“WHEN I step inside my car I automatically smile,” said Caloundra's Anne Kretschmann, and who can blame her as she slides into the pony-embossed leather seats in one of the Sunshine Coast's most eye-catching American imports.
This is Anne's Frost Turquoise 1967 Ford Mustang Convertible, and her first three years of ownership reads like something of an adventure story.
“I bought it from an American car dealer over the internet, much to the criticism of my husband and awe from friends,” she said. “Looking back I wouldn't advise anyone to do so without seeing the car first.”
Let's just say the condition of the Mustang wasn't quite up to the seller's description, but after a fair amount of hard work and money, Anne's convertible is now a V8 muscle car to be proud of.
“When I first saw it on arrival in Australia I couldn't believe it and wanted to sell it straight away. I had good friends at the local Thumpers American Car Club though and they were brilliant in helping me get it fixed up.”
Repairs have included chassis rust, suspension, brakes, engine bay and the upholstery, but the result is a Mustang exactly the way Anne wants it.
That includes keeping it left hand drive and without power steering.
“I like to feel a car properly when I drive it,” she said, “but it does make slow corners and parking it difficult.”
The car was delivered with wire wheels, but Anne was keen on rollers with a bit more attitude.
A mechanic friend traded a set of deep-dish Magnum 500 wheels of the type found on early Mustangs, and the attractive soft-top body now sits over them.
Also not up Anne's Mustang expectation was the exhaust note.
“It sounded more like a Telstar than a Mustang, so I've had a straight-through system fitted so I now hear the V8 the way it's supposed to be heard,” she said.
And what a sound. The rumble from the 4.7-litre V8 on start-up is enough to remind you why enthusiasts like Anne are prepared to invest so much time and money in these beautiful big Yanks.
And with the roof down, driver and passengers get to experience every decibel of that Mopar magic.
After spending much of its life in St. Louis, Missouri, Anne's Mustang is enjoying its new Sunshine Coast home.
It's a regular on cruises and at shows, and even gets the occasional trip to the shops as long as Anne can park it in a safe place.
It already has a stable-mate in the shape of Anne's husband Tony's second generation Monaro, but another Mustang may soon be joining them with the couple planning a USA trip later this year that could involve some car shopping.
Owner: Anne Kretschmann, Caloundra.
Model: 1967 Ford Mustang Convertible (first generation).
Details: Two-door convertible produced between 1964 and 1973.
Number produced: Approx. 3 million (all first generation Mustangs).
Engine: 289 cu in (4.7-litre) Windsor V8 producing 149kW @ 4400rpm and 382Nm @ 2400rpm.
Transmission: Three-speed automatic.
Value today: $35,000-$45,000.
Did you know? On its first day of launch in America, Ford sold more than 22,000 Mustangs to eager buyers.
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