You never forget your first love, especially if she’s a bright red Mustang. But sometimes you have to bend the law, get her back, and turn her out.
You are not to contact the owner of this car, said the agent from the DMV as she handed over the vehicle history complete with the current owner’s contact info. The car in question was a ’70 Mustang SportsRoof that Mark Stutzman had owned as a teenager in the late ’70s. He looked into the agent’s eyes and agreed wholeheartedly not to do so, then rushed home to read the report of his long-lost baby.
You see, Mark is currently the owner of the highly modified ’70 Mustang you see before you. He found the car after many years and took it to Mustang guru Sean Blea. He and his crew at Mustang Concepts in Frederick, Colorado, have managed to take most everything from an ’03-’04 Cobra and fit it into the vintage package. But the road from six-cylinders to supercharged eight is not one that happened overnight, so let’s start at the beginning.
In the summer of 1979, Mark Stutzman’s life changed dramatically. That was not only when he met his first girlfriend, but also when he fell in love with a Mustang in her neighbor’s driveway.
I inquired about the car because I was instantly drawn to its red color, body lines, and overall cool’ factor, said Mark. Sadly, the car wasn’t for sale at the time. Which was probably a good thing as I didn’t have any money!
The neighbor did have another Mustang, a ’65 convertible that Mark’s dad liked and eventually owned.
I was completely infatuated with the curves of that fastback, said Mark. So I started looking for one for sale, but there just weren’t any as nice as the one next to my girlfriend’s house, so I patiently waited. Eventually, his patience paid off. The owner was in the military and had to relocate, and he put the car up for sale. Mark and his dad worked out a deal and the next thing you know, the SportsRoof found its way to Mark’s carport.
At the time, the car had the L-code 250ci six-cylinder, which had ample torque, but not the license-suspending power of a 351. However, the reliable motor allowed for Mark to drive it daily for many years after that.
That ’70 Mustang remained a faithful friend and took me many places like school, the drive-in, prom, dates, the mountains, and road trips to California, said Mark. It also took me to college in Boulder, Colorado, where I met my wife.
Mark also mentioned that he had a pretty bad crash in 1983 and the car basically saved his life, nestling him in her steel cocoon. After the crash, he convinced the insurance company not to write it off and recondition it instead. However, this was not when the major overhaul/restomod took place. He drove it until 1988, when he grew tired of it and decided it would be cool to have a Mustang convertible instead.
Years went by and my wife and I got into family mode, said Mark. I lamented selling my fastback and began to wonder what fate had done to my old faithful friend.
Mark searched near and far for his old flame. One day, after a thorough scouring of eBay and Autotrader, Mark came across a car that seemed similar to his. As it was snowing that weekend, he opted to wait a week to look at it.
As it turned out that was a poor decision, as the car was sold to someone else before I could see it, said Mark. Devastated, Mark soldiered on in his quest to find the one that got away. In fact, he basically turned into a detective of sorts.
Detective Stutzman recounts: I called my former insurance agency and asked if it might have a file on my car, he said. The agency ended up finding a document in its basement with an accident report from 1983!
Mark sang his thanks and praises for Deann, the young woman working at the insurance company. Thank you, Deann. You changed my life, he saidas if she was Tony Robbins or some other motivational speaker.
Newly armed with the VIN, Mark hopped on his Harley and took a ride to the DMV where he joined a very long line. From our experience, most state laws prevent the revealing of a motor vehicle owner’s contact information. But Mark somehow convinced the DMV agent to let him have the information. Mark promised the lady at the DMV he wouldn’t contact the owner. And he didn’t. He had his wife do it!