Martha: How a 1968 Fastback Stayed in One Family for 50 Years

<center><font color="white">Martha: How a 1968 Fastback Stayed in One Family for 50 Years</center>
Martha: How a 1968 Fastback Stayed in One Family for 50 Years

My Uncle Chris passed away in 2016. He was a recluse who never married nor had kids and had only one sibling: a sister (my mom.) He lived with my grandmother until she passed away 25 years ago, at which point he chose to live a solitary existence in Tucson, AZ. I hadn’t seen my uncle for over 35 years, since I was twelve years old – he just didn’t want to see anyone.

When I was a kid, I remember my grandmother bought and drove a 1968 Mustang Fastback. I knew nothing about cars, but I remember thinking her car was totally cool as my uncle drove my brother and me around Tucson. I have since learned that her car rolled off the assembly line in San Jose and was sold to her on March 7, 1968 at Pueblo Ford in Tucson, AZ.

When my uncle died, my dad and I went to Tucson to sort through everything at his home. Lo and behold, my uncle still had the car -- it was in remarkably solid condition for a 50 year old daily driver. Being garaged nightly in Arizona meant the body had zero rust and was repainted only once: from its factory Brittany Blue to its current Diamond Blue. The interior was old and faded but certain elements (the headliner, the drop down rear seat, the dash pad, etc.) were in remarkably good condition. The 302 V8 engine didn’t look great and the four speed manual transmission certainly had its share of issues, but it ran and felt like a solid engine block.

I have never been a car guy, so when I brought the car back to my home in SoCal, it was originally with the idea of selling it. But the more time I spent trying to clean it up for a prospective buyer, the more I fell in love with the car as I learned every detail about her inside and out. The logical simplicity of how a 1960s Mustang was assembled appealed to my curious nature – it felt like a very large version of the plastic model car kits I used to build as a kid. I bought this car from my mom and it became my first restoration project.

My restoration began with the interior. I disassembled the dash and all of its wiring, then I removed and replaced the carpet and rewired all of the electrical throughout the entire car. I personally uninstalled, reupholstered and reinstalled the seats and repainted all of the interior panels. I restored the center console and built a matching arm rest console from scratch. I also spruced up the engine bay, painting the engine block in Ford Blue, all of the bay walls in low gloss black and replacing parts as needed. I also removed the (non-working) factory AC and thermactor, although those will eventually be reinstalled.

Every car needs a name – she is now “Martha,” in honor of my mom and grandmother of the same name.

Jim Fleigner
Owner, Impact Auto Parts
October 18, 2018

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