Car Collector Purchases Rare ’68 Ford Mustang, Makes Chilling Discovery.
When Zach Taylor began scouring the internet for a 1968 Fastback Mustang, he had no idea where his journey would bring him. Starting in the sunny summer of 2017, Taylor would begin the search for the vehicle that would change his life. Today, we are going to highlight the incredible restoration story of a rare ’68 Ford Mustang and the chilling secret within the vehicle.
Beginning With a Dream
While Zach Taylor is the star of our story, the truth is that this crazy event could have happened to anyone. The Ford Mustang initially launched in 1964 as America’s ‘pony car’. It didn’t take long for the vehicle to make a splash, quickly becoming one of the most popular cars of all time. Did you know that we even celebrate National Mustang Year on April 17th?
Created by Lee Iacocca
The Ford Mustang has a story as fascinating as the one that we are about to go on. As it turns out, understanding one will help you appreciate the other. Ford’s GM at the time of the Mustang’s development was Lee Iacocca; he was also the brainchild and motivation behind the vehicle’s incredible production run.
Becoming America’s Sports Car
When the Ford Mustang was introduced to the market, it was quickly developed as an alternative and practical solution to the fancy sports car. At an affordable price, this European-inspired vehicle had style in spades. Americans all over the country came to love the car.
An Icon of the 60s
The Mustang quickly became one of the most popular vehicles of the 1960s. Introduced at the World’s Fair in New York in 1964, the Mustang would receive significant exposure through films like Goldfinger as well as Thunderball. As a matter of fact, this entire era was known for exciting developments in pop-culture from music and film to social justice and industrialization.
Now that we have a little background information, let’s dive into the star of our story.
Our Story Begins With James
The entire reason you are reading about this story is due to a man named James. James, like many people, fell in love with Mustangs during his youth. He would end up joining the Mustang Fan Club in 2018 in order to share his affinity for the vehicle. During his online explorations, James would purchase a 1968 GT Mustang.
Passing Away and Moving On
We are not sure of the exact details surrounding James’ passing, but we do know that he would leave his vehicle behind. The ’69 Fastback Mustang would end up neglected, rotting away beneath a tree in Florida for nearly 40 years. After James’ passing, the vehicle needed to be tended to.
Selling the Vehicle
After James passed away, a man named Bruce — manager of the Mustang Fan Club — would offer to purchase the vehicle from the family. His goal was to restore the vehicle to its former glory. Bruce would end up securing the vehicle before moving it to Georgia from Florida. This is where Zach Taylor steps into our story.
Restoring the ’68 Fastback
While neither Zach nor Bruce knew James, all three men shared a love for restoring old Mustangs. Zach Taylor would stumble across the ’68 Fastback for sale after Bruce realized he could not afford the time or money needed to fix up the vehicle. Bruce would list the vehicle on Craigslist where Zach would find it.
Seeing the Vehicle in Person
After communicating online, Zach and Bruce would meet to discuss the car. Upon arriving, Zach was blown away by the vehicle — it was in rough shape, but the bones of a great car were still there. Bruce explained that he had purchased the car from a family in the wake of their sons’ death. Zach was a car enthusiast, so he knew that events like this happened.
Finding Something Strange
While Zach wasn’t perturbed by Bruce’s story, he was quite surprised when they stumbled upon a mason jar filled with a sandy-colored powder. Now, Zach wasn’t afraid of poison, but he had the distinct impression that there was something quite strange in this jar. On the lid, Zach noted the name ‘James’.
Are you starting to understand what Zach and Bruce had found?
What’s With the Jar?
When Zach pressed Bruce over the jar and its contents, Zach was shocked at what he heard. Bruce would simply reply, “That’s James.” As far as Zach knew, Bruce was a quirky individual, but he was not a liar. Upon exploring the subject further, Zach would come to realize that, yes, the jar contained the ashes of James’ body.
Things Get… Weirder
After finding out that the car had the remains of a body inside, Zach became justifiably spooked. The car enthusiast would pass on purchasing the vehicle, though that isn’t where the story ends. Instead, Bruce struck up a kinship with Zach to the tune of 50 phone calls and text messages over the span of the next year. Zach was weirded out by what was going on.
Making the Sale
After a year had passed, Zach finally decided to purchase the vehicle from Bruce. Bruce and Zach would come up with a price of $7k. The only catch? The jar of remains had to stay with the vehicle. Zach shrugged and allowed Bruce to get his way. After all, Zach was getting quite the discount.
Sold Once Again
After bringing the car home, Zach realized that the vehicle was far beyond his expertise. Instead of restoring the car, Zach would simply clean it before installing new hubcaps. After listing the car for sale on eBay, along with James’ remains, the vehicle would be sold to a buyer across the Atlantic Ocean on the Isle of Wight.
Colin Budden to the Rescue
Now a fourth pair of hands had taken ownership of the vehicle within the last year: James, Bruce, Zach, and Colin. Colin would purchase the vehicle with the intention of a full restoration, sharing his progress on the Facebook page titled Corner Classics Facebook. Colin was something of a prolific collector and restorer, so the job was right up his alley!
Picked Up By the Media
As Colin continued to work on the car, while sharing the story online, the mainstream media caught wind. Pretty soon, Colin and his car, along with the story of James’ remains, would go viral online and in the news. The team at Corner Classics loved the attention as they were getting a spotlight shown on the excellent restoration work the team was doing.
Integrating James’ Story
As Colin and his crew worked on the car, the team decided to incorporate James’ ashes into the vehicle. The team would post on Facebook, “It’s taking very careful consideration and is to be done as respectfully as possible.” Our only question is this, how the heck do you incorporate a jar of ashes into a car’s restoration?
Waiting for the Road
At the time of this writing, Colin and the team at Corner Classics have yet to get the Mustang back on the road. When last Budden updated his fans on the progress of the car, he revealed that James’ ashes were still in the Corner Classics office, right on his desk.
Does James want to get back on the road? Does this car want to ever get refinished? Who can say? What we can say is that James’ story and his affinity for classic cars would touch people on both ends of the Atlantic Ocean.