Jim Smart
June 1, 2008

Mike Roate will never forget 1984, the year he bought his Medium Canyon Red Glow GT convertible. After years of dishwater-dull Mustang performance, the '84 GT was a refreshing step in the right direction as Mike drove off North Central Ford's lot in Dallas. The top went down. It had the throaty bark of a V-8 engine and handled like it was on rails. Mike had a ball with his convertible for 11 years but sold it in 1995 to get his wife started in college. He wasn't thinking about his '84 becoming a classic one day. After selling it, however, he couldn't stop thinking about his old Mustang convertible.

Nine years later, in 2004, Mike set out to find his '84 GT convertible. He attended the Mustang Club of America's Grand National to search for the car, with no luck. One day, while sifting through papers, Mike unearthed the bill of sale from 1995 with the buyer's name and contact information. On a lark, he called to see if the buyer still had the car. "Yeah, you want it back?" was the reply.

Turns out, the GT had been driven just 3,000 miles, then put in storage in 1996. Mike wrote a check and drove his Mustang home for the second time.

Eight years of storage resulted in deterioration, so the car needed work. Gaskets and seals had hardened and the tires were dry-rotted. Mike's efforts would follow a long road back to glory. First, there was tornado damage, which reminded Mike of the time he took the car to his Ford dealer for troubleshooting in 1986. The mechanic smacked a pole while horsing around with the car. To add insult to injury, the dealer did a terrible job of repairing the damage.

Since buying back his Mustang, Mike has performed a restoration in segments. First, he wanted it aesthetically pleasing; he accomplished that goal. Then it needed to be mechanically sound and look good when the hood was open. He met that goal, too. The greatest challenge for Mike was parts. He had to rely on new-old-stock and what few reproduction items were available.

Like those with a passion for '65-'73 Mustangs, there are also people like Mike who remember a newer generation of Mustangs. The Mustang convertible had been in hiatus since 1973, returning in 1983. As much as we take the Mustang convertible for granted today, it was unique and exciting when it returned to Ford showrooms in the early '80s.