Brian was 20 and Daphne was 19-mere babies just starting out in life as young adults. Then they had babies of their own-two sons-who are now 28 and 31. Neither son has ever driven this Mustang. Daphne jokingly says, "That's probably why we still have the car today."

If you have ever experienced the Pacific Northwest, you know this area was made for Mustangs. Despite its reputation for rainy weather, the great Northwest has plenty of sunny days throughout the summer months, when the rich, evergreen foliage captivates the imagination. Sikkens Grabber Blue, applied by Doyles Mustang Empire, captures our imagination. We like it. Inside, the car has white vinyl with white ruffino vinyl to keep the ride cool on a hot day. A pod-style dashboard with standard instrumentation takes us back to the turn of the '70s when this styling cue was state-of-the-art. Did you know the '69-'70 Mustangs were the first Fords with modular dashboards and instrumentation? These handsome instrument panels were assembled away from the body and installed on the trim and chassis line along with the rest of the interior. This was a first for Ford.

What makes this Mustang a fine ride is its super-simple V-8 powerplant-the 302. First introduced during the '68 model year, the 302 has a 0.16-inch longer stroke than the 289 it replaced, offering buyers a pinch more torque and horsepower. With Autolite 2100 two-barrel carburetion beneath the air cleaner, the 302 offers plenty of snap for the freeway or country road. This 302 is something personal for the Youngs. Daphne's father, Edwin Smith, disassembled and rebuilt the engine with a 0.030-inch overbore to achieve nearly 310 ci. Slip the C4 Select-Shift into drive, touch the accelerator pedal, and feel the crisp torque of a vintage Ford small-block. With 2.79:1 conventional gears, highway cruising revs hold steady around 2,500 rpm at 65 mph. Good for fuel economy. Just bitchin' for the open road. Again, we like it.

Goodyear Regata white-sidewall radials improve the driving experience because they outhandle the original bias-belted tires this Mustang had from the Dearborn assembly plant some 32 years ago. Full wheel covers dress the rolling stock nicely.

What we have here is a nicely restored weekend show car and driver. It isn't shown in concours-judged events, and that's the way the Youngs like it. No pressure.No stress. Just good, clean fun in a Grabber Blue Mustang SportsRoof.