We need more pranksters like Jeff Krueger. He met Terry Crossland three years ago at the Texas Panhandle Mustang show in Amarillo and got one of his wild ideas.
Terry remembers this strange, smiling man, whom he'd just met, saying, "I want to restore your car." Jeff always has a pie-eating grin on his face so you don't know what he's up to. Periodically, he bursts out in laughter. Sometimes, club members don't know what's so funny, but this guy will trade you out of your shorts if you're not careful.
Meanwhile, Jeff knew Terry was a double-lung transplant recipient and in no shape to do physical work. To this day, Terry is curious how his wife, Margaret, pulled off the purchase of his dream Mustang, so it's not like he could spring for an open-checkbook restoration.
Terry recalled how the '67 GTA Mustang fit into his life crisis. "In February 1998, I was allowed to come home for five-day visit. I was sitting in the living room, and a big truck pulled up. My wife told me to look outside and they were unloading this car. I was sitting there in oxygen and could hardly breathe. The guy drives it into the driveway and hands me the keys. Of course, I'm almost on my knees at the time. It was unbelievable. And then I had to return to Wisconsin and continue waiting."
The wait was for the lung transplant. By July 1999, Terry's health was deteriorating. "It got so bad that I called my wife and told her to sell the Mustang. I had it in my head that I wasn't going to make it." There was no way Marge was going to sell the Mustang because it would be like giving up hope. Then on 9/9/99, Terry got his double-lung transplant. He was home a couple months later and his world brightened. "The feeling was like being reborn," Terry recalls. "I don't know how to explain the feeling of breathing again. It's certainly the greatest blessing ever."
Terry stuck by his guns when he answered Jeff at that first car show in Amarillo, "There's nothing I'd like more in the world than to have you restore my Mustang, but there's no way I can afford it." Jeff didn't sway. He countered, " No, you got me all wrong. I want to restore your car."
Krueger drove the '67 GTA fastback into his Lubbock shop on December 2, 2001. Disassembly began in January 2002. As Jeff did