An American Legend in Europe, 1968 Mustang GT
Jegers Dirk and his restored 1968 Mustang GT in Belgium
The Mustang is truly a worldwide phenomenon, as we constantly get emails about cool Mustangs not on our continent. For some reason, Belgium seems to be a real hotbed of Mustang passion—see our story on Adelbert Engler and his 5,000 “Mustangs” (http://www.mustangandfords.com/features/1712-the-man-with-5500-mustangs/)—and that was proven again when ‘s Jegers Dirk (we know, odd spelling but, ya know, Belgium—we’ll just call him Dirk) about his 1968 Mustang GT that we first heard about from Tony McEwen at TexasMustang.com. Dirk is the PR Manager for the Belgian Mustang & Cougar Club and his Mustang story started about 20 years ago when he discovered the Mustang and had the desire to build one. He found a ’68 GT at Movie Cars in the Netherlands that had matching-number transmission and rearend, but a non-original engine. The VIN showed it was a J-code car, and overall was fairly rough but all there and rust-free. The previous owner had been in California, the land of (mostly) rust-free sheetmetal. In fact, on one of his visits to America, Dirk went to the previous owner’s house in California and reported, “The only silent witnesses were the oil spills on the driveway, which were most likely from our Mustang. According to the current residents, the previous owner had died a few years ago, probably the owner of our Mustang.”
It was clear that the car needed a good restoration, but Dirk drove it around Belgium for a good 18 months just like it was to figure out what should be done to the car, and that prompted a complete restoration to as original as possible with, as Dirk said, “no modern gizmos, just old school as he came off the assembly line at the San Jose plant in February 1968.”
As the years went by, he collected parts and slowly began tearing the car apart and restoring it, renewing all the hardware he could get, much of which came from AMK and National Parts Depot (NPD). While stripping the pain by hand, he discovered a C-stripe and two-tone hood. Once the car was stripped to a bare shell and coated with epoxy, they sprayed original I-code Lime Gold (in lacquer! Must be nice to live in Belgium!). The glass is all original, including the vent windows after “intense polishing.” All of the exterior chrome pieces are original as well (after re-chroming). Texas Mustang Parts supplied new parts for the suspension and brakes, and the interior parts came from TMP and Distinctive Industries.
The small-block J-code 302 4-V was rebuilt by Gunter Specialties LLC in Valley Mills, TX with as many correct parts as possible, including a cast-iron intake and the original 4-V heads with Autolite carburetor. It was dyno tested at Eaton Balancing in Lorena, TX and made 230 horsepower, “just the way I wanted it to be,” according to Dirk. The rest of the car received similar tender loving care.
Dirk said, “Our Mustang has become a part of our family, perhaps in the same way as in his previous life in the States. M dear wife Gerd was always there for me with good advice and care, and she has helped me very well with research and purchases on Ebay. Good friends of mine always liked to [tease] me a little bit by saying, ‘Are we going to experience in our lives when this Mustang is finished?’ They seemed to be struck by lightning when they saw the car for the first time! We are very proud that we have saved this car and have restored it back to its original state. Now it’s time to take care of it, drive, and enjoy the Mustang. There have been so many people over the years who have assisted me with help and advice, so many thanks to everyone who helped me on this project, an American legend in Europe.“
Built with special thanks to: Gary Pate, Robert Lane, Lisa Kotlovsky, Heather Griffith, David G Cruz, Art Mann, Vicky Thurman, Mohomad Obaidy, Bob Perkins, Tony McEwen, Francky Nuyts, Howard Hill, Mark Hiatt, Geoff Abel, Emiel de Weerdt, Peter Crauwels.
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Photography by Dirk‘s Jegers