After my wife, Kim, and I finally sold our beloved 1966 Mustang convertible a little more than a year ago, we thought that was that. I mean, the car had been a good friend. We'd had it 19 years and we slowly brought it back to near factory specifications — we rebuilt the eight cylinder 289 engine, rebuilt the transmission, put on a new ragtop, rechromed the bumpers, and basically gave it a complete frame-up restoration and high quality paint job.
It was a beautiful car. So beautiful, in fact, that we were reluctant to put it on the road for fear of getting it damaged.
Consequently, it was doing no good sitting undriven in storage. So, as we entered our silver years, we made the difficult decision to downsize and sell it. We shipped it to Streetside Classic in Charlotte, an auto consignment operation who finally sold it to a buyer in ... Maidstone, Kent, England. (Please see here).
|Our old 1966 Mustang, in Newcastle, with its UK license plate. Sigh.|
And we really thought that was the end of the story.
Until Friday morning, when I woke up and checked my emails. There was a message from a fellow named Phil, who said he'd just purchased my old Mustang from a guy in Kent and was about to drive it 340 miles north, about the length of England, to Newcastle Upon Tyne.
Usually, I'm a little bit leery about unexpected emails. Most of the ones I get are unsolicited and they tell me they are from some financially strapped royalty languishing in some third-world nation and I can have a percentage of their embargoed treasure if I give them my checking account number.
But as Phil explained to me in his email, he purchased the car when it was put up for sale because the guy in Maidstone had hip problems and couldn't drive it.
And Phil, as it turns out, owns a business called Northumbria Classic Car Hire (see here, click on "Our Cars" and then click on "1966 Ford Mustang Convertible"). He bought the Mustang (I still have to fight the urge to call it "our" Mustang) to add to his collection of 10 or so European classics that he hires out for special occasions, like weddings, parades, etc).
The Mustang now shares garage time with Jaguar E-Types, an Austin Healy, MGB's and who knows what else.
Somebody over there has already written a blog about the car, complete with pictures (Please select "July 9" here).
I even checked out Phil on Facebook, found him, wrote him a message and put in a friend request, which he accepted. Phil is now my first overseas friend. He's already trying to lure me to England by allowing me a free day of driving in my old Mustang (Well, I did drive it for 19 years. If we go, I might ask to motor a right-handed drive Jaguar XKE instead).
My only concern in all of this is that Newcastle Upon Tyne (which is close to the border with Scotland and boasts of nearby Hadrian's Wall) is a seacoast town heavy with salt air. Mustangs were notorious for rusting (Rustangs), but I suspect Phil knows this and the car no doubt rests in climate controlled comfort.
All in all, I feel really good about all of this. The car has found an incredible new life in its iconic status, still drawing admiring glances when it hits the road, and I know it will be treated with care. It makes me smile and a little bit proud.
Kim and I celebrated its latest resurrection with a six-pack of Newcastle Brown Ale, which I'd never had before. To me, it's kind of like a little brother to Guinness. I liked it.
So cheers. Here's to the unexpected.