Miles Cook
February 1, 2004

Classic Mustangs still in the hands of their original owners seem scarce these days. But Clarence and Kathy Baker of Tigard, Oregon, acquired this '73 big-body coupe brand-spankin' new in May 1973. Here we are, more than 30 years later, and Clarence says, "I still love the way it looks and drives. I like it when people give me the thumbs-up and say, 'Great car' or 'Do you want to sell it?' I tell them, 'Thanks, but no thanks.' I'd never sell this gem of a Mustang-it's like an old friend. I also enjoy being able to show people a little slice of Mustang history and give something back by seeing them become enthusiasts, too."

That's the story of Clarence and Kathy's ownership experience. Here's the scoop on the car that has seen 160,000 miles of road roll under its wheels since 1973. Originally motivated by a 302 two-barrel, Clarence had the engine rebuilt in 1990 and, just last year, decided to up the fun factor a bit. That entailed adding a set of TFS Twisted Wedge aluminum heads, a Crane cam and roller rockers, an Edelbrock Performer intake, and an Edelbrock 600-cfm four-barrel carb. The freshened C4 automatic trans and 2.79:1-geared 9-inch axle still reside in the car.

Clarence didn't ignore other areas, either. The front and rear suspension were rebuilt, using KYB shocks and a 1-inch antisway bar up front. A 31/44-inch bar is mounted in back. Clarence updated the original steel wheels, (now in storage) with 15x7-inch Magnum 500 wheels and Goodyear Eagle GT+4 tires in a 215/65R15 size at all corners. A set of front disc brakes will be added later this year.

After a mishap on a lacquer repaint (a piece of 2-foot chain fell out of a tree at a local show), the car was repainted in 1997 with a basecoat/clearcoat, keeping the original Metallic Blue Glow as the color of choice. The scooped hood and honeycomb grille are the only other outside updates.

Inside, the interior still has its factory tach and gauges, which are not seen too often on big-body cars.

Getting back to the experience of owning this piece of '70s Mustang nostalgia, Clarence commented, "I actually used the car as a daily driver until the summer of 1990. After nearly 20 years of driving to and from work, it was looking fairly ragged. It had 137,000 miles on it and we were pretty much set on getting a new Mustang. But a friend of ours came over with a copy of Mustang Monthly and, after looking through it, I realized I could get lots of parts and restore the car. Kathy and I decided to go ahead and tackle the project. With help from friends Marc Nitsos and Tony Nelson, we went through the whole project and had it fixed up pretty nicely in about six months. Now, more than 12 years later and after more restoration work, the car is better than ever. I'm glad I never traded it in on a new one."