While it remains a relatively young hobby (being birthed only in the last 50 years) classic car restoration is a passion of perfection for many Americans. The concept of taking something old and making it new again provides a level of satisfaction not found in many other spare time endeavors. Now, chasing this satisfaction can come at a cost, as many classic car restorers will tell you, but the result is almost always worth the time and monetary investment.
Those taking the steps down the restoration road typically start with a vehicle that they have some time of personal connection or interest in. Chris “The Doc” Ingrassia at Mustang Restoration, Inc is a primary example of this with his more than 30 year interest in rebuilding Ford Mustangs. He even has a website stocked full of videos and tutorials about the common tasks involved with this particular American muscle car. But Chris is not alone.
The Ford Mustang has seemingly risen to the top of the popularity chain when it comes to classic car restorations and repairs. From this popularity a massive market of aftermarket and reproduction parts has followed suit. The availability of these parts and components has only helped to amplify the popularity. Obviously having parts available to restore your Mustang makes it a more inviting endeavor, as opposed to the days of rummaging through junk yards and traveling the country trying to track down parts. Furthermore, the mid-90s internet boom has opened up the hobby to a larger number of people that would have had access in the 70s, 80s, and early 90s. A big market with lots of people participating is the recipe for a time of growth.
The Ford Mustang has remained an American muscle car icon for over half a century with it’s introduction in 1964. While the Chevrolet Corvette came on the scene about a decade earlier, and the Chevrolet Camaro a few years later, the Mustang was primed for a big launch at just the right time in a booming US economy. Since then, the stability of Ford as a company (avoiding the 2008 bailouts) and the surviving longevity of the Mustang (Camaros were discontinued for 8 years) solidified its residence in American hearts. Arguments will always rage about which muscle car is the best, but the Ford Mustang has undoubtedly shown it belongs in the discussion.
A quick look at used car market availability on a site like mustang-dealers.com shows that the first generation Mustangs (made from 1964 to 1973) are still changing hands. In fact, many of them available have already been restored and are ready to be daily drivers. How many other cars from 50 years ago have more vehicles ready to be driven than ready to be restored? Considering that the generation was made for 11 years, it means that interchangeable parts are available on a broader scale, unlike the second generation Mustangs which were only made for 4 years and are much more scarce now days. It was almost the perfect storm that created the future market for the first gen Mustangs.
There are certainly other classic cars that remain popular with the hobbyist restorers, like the Charger and Camaro, but you do not have to look far to realize that when it comes to restoring classic cars – the Ford Mustang is King.