Customs & Classics
Finding common ground with your in-laws is often an arduous challenge, but not for one Stratford family who share a mutual passion for Ford Mustangs.
Gary Fraser drives a 1966 notchback model while his son-in-law Carl Hinton has a 2006 Roush Stage 3 model, and both have a keen desire to add to their collection.
Fraser says growing up watching American movies and having a natural inclination towards Ford vehicles initiated his passion for the iconic pony car, so he said to himself that he wanted one of those one day.
After 30 years of lusting after the Mustang, Fraser finally recognised his dream eight years ago. He found the American classic in Rotoroa, owned by a man who had imported it from California, and Fraser says after 48 years it still remains in original condition - with the exception of the 14-inch Cragar rims and white-wall tyres.
"It is scruffy, but it's original and that's why I like it," he says. "And after all of these years it still remains rust-free and in working condition."
He says his first-generation Mustang even boasts its original paint job, which played a part in his decision to purchase this particular car.
"One of the reasons I bought it was because it was an odd colour - its gold."
Recently Fraser has started looking to purchase another Mustang, preferably a later model or a restored 66. But he will keep the gold 66, explaining that "I've become quite attached to it over the years."
Cream pleated vinyl adorns the interior of the two-door coupe, which is powered by a six-cylinder flathead engine.
"My model was an entry-level Mustang before the V8s came out," he explains.
The six cylinder flathead-engined Mustang with its three-speed automatic transmission is for the most part used as a weekend cruiser and is very economical, says Fraser, who is the president of Taranaki's branch of the Mustang club.
Among the 100-plus members of the club is Fraser's son-in-law Hinton, who married Fraser's daughter Nicola five years ago. It was a happy coincidence that they were both Mustang buffs, and they have since maintained a mutual bond over the muscle cars.
Hinton's 2006 two-door coupe is a creation from the ever-evolving Mustang's fifth-generation of design. He purchased the car six months ago after previously owning a red 1966 model powered by a Ford 302 V8.
Hinton owned the 66 for a couple of years and had spent time restoring parts of it, but found it was time to move on.
"I just wanted something more comfortable and new, and something with more horsepower of course," he quips.
With a 4.6-litre Ford supercharged engine powering the car, Hinton's new Mustang definitely has more grunt.
The Roush Stage 3 Mustang is named after Jack Roush, an automotive mogul who produces aftermarket performance parts for Ford cars and trucks with his automotive company Roush Performance.
Offering a supercharger, an upgraded suspension system, and several other performance modifications the Roush Stage 3 is the pinnacle of stages for the Roush-modified Mustangs.
"It's really just a souped-up road car," says Hinton.
Hinton has always had a keen eye for Mustangs - his dad was a qualified Ford mechanic, and so the interest in Mustangs was widespread among his family. Nowadays his dad and sister Paula each race a Mustang saloon car at the speedway. "Dad built his new in 2010 and we built one for Paula about a year later," he says.
Hinton says his American car purchases aren't over yet, because he hopes to one day own a 2014 Mustang Super Snake.
"They have an excess of 850 horsepower," he says. "I will have one, one day."
This year the Ford Mustang is celebrating 50 years of continuous production, the Taranaki Mustang club will celebrate by taking to the road for a four-day road trip around the North Island over the Easter break.
- Taranaki Daily News