It was back in 2004 when Craig Long bought the 1967 Ford Mustang Convertible. He was looking for something that was bare bones, and this was it.
“The reason that I bought the car was that it was a V8, four-speed, ‘no power’ kind of car,’ without power steering, power brakes or air conditioning,” Long says. He also liked that it was a convertible.
He dismantled it down to the frame and, bit by bit, rebuilt the car over the next eight years. In fact, it was done just in time for him to take it to the Goodguys Rod and Custom Association event this past summer at the Iowa State Fairgrounds.
For Long, a hobby mechanic who liked working on cars as a kid, this was his first major overhaul of a car. The journey to rebuilding the Mustang was one that took the effort of not only Long but various businesses, the vast majority of them located in east Polk County, he says.
It began with Long and his son tearing apart the car.
“It was very enjoyable to do that with him,” Long says. “Once we got into it, we realized that there was a lot more metal that needed to be replaced than we realized.”
He turned to different experts to tackle specific aspects of the vehicle. They include Bill Lack with Lack’s Body and Paint Center and Steve Sullivan of SS Custom Engines, both located in Pleasant Hill, Long says. Iowa Mufflers and Brake in Des Moines worked on the custom exhaust.
They made many internal improvements as they went along, Long explains. For example, it now boasts 350 horsepower, up from 180, and has disc brakes.
With some help, Long assembled the car, doing most of the work in his garage.
“It’s, literally, a brand new car,” says Long, who has no intention of taking his car out in the wintertime and stores it at a friend’s garage in Altoona. “In its current condition, the car should last forever.”
Long and his wife, Anita, are anticipating good times ahead in their restored Mustang.
“We’re just looking forward to a lot of fun in the coming years,” he says. “It’s time to enjoy it.”