There’s a little ding from the driver’s side door of Bill Epright’s 1986 Ford Mustang GT. The small imperfection was around for several decades, and would not even be worth noting or mentioning if it were not for one inescapable fact: The miniature scratch is about the only blemish on the whole vehicle.
Does the nick still irritate Epright after all this time? “Yes! Yes it does!” he says with a wry chuckle. “But I’ll leave it because this way the car is all original and I didn’t tamper with anything. But yes, it bugs me, because I didn’t put it there!”
Epright can joke a little about the scrape since he understands how immaculate the vehicle is otherwise. The Stevens Point, Wis. , resident purchased the car new in the Ford dealership where he worked in’86, also it has been cared for as the day that he drove home.
“My spouse [Cathy] had a vehicle, so we ordered one. I have been a Ford man all my life. I worked to get a Ford seller for 45 years, so when she wanted a car I stated, ‘Well, we’re gonna find a Mustang.’ And she moved with that. Then I stated, ‘We’re gonna find a GT,’ and she said, ‘Oh, well, whatever.’ She did not care. But It was likely to be her vehicle. She drove for 3 summers, and I told her she was not going to push it throughout the winter. It’s not a winter car, anyhow, so in the time she basically only drove my Bronco and that I had a winter beater for its initial 3 decades.
“Then it basically went to storage for quite a couple of decades. We did not induce it for a quite some time. There was likely about 30,000 miles on it once I closed down it. There’s about 36,000 there today.”
Cathy desired to trade that the Medium Canyon Red over Charcoal Gray Mustang in on a new Probe at 1990, however Bill was not having that. Cathy obtained the Probe, however, the few maintained the Mustang, largely as a toy to get years down the road.
“I wanted to preserve it, and … I don’t know. I had a family and kids and we were always on vacation when we had time off … I had it out in back in the back garage. I had a cover on it and then I bought a bag for it and I just zipped it up and put it away. I’d start it every once in a while, about once year. I’d dry it out zip it back up and then get it out again the next year.”
While that the Mustang was stuck in suspended animation, Epright concentrated his attention on the other car which had a good deal of sentimental value — a 1933 Ford. “I got the ’33 when I was 15 years old from my dad. He bought it to restore and never got to it and so he gave it to me.” Epright took his time and did a superb restoration job on the’33, along with the car was so fine he despised to push it and risk placing any high-value on the older Ford.
“I have that done in 2006, I presume. That’s when I began considering obtaining the Mustang back out. I re-did that the’33 and thought, ‘Hey, I’t must get a bit quicker car than this thing! [laughs]. I had in storage probably 20 years. Basically I needed to wait till it got old enough to take it shows.”
THE FABULOUS ‘FOXES’
A completely new breed of Mustang was introduced for 1979 which was really derived from the Ford Fairmont platform. It featured unit-body structure, striking brand new sports car styling, had one of their very effective, aerodynamic body designs of its age and had 20 percent more inside space than the preceding version.
The “Fox body” Mustang had a 100.4-inch wheelbase, a 179.1-inch total length and weighed approximately two,600 pounds ) Precise managing was delivered by a number of suspension enhancements. The two-door notchback version was priced at $4,858 using V-8 electricity along with the three-door hatchback conducted about $5,223 using the huge engine. The introduction 1979 V-8 had an 4. ) 00 x . 00-inch bore and stroke to get a familiar-sounding 302 cubic inches) With one Motorcraft two-barrel carburetor and an 8.4:1 compression ratio, it had been no muscle car in contrast to people of the’60s or people available now, but it was fairly eloquent for 1979. The 5.0-liter V-8 generated 140 hp in 3600 rpm and 250 lbs.-ft. Of torque 1800 rpm.
By 1986 that the 5.0 Mustang was at full gallop and Ford sensibly did not make many extreme changes from year to year. The 1986’Stangs just had a few small tweeks, such as added sound-deadening material along with a single-key locking method. A revised port-type fuel-injection system along with also a 200-hp V-8 for GT versions were other modifications. Ford continued to offer you an 88-hp lookup engine along with also a 120-hp throttle body-injected V-6 in Mustangs, however the upgraded 5.0-liter HO V-8 was regular in GTs. It was revised from 1985’s four-barrel carburetor induction method into some multi-port fuel injection system and dropped 10 hp from the procedure, although performance was nevertheless fairly striking. The 302-cid cast-iron V-8 had a 9.2:1 compression ratio and generated 200 hp in 4000 rpm and 285 lbs.-ft. Of torque 3000 rpm.
