Inside the Mind and Collection of Jacky Jones
Someone you should know about
In the Ford and Mustang world, there are several people responsible for where we are today in the hobby. One of the most significant, though reclusive, of those people is Jacky Jones. Jacky prefers to blend in with the good ol’ boys, having fun at the Carlisle Ford Nationals or a local show, often buying and selling old Mustangs and parts. This is his recreation; selling new Fords at one of his Ford car dealerships is his work. Reticent to publicity, Jones agreed to let us into his collection in Hayesville, Georgia, and talk about his cars and history acquiring those cars.
“I’ve got every Hi-Po car from 1965 to 1973, from 289 Hi-Pos to 428 Cobra Jets, 390s, Boss 302s, Boss 351s, just all the muscle car stuff,” Jacky says. In 1959, Jacky was nine years old when his father bought a Ford dealership in the town where Jacky lives today—Hayesville, a picturesque rural country setting, population 311. Hayesville is in the mountains of northern Georgia, about 100 miles from Gatlinburg, Tennessee. He graduated high school in 1968, was drafted into the Army the following year, and upon his return two years later bought a brand-new 1971 Boss 351. He drove a 1966 Mustang to high school and right after that a brand-new ’69 Mach 1, and he has been a car person and a Ford collector his entire life.
In November of 1980, Jacky got his first Ford dealership, the one his father opened in 1959. It is still going strong, and his daughter runs that store while Jacky drives 40 miles south from Hayesville every day, down winding mountain roads to Cleveland, Georgia, to another one of his Jacky Jones Ford dealerships.
His collection is housed in a dedicated building in Hayesville, Georgia. Most of the cars are classic Mustangs, but Jacky likes everything Ford, and he also collects big Fords—427 Galaxies, midsize Fairlanes, 352-powered Starliners, even 1940 Fords—and we haven’t mentioned memorabilia, which he has been accumulating since he got out of the service in 1971. Jones got his start early, which explains why his collection is so large, and he loves Ford history, which explains why his collection is so important.
We’ve known Jacky since 1986. He’s a good friend of Bob Perkins, who we’ve known since 1981. Bob’s shop is far north in Wisconsin, so Jones and Perkins’ association became the “North/South” connection to a select number of Mustang owners, many of them in the MCA. To a large extent, these two men helped grow the Mustang hobby by defining which cars to pay out significant money for, restore, and preserve.
For example, in the early 1980s Jones bought the Ford Drag Team Pro Stock 427 SOHC Mustang “match racer,” campaigned for Ford by Hubert Platt. Jacky sold this car to Bob Perkins as a favor for Bob getting him the Ford Drag Team Super Stock car. The Pro Stock Mustang was a little less understood, due to its fiberglass components and SOHC 427, than the Super Stocker with its 428 CJ; plus, the Pro Stock Mustang needed much more restoration work. Jones and Perkins understood the importance of both cars to the future of the Mustang hobby. What if somebody had bought either of these old race cars to tear up and build as a weekend warrior? That would have scattered their remains even farther. Effectively, Jones summoned Perkins to the rescue since this car needed a restorer, which Perkins is and Jones isn’t.
Perkins bought the Pro Stocker and parked the historic factory drag team car in the back of his shop for decades as he gathered parts and prepared for a restoration, which he completed a few years ago. This would have never happened without Jacky Jones. Perkins recalls Jacky “buying that first Boss 429, going to the bank, and borrowing the money when everybody thought he was crazy.” But that Boss 429 had only 2,900 miles and was an incredible original—Jacky had the foresight to purchase the car and put it away.
When Jacky speaks about classic Mustangs, the name Perkins is spread throughout the conversation, as in, “Perkins did the restoration,” or “Bob found that car for me.” Of course, Perkins talks about Jacky finding cars for him. As the years passed, Jacky grew his Ford new-car business, which to those of us familiar with him looked like a way to do something that we all wanted to do that was much more important—preserve and protect the great Mustangs of the 1965-1973 first generation. Jacky developed a grassroots following, which Perkins refers to as “a chain of Ford people with similar interests.”
Jacky’s reputation spread across the country among a select, in-the-know group of classic Mustang enthusiasts. People could trade in an old Mustang at Jacky Jones Ford. A new Ford pickup with the Jacky Jones dealer badge pulling a trailer loaded with a classic fit into this ideology, as did the “Call Jacky Jones” mantra when certain high-performance Mustangs came up for sale. People thought, Hmm, this guy is a Ford dealer, but he likes old cars, pretty unusual for sure. He collects old Mustangs. He has the resources to buy and hold.
And more often than not, if a car was significant, Jones would buy it and deposit in his collection. Jones makes no bones about buying and selling cars to get where he is today. He’s always upgrading his collection, but overall he’s kept the best of the best. “He’s bought and sold more Boss 429s than any five individuals,” Perkins says. All along, Jacky has had that trump card, the Northern connection to Bob Perkins, his go-to guy for parts and restoration. Perkins Restorations, full-up with work, would accommodate his Southern connection.
During our visit in May, Jacky was planning his trip to the Carlisle Ford Nationals. He said, “I think I’ve missed one since 1995, when they started having it. I go to Mid America in Oklahoma. I’ve been to some of the Shelby conventions and the Mustang club (MCA) shows.” In other words, like the rest of us, the old-car hobby is his recreation for off-work time.
As we walked past row after row of cars in Jacky’s building, which is divided into three large rooms, he said, “Original, non-restored, low-mile cars is what I really like.” We would like to add “high performance” and “significant” to that collecting philosophy. Most of the Mustangs are top muscle cars. One of those is the 2,900-mile 1969 Boss 429.
Bob Perkins summed up Jacky’s collection by saying, “If you had an unlimited budget and tried to duplicate Jacky Jones’ Ford collection of cars and memorabilia, there is only one way you could get one as good as his, and that would be to buy his, because otherwise you started too late. You could never accumulate that kind of stuff ever again.”