COCHRANE— Kent Van Iderstine's 1968 Mustang convertible is a carefully crafted salute to the rich history of Ford's legendary sports car.
The Mustang was discovered by a broker who located the Pony resting in a field in Oregon around 2005. The top had rotted off and the car was filled with water. The body was also rusting out.
“It was way more than I had anticipated,” Van Iderstine said with a chuckle. “You don’t really know what you’re getting into until you start tearing them apart— Then you really start to see the damage.”
The silver lining, Van Iderstine said, was the ride was cheap and offered him the opportunity to build a vehicle from the ground up.
It took Van Iderstine about two years to fully restore the Mustang, including time spent in a body shop. Due to the extensive damage, there is not much original left on the Pony.
“I did everything but the bodywork— It was too far gone for me to do it,” Van Iderstine said.
The resurrected Pony has been heavily modified and was designed as a Shelby Clone.
“The Shelby is the holy grail of the Mustangs,” Van Iderstine said. “They were actually quite a high-performance car in their day, and they look a lot nicer.”
The body type is named after famed racing driver Carroll Shelby who wanted to build his own car. The iconic driver eventually became involved with Ford and would take Mustangs off the assembly line to his shop and do his treatment on them.
Nowadays, classic Shelby’s are a rare sight to behold on the road, Van Iderstine said, and finds he gets head-turns when out and about in the summer.
During the restoration, Van Iderstine said, he upgraded the engine from a 289W to a 351W stroked out to a 427CI, switched from automotive transmission to five-speed standard, moved to disc brakes on all four wheels, installed rack-and-pinion steering and added other creature comforts for a solid enjoyable ride.
The finished body of the Pony is a rich electric blue with white Lemans stripes.
Van Iderstine has always had a fondness for Mustangs, explaining the '68 is the fourth one he has owned.
“It was my first car and you get to know them,” Van Iderstine said. “It’s good to have a good working knowledge of the cars. The more you do of the same kind, of the same brand the easier it is.”
He added, a bonus to working on one car type is he can learn where restoration troubles can emerge and plan ahead.
“People like the cars they grew up with, the cars that they saw when they were teenagers— That’s how I chose mine,” Van Iderstine said. “They were distinctive.”
To date, the '68 Mustang marks the most modifications he has added to a ride— It was a marked departure for Van Iderstine as his previous Ponys were completely stock right out of the showroom.
Van Iderstine is happy with the finished ride that has proven to be his pièce de résistance.
“This one I thought it will probably be the last car I ever redo so I thought I would do what I want,” Van Iderstine said. “That’s why I went to make it look like a Shelby and added the modifications.”
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