Some people don’t believe in love at first sight, but after one fateful day in the mid-1980s, Jim Barker was a believer.
Barker was visiting his daughter and son-in-law. He stood under the clear blue country sky and let his casual gaze wander out over the Iowa cornfields. As Barker’s eye caught sight of the shapely figure and lovely form that was out in the corn that day, he couldn’t stop his heart from pounding.
Many people have experienced this feeling, but most folks haven’t gone this completely crazy over an old, abandoned 1977 Cobra Mustang. He had to have it.
Barker bought the run-down car from his son-in-law and began work on a restoration project.
“I thought this would be a challenge,” Barker says.
Barker overhauled the engine, the interior and the exterior. He changed the paint job from white with red stripes, to red with white stripes.
“I bought the biggest cam I could put in it to make it really rumble,” he says.
The noise from the engine draws attention to Barker’s car, and he says every time he takes it out someone gives him a thumbs up.
Passersby aren’t the only ones who admire Barker’s car; he says he has a cabinet full of awards.
“It was voted the car most likely to be pulled over by the cops. In fourth gear, it’s just like a bullet.” Barker offers to prove it.
As he pulls the Mustang into the street and revs the engine for effect, he looks over and flashes a devilish smile. It’s the type of smile that says, “Buckle up.” It’s the type of smile that makes your stomach drop and your adrenaline pump.
Barker puts the car in gear, and the engine growls a throaty roar. It feels as if the car might actually jump off the blistering hot pavement like a soft-footed cat.
His senses heighten as he comes to full alert. He works the controls with the deft skill of a seasoned lover. He uses one hand to guide the black steering wheel. He uses the other to operate the manual transmission. His feet expertly push the foot pedals.
As the engine opens up, so does Barker’s involuntary smile. He’s alive and at one with the world when he’s with his expertly restored 1977 red Cobra Mustang.
Contact Darren at 953-4822 ext. 304 or Darren@dmcityview.com to recommend someone for an upcoming issue of “What’s In Your Garage?”