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August 2011 COTM! 2nd Owner 73 Wimbledon White Mustang Convertible
Car of the Month Submission!

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While shopping for a new Mustang in 1973 at the local Ford Dealership in Northern Virginia, Dick Herriman Ford, the salesman informed my girlfriend a special order convertible was due in that the original purchaser had backed out on the deal. We first saw the car when it was still sitting on the transport tractor-trailer. The convertible top was wrapped in brown paper, no hubcaps, etc. The next day, after the dealer prepped the vehicle, we saw a beautiful White 73 Mustang Convertible. My girlfriend was actually looking for a Grandé Model, but I talked her into buying the convertible. She loved it. She was only 19 and this was her third Mustang. She had previously owned a yellow 65 Mustang, a 70 Fastback with a 351 Cleveland and a 4 speed Hurst shifter. Now she had a brand new 73 Convertible. The next year the Mustang II's were introduced and she had to have one, a bronze hatchback. The dealer did not offer much of a trade-in for the 73 so I bought it from her. It has been mine ever since February 1974.

The 73 Convertible came equipped with the following standard equipment and options:

- Decor Option - Honeycomb Grill, Black Paint and Aluminum Strips on lower body panels, and special hubcaps and trim rings (she wanted the special hubcaps that are now on the car, but they would have been a dealer added cost change)
- Spoty (Racing) Mirrors (option)
- Full-length console with clock (option)
- Automatic transmission (option)
- Power Steering
- Pony Floor Mats
- Power Disc Brakes (standard on the convertible)
- AM/FM radio (AM was standard and you could also get an AM with 8 track) (option)
- The interior was the deluxe style with the comfort weave material used in convertibles

- The convertible also came standard with the Firestone E70/14 size white sidewall tires.

I still have mixed emotions about the engine. This has the standard 250 CI straight 6-cylinder engine. It is very simple and easy to work on, but there has always been the desire for the 351. Since this car is absolutely 99.9% factory original we will live with the 6-cylinder for now.

The car has always been a head turner with the decor option. There were not many of these produced originally, but you see a lot of 73 Converts that it is obvious the honeycomb grill and lower paint has been added (the cars with the original decor option were not produced with the wheel well trim moldings and have the side molding above the lower paint treatment, a great indicator the cars were not originally equipped this way).

I have lots of the original literature that came with the car, except for the window sticker and the sales receipt. The following is a list of the documentation I have.

- Original Broadcast Sheets (build sheet), actually I found two copies in 1975 when I removed the seats and carpet to rust proof the floors. The sheets contain the VIN number and build codes.
- An individualized document that came with the owner’s manual with my VIN number on it that gives passing times (low and high speed) braking distances for my Mustang with the 6 cyl engine.
- A 4 page color brochure shaped like an Motorcraft oil can that gives oil recommendations
- Original sales brochure used when purchasing the car new. It has hand written notes on it regarding prices of options.
- Full set of Ford Factory manuals for all 1973 Fords, including large fold up wiring diagrams
- Various other literature that came with the car
- The service work orders for work done under the warranty the first year

In addition to the original paper work I have saved virtually all of the annual vehicle registration cards, the annual state inspection receipts showing the mileage each year, and I kept a trip diary notebook showing each gas fill-up with mileage, gas price, and location.

Back in 1994 when my kids were 2 & 4 years old I stored the Mustang in my parent's barn because the original Wimbledon White paint was very thin and some surface rust was appearing on top of the hood and front fenders. I did not have the money for a good paint job at the time, I wanted to do it right when I did it, and so it sat in the barn until 2005. Except in 1997 I did put it back on the road briefly, but back to the barn it went.

In 2005 my son and stepson were fast approaching driving age and they took an interest in the car. So with their help out of my parent’s barn it came. After some basic maintenance such as oil change, removal of plugs and spraying in WD-40, new plugs, points, fresh gas, etc, it started right up. Although running a little rough, we put the top down and drove it about 4 miles back to my house and into the garage it went.

I am posting some "Before" pictures I took on March 12th 2005 when we pulled it out of the barn. If you look closely you’ll see the two boys behind the dirty windshield. The car was still dirty in the pictures from the barn dust and bird droppings. The body is virtually rust free. No rust through holes anywhere. There is some rust around the taillights. I never liked the quality of the original paint job. The paint was on the thin side the day my high school girlfriend drove her brand new Mustang off the dealership lot. Ford quality was not No. 1 in 1973. The rust free condition can be attributed to the Ziebart rust proofing I had done in 1975. This is the process where they drill access holes throughout the body and use special nozzles to spray rust proofing into all the nooks, crannies, and hidden locations. They also sprayed over the factory undercoating and under the hood. The Ziebart was well worth the $89.00 investment made in 1975!

