A Shelby, A Cougar, A Impala and a Raccoon
Having heard about a Shelby Mustang sitting in a driveway, I did not believe that a car so rare would exist in this day and age, just sitting in a driveway. It was supposedly a bright blue 69 or 70 Shelby GT500, I decided to find the truth.
Thankfully it only required a small detour on my way to see family up north.. And first time through the area I found it. Unfortunately nobody was home, so I snapped some pictures from the road and continued on my way. Normally you would think this is it, the high point of the weekend, but it had just begun!
Heading North, I took a more scenic route and was surprised to see a barn fresh 60's Impala sitting on the side of the road. It was getting dark and I had people waiting for me, so I shot a few pictures from the road and kept on going.
On my way home though, I went the same way I came up to see if I could find the Impala again. Of course I accidentally found what looked like a 65 Malibu SS in a garage, but down the road was the Impala, and it was being loaded on a trailer as I drove by! So I turned around and introduced myself to the people loading the car.
It was a father and son doing the actual loading, while the friend was there who had traded the car to the son. They told me how the car was a 1965 Impala,a 396 car that had been setup as a drag car. It even had a straight front axle which is kinda weird IMO for such a large car.. At one point, there was a carb fire, and when they tried to put it out, someone who was helping, decided to pour sand over it. Not to risk the engine, the car sat since in a old dingy warehouse, until the son traded some items for the car.
The guy that owned the warehouse the car was stored in also had a few nice cars, including a 68 Charger, a Firebird and some motorcycles.
The son mentioned that his father had a car stashed away at his house he had been slowly restoring as well. The Dad piped in and said it was an R-Code Mercury Cougar. So after the son was done loading the Impala, the Dad and I went over to his house to see the car. And it was definitely a cool car to see An original Mercury Cougar XR-7 428 R-Code car. The engine was not the original, but a good running 427.
Ironically my first article in Hot Rod had come out and I had shown him the article to prove I was not trying to steal his car. So he had his wife bring out their copy of the magazine and sign it. Definitely something new!
Before leaving, I mentioned that I would be heading over by the Shelby to see if the owner was home. As luck would have it, the owner of the Cougar knew the owner of the Shelby! He gave me the guys name and wished me luck. Luck was on my side as the owner was outside working on a truck when I arrived.
I introduced myself and told him who I had just talked to. The owner was more then happy to talk about 1970 Shelby GT500 Mustang and let me take pictures. He said that at one time had a handful of Shelby Mustangs, but this was the last one. He had tucked it away in a barn for safe keeping, until a raccoon decided it didn't like the interior and trashed it.
So the owner pulled the car out of the barn, placed it in his driveway and has let it sit since. Unfortunately his garage is filled with vintage arcade games that he works on, so the car can not be indoors.
The car isn't in terrible shape, someone had backed into the driver side front fender at one time, and there is some mold growing there. But otherwise it is a fairly solid car that doesn't need a lot to be a running and driving car. He does plan in the future to return the car to atleast drivable condition. I told him, nowadays an un-restored car gets many more looks then a restored one. Just make it a good driver, and leave the body alone.
It was getting late, and I thanked him for showing me the car and letting me shoot it. I told him I would drop by and bring him the magazine if it got published. And it did, just a few short months later. It was surreal to have the magazine article sitting on the car. But that's what happened!
Hot Rod Magazine: Raccoon Ravaged Shelby