Other standard gear on GTs was oriented towards functionality auto buyers and comprised a five-speed manual overdrive transmission, Goodyear Eagle VR tires, and quick-ratio power steering, a distinctive heavy-duty suspension and also articulated front sports seats. An automatic overdrive transmission was optional for $622.
The Mustang GT was available in 2 versions. One was a three-door hatchback with a $10,691 price tag and curb weight of two,976 pounds ) The alternative was that the convertible, which listed for $14,523 and weighed in at 3,103 pounds ) Ford churned out a whopping 224,410 Mustangs for its’86 model season, such as 40,578 GT hatchbacks and 9,887 GT convertibles.
BACK TO THE FUTURE
Epright’s’86 is 34 years old today, but it still seems almost as great as the day that he plunked down 13,053. 00 in Scaffidi Ford-Mercury and required shipping. In addition to its own Medium Canyon Red Metallic over Charcoal Gray paint project — a $116 upcharge — it arrived with regular goodies such as game seats, rear spoiler, 15×7 cast aluminum wheels, split folding rear seat, cargo area cover, tilt steering, heavy-duty battery, digital clock, console, remote controller gas filler door and Traction-Lok axle. He also ponied up a few more greenbacks to get a flip-up sunroof ($315), rate controller ($176), rear window defroster ($145), air conditioning ($762), AM/FM tape stereo ($148), Premium Sound System ($138), tinted glass ($115) and Light/Convenience Group ($55).
“I ordered what I wanted. Back then I was younger and I ordered air conditioning and speed control and I wanted the five-speed manual transmission,” Epright recalled. “I wanted a GT, of course, and I wanted the two-tone paint. I ordered the sun roof. And I got the Premium sound. I was young and you gotta have music!… I didn’t want power windows. I figured, ‘Ah, it’s a muscle car, that’s just more weight.’ It’s got air, tilt, cruise control and AM/FM cassette.”
To maintain the Mustang is such immaculate shape, Epright took a couple added precautions. He’s had plastic on the chairs previously and even saved the automobile with its plastic sheeting that came with the vehicle. He’s also place additional carpeting on the ground to maintain the original rug from becoming abused.
Aside in the mufflers, the sole wrenching he has done on the Mustang were upkeep tires and items. “I basically changed all the fluids and stuff like that. All the hoses and belts and tires, and that’s about it. The exhaust they replaced under warranty several times because they had problems with the catalytic converters breaking loose. At first when you started it up it would sound like a rod knock because the catalytic converters would rattle inside. The whole exhaust system was stainless steel except the mufflers. The mufflers have been replaced. I put the stainless ones on there. The mufflers were the first thing that rotted off.”
The Eprights only place a few hundred kilometers on the GT each year, however Bill insists he isn’t skittish about forcing it. The automobile makes regular appearances at the Iola Car Show each July and has regular exercise throughout the summertime.
“I trust it. I’d go anyplace with this car. It’s a nice cruiser. It still rides like a lumber wagon!,” Bill laughs. “It’s got a really rigid suspension. I was amazed again when I jumped in it this summer! Oh guy, I did not realize that it was that stiff! [laughs]. It’s obtained the contest suspension and that which is rigid.”
“I never really ever beat on it. It’s pretty much been babied all its life. Once in a while I take it out and get 65, 70 out of second gear, and then put it in third gear and kind of coast!”
Epright jokes that after the car sat for a lot of years from sight, lots of his acquaintances and friends did not know it existed, or had forgotten about it. “Yeah, a lot of people who know me hadn’t seen the car, and they’d say, ‘I didn’t know you had this car! It’s like brand new!’ Well, yeah, it’s only got 30-some-thousand miles on it.”
If Epright has his way, he will roll up yet another 36,000 kilometers much faster than he did the first. He has attained his objective of maintaining his hot Mustang as a toy to pleasure ride and flaunt through his golden years. Now he is appreciating the payoff.
‘You know, I was working all those years and we had a place up north that we’d go to on weekends. ) I was just busy all of the time,” he finishes. “Now I’m retired. I can use it to go get my drugs at Walgreens!”
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