It's not easy being green. It could be even tougher being BluebonnetBlue if you're an early Mustang collector and historian like Don Smith.By day, Don works at Ford Country, a new-car dealership in Lewisville,Texas, north of Ft. Worth. For much of the last year, he's beengathering information on Bluebonnet Special Mustangs.
The saga beganwhen Don went hunting for a car for his nephew. He ran into a historydig in the form of a '67 Mustang hardtop with a DSO of 61, followed bythe digits 5160. The coupe was a basket case. Don recalls, "Ray Colemanwas going to fix it up and paint it 'Resell Red.' "
Coleman restoresMustangs and figured, by the extended DSO, there was some history. Hesuggested Don might be interested. Coleman knew the project would take apurist like his friend Don. Thankfully, all the parts were there, andthe two negotiated a price. Don recalls, "I ran the VIN and startedgetting with my guys at Ford. I found out it was a special-editionMustang Ford called a Lone Star Limited. The more popular term for thiscar is Bluebonnet Special.
Luckily, the original data plate was intact.The paint code was blank, signifying a special-order color. Immediately,Don started searching for original paint, and he discovered a shade oforiginal light blue, a match for the Texas state flower, the bluebonnet.He had something special here, for sure.
The problem with resotring...
The problem with resotring a Bluebonnet Special has been finding original fender badges. Five Star Ford's Vic Lea saved the day when he contacted Don about some original badges he had from when the cars first came out.
"Mustang sales were a littlesoft in the winter of 1966-1967 in this area, so Ford wanted to boostthem. And Texas Ford dealers were complaining because California got theCalifornia Special."
Actually, California had their California Specialstarting in 1966, as did Colorado with the High Country Special. Inresponse, the next year Ford produced a special Mustang for the Texasmarket. "Ford said, 'We'll give you a Lone Star Limited, painted aunique color with special badges on it. And we'll deliver them to theDepot, the actual Dallas hub.' "
Don got lucky in the restoration. Todate, the sticking point when restoring a Bluebonnet Special has beenobtaining the original fender badges. Out of the blue, Don got a callfrom Vic Lea, an employee of Five Star Ford in nearby Carrollton. Lea,who has been selling new Fords since 1962, attended the "drive-away" andbarbecue at the Depot on that spring day in 1967 when the BluebonnetSpecials were introduced. Incredibly, Lea had squirreled away fouroriginal badges.
We called Five Star Ford to visit with Vic Lea aboutthe introduction of the Bluebonnet Specials. In 1968, he worked atHorn-Williams Ford, where he was the top-selling Shelby Cobra salesman.He remembered "introducing that little car down there," referring to thebarbecue at the Depot in Dallas. "It was a promotional thing for thebluebonnets that were beginning to bloom. The cars were shipped to theDepot because they invited dealers from all over the area."
Learemembers the cars already had the gold "Lone Star Limited" badgesaffixed to their front fenders. Also, the dealer nameplates were on thecars, so they were already assigned to dealerships in various parts ofthe state. The cars were all coupes, Vic remembers, and all the samecolor with the same blue interior.
Don Smith's '67 Bluebonnet...
Don Smith's '67 Bluebonnet Special doesn't need overhauling, but wecouldn't pass up the opportunity to photograph Courtney Hansen, fromTLC's popular Overhaulin' TV show, with the blue Texas hardtop. BothCourtney and the Bluebonnet Special were in attendance at an event atUnique Performance.
Lea worked for Kenray Ford at thetime. "I think we got a total of three. We were due to get two, butsomebody didn't show up so they offered us the third one." Lea sold oneof the three right off the showroom floor.
Basically, a BluebonnetSpecial is a special-order-paint '67 coupe with a Texas-shaped badgereading "Lone Star Limited." Don retrieved a copy of the original windowsticker from Ford, which listed the "Sports Sprint" option: wheelcovers, chrome-plated air cleaner, rocker-panel molding, functionallouvered hood, F70-14 wide oval tires, vinyl-covered shift lever (onautomatics), and Select-Aire A/C.
Don says the wheel covers were simplythe standard variety. However, he went with Styled Steel, fearfulsomebody might steal the pop-off wheel covers because he and his wifedrive the car. Although the Sprint package, as listed on this reproducedwindow sticker, lists "chrome-plated air cleaner," Don's 289 also has achrome dress-up kit.
Ford production figures reveal 175 "Lone StarLimiteds painted Bluebonnet Blue." Of these, 173 had "blue standardbucket seats," leaving open to question the interior on the remainingtwo cars. Also, 131 of the 175 came with air conditioning.
According tothe Mustang Production Guide, Volume 2, 1967-73 by Jim Smart and JimHaskell, engines in the Bluebonnets were either the 200 six or the 289V-8. According to Don, only "four or five" Bluebonnet Specials have beenuncovered. His restoration is the only one with the original badges.
We'd love to see more of these cars surface and be restored. Oursuggestion is for owners of '67 coupes to check their data plates forthe blank color code and DSO 61-5160. There must be more BluebonnetSpecials out there, as Ford built 175 and only a few have beenuncovered. If you find one, please let us know.