With the help of the boys, we gradually went through all the mechanics of the car, such as replacing the fuel tank, rebuilt the carburetor, removed and flushed the radiator, new water pump, removed and flushed the power steering fluid, flushed and installed new transmission filter, checked out the brakes, etc. After making the car road worthy we scrubbed and polished the paint to make the appearance a little better.

While considering getting an economy paint job from Macco or Earl Sheib, I decided I wanted to wait and do it right. But after getting several estimates from $8 to $12K for a quality job down to metal it was not in the budget with four kids, only 1-year apart in age, and fast approaching college age. But as luck would have it my local Mustang Club had an open house sponsored by a local body shop that was giving away a paint job worth $2,500 to one of the members of the club. There were about 80 participants at the open house so the odds were good, but I still could not believe it when my ticket number was called! I’ve never won anything worth more than $10 bucks.

So after consulting with the body shop and letting them know I wanted it down to metal we agreed that if I paid an additional $5,500 they would do a great job on it if I did some of the disassembly prep work. So after removing fenders, all the light assemblies, emblems, rear bumper, side moldings, mirrors, antenna, front and rear fender extensions, hood lip, etc., off to the body shop it went. I told them to take their time and not rush it so they could focus on their primary insurance collision work. So they took me at my word and kept it in a separate garage in the shop and worked on it for 8 months. They removed the doors, trunk lid, hood, and installed a new tail light panel, then media blasted all the parts to bare metal.

I usually stopped by every Friday on the way home for work and took progress pictures. It was finally done in March 2010. I felt like I was on Overhaulin when I saw the complete car. All I needed now was a new top, which I had done the following month, and then I reinstalled the interior.

Sorry for the long story, but I’ve owned the car since 1974 and have a lot to tell. Anyway I’m extremely pleased with the quality of the bodywork and paint and have no doubt my 73 Convertible will last another 30 or 40 years!

The Mustang in 2005 as it looked just before pulling it out of the barn. Notice my two boys in the car![Image: 2005_0312_141502AA.jpg]

Out of the barn and in my parent’s driveway:
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Cleaned up and road worthy, but prior to new paint:
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Ready for the body shop in 2009:
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At the body shop, work in progress:

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The finished product:

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After switching to the Ford Factory 1973 Aluminum Wheels:

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That's a great story. Gotta love those ragtops.

Jeff T.

Low buck, touring style, '73 Convertible "rolling restoration", 351c, 2v heads with a shave and a haircut, Performer intake, Holley 650(ish), roller rockers, screw in studs, guideplates, stainless valves, Duraspark / Motorsports MSD, T-5 conversion. 1-1/8" front, 3/4" rear swaybars KYB shocks and some home brewed subframe connectors. Future plans; JGC steering box, Cobra brakes and... paint, interior, etc.

When I die I want to die like grandpa, peacefully in my sleep... not screaming, like his passenger.

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Great history/story.
Awesome history and congrats to you and your kids! Vert turned out great!
Great story and beautiful pics! This make me want a vert even more! Big Grin

[Image: 1gq8uo.png]
1971 Mach 1 - 306cid/C4 Bright Yellow
"Just relax, I've got a friend named Felix who can fix anything!" ~James Bond
Thanks for the nice comments. I forgot some interior shots. Interior is original except for carpet, dash pad, and window crank handles!

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Notice the Ziebart Sticker on the window that was applied back in 1975:

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Great, I like long stories, especially when it ends with a restored car!
I clicked "Like" . thumb

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"If I were you...... I´d rather be me."  Tongue

Check out my video:

Excelent ole! Yours is one of my favorites cars in here... The originality just shocks me and now that i know the story i fell you deserve your car as he deserves an owner like you...

Take good care of it and enjoy the NeXT 30 years rides!!

Damián Cool

[Image: 120x45bk1ani.gif]
Vote For 7173Mustangs.Com Every Day!
URUGUAYAN_FASTBACK;23994 Wrote:Excelent ole! Yours is one of my favorites cars in here... The originality just shocks me and now that i know the story i fell you deserve your car as he deserves an owner like you...

Take good care of it and enjoy the NeXT 30 years rides!!

Unfortunately my wife does not like the story or the car because the car belonged to my high school sweetheart that I dated for almost five years. What I tell her is that the old girlfriend owned for less than a year and I've owned it for over 37 years! The wife has not even taken a ride in it since it was painted over a year ago. Maybe she will get over it one of these days! She bugs me to sell it every so often, but I tell here that I look just as good driving the 73 as anyone else would.
"Can´t live with them, cant´bury them in the backyard!" (Al Bundy)

[Image: 1z21rv4.png]


"If I were you...... I´d rather be me."  Tongue

Check out my video:

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