When Jeff Krueger first saw this '67 hardtop, it had no doors, no hood, no decklid, no windshield, no side glass, and no backlite. The motor was just a block and heads with no valve covers, no oil pan, no air breather, and no snorkel tube. The C4 transmission had no shifter. Inside, it had no bucket seats, no rear bench seat, no dash, no door trim, no door panels, no headliner, no headliner bows. In place of the steering wheel was a set of vice grips to direct this heap as it was pushed from one place to the next.
Jeff, now of Lubbock, Texas, loves a challenge. He restored this 289-2V, C-code '67 hardtop to concours condition and did so much of the work himself that his total cash outlay, including the price of the car, was less than $3,200. It proves what a person can do when they're asked to cross a line in the sand. Don't say "no" to Jeff, and don't hand him any challenges.
Jeff's first car was a VW Beetle, but he craved a Mustang. His father would have loved Jeff to have one too, but his Mom had a different opinion. "All the trouble your father got into in it-you are not getting one!"
"My father's first car was a '6411/42 Mustang," said Jeff. "Growing up, I heard endless stories about his red hardtop and all the trouble that he got into while driving it. He went off to college in it, drove back and forth to Las Vegas in it, crashed it a hundred times, and got a billion speeding tickets."
Jeff drove the Bug to college but never gave up on the idea of his dream Mustang. He got his chance the next summer while detailing cars behind his father's used car lot in Roswell, New Mexico. This white hardtop was a $150 trade-in on a Jeep. It sure wasn't much of a Mustang when the wrecker unloaded it right there alongside Jeff's detailing pad. It was the no-no Mustang because everything about it was "no"- from the no-parts left on it to the no-don't-restore-it attitude it evoked from his family.
The little '67 hardtop grew on Jeff as he looked at it for two or three days. "Don't get any ideas. You leave it alone. It's going to the wrecking yard," said Jeff's dad.
Then Jeff got paid and he walked into the office, plunked down $150 cash on his dad's desk, fished out the title, and had his Mustang. You have to admit his father's argument made sense: "You're in school. You don't have the money to put that car back together. You can't haul it to the house because your mom will not allow it. So, what are you going to do with the thing?"
Jeff said, "You just watch. I'm going to put this car back together!"
The next day, Jeff picked up his future wife at summer school and eased to the back of the car lot to show her his dream machine. He was grinning from ear to ear. She looked, then turned to Jeff and said, "Why did you buy-that?"
"I'm going to put it back together!" he assured her.
"That piece of junk?" Of course, she was displaying good common sense asking him to wait until after college, when he had the extra money and the time. Meanwhile, Jeff had his car right now. It was that simple. He'd put a plan together. He hauled it to a friend's house where it sat for a couple years while they worked on it. Instead of going to spring break on Padre Island, like his college buddies, Jeff spent his holidays chasing Mustang parts and working on his car. Since this left him strapped for money, he learned how to put cars back together on his own rather than pay for it.
For cheap parts, one good source was an obscure wrecking yard in New Mexico. Here Jeff figured out the seller drank too much on Friday afternoons and would give really good deals, like $150 for all the parts a body could carry off.
What Jeff didn't know how to do, such as engine rebuilding, he paid for with work-not money. Dave Cummins showed him how to rebuild the engine, and Jeff did the bodywork, but did leave the actual painting for E & S Body Shop in Roswell.
His dad became interested in the project after a year and a half. His mother saw how responsible it made Jeff, unlike his father's experience of being handed a new Mustang to drive off to college. The college senior completed the restoration two weeks before graduation. Two weeks after college, Jeff got married and his wife was happy to ride in the car on their honeymoon.
Although it is a basic hardtop, it does have some special features, such as the deluxe wire wheel covers, Exterior Dcor Group (including pop-open gas cap), center-mounted console, and a roof console.
At first, Jeff went back stock. After seeing a Falcon with a two-tone red and white interior, he decided to accent his all-red interior with white painted surfaces. The metal parts of the insides of the doors, both consoles, and the dash are now white. This color change, though a little off from stock, made a dramatic increase in show wins.
"I love my little white car," Jeff told us. She was ready to go to the wrecking yard and came back from nothing.