Ohio was hiding a white '89 GT hatchback, the next addition to this growing group of ponies. A coal-mine engineer had purchased it, but was too obsessed with the car's cleanliness to drive it. He had the oil changed every year and ran the engine to keep gaskets and internal parts from rotting and rusting. The car was stored on wooden blocks-another car delivered in winter that never made it out of the garage-but managed to travel 275 miles over the last 14 years.
The high-performance influence of Saleen is represented by a green '90 supercharged convertible wearing serial number 90-0010. Judging from the crispness of the black top, it's a safe bet the car's 80 miles were accumulated with it in the closed position. The Saleen found its way to North Carolina from Indiana.
Daniel actually drives one or two of the cars in his collection, but only if they already have some miles on them, high mileage meaning more than 500. His yellow '93 LX convertible was owned by a retiree in Florida and had only 3,300 miles registered when Daniel purchased it. He put another 300 miles on the convertible before tucking it away.
After traveling the country to find Mustangs, a black '85 LX coupe was practically in Carpenter's own backyard. A retired DMV worker in Asheville had ordered the car to look as much like a police pursuit vehicle as possible, including the base vinyl seats. When he passed away, the 5.0-liter coupe had only 1,100 miles on it. His widow let it sit in the basement, where it attracted a blanket of dust. The dry climate preserved the cop-car copy, and there's not even a hint of surface rust on the chassis.
Carpenter has found and bought his share of low-mileage '93 Cobras (such as his Teal 4,000-mile car) and Cobra Rs, but his display currently features the one he considers most special. Since several of the 107 Rs built were stored away by collectors and speculators, it's almost impossible to consider them rare. Desirable, yes, but rare? While everyone knows of a no-mile R in a collection somewhere, Carpenter's R is the second one produced.
The Mustang parts reproducer almost passed on his next car because it didn't fit the traditional 5.0-liter musclecar profile of the rest of his collection. He heard about an '8511/42 SVO with 380 miles, black with the Competition Prep (delete to you and me) package. It was ordered by a performance enthusiast whose 10-car garage was nicer than most living rooms and kept its inventory dry and protected. He specified the SVO be built without the optional dual-plane rear wing-a request reflected in the window sticker-but when delivered, it featured the trademark spoiler. Perhaps it was this disappointment that led him to eventually sell it.
Carpenter's latest find is a white '93 Special Service Vehicle coupe that was never sold to the intended government department in South Carolina. Dealerships were in the habit of ordering a just-in-case car, so to speak, as part of a fleet agreement, and several found their way into private hands over the years because of this practice. Collector and Ford dealer Jacky Jones in Georgia sold the 5.0-liter LX five-speed coupe to Daniel with only 347 miles showing.
Located less than a lap away from Lowe's Motor Speedway, Daniel's collection is not open to the public, but its owner works with car clubs and individuals for private viewing. It is also accessible during the biannual Food Lion AutoFairs and other large car events in the area.
For more information on Daniel Carpenter's collection or his reproduction Mustang parts, call 704/786-0990, or write to 4310 Concord Parkway S., Concord, NC 28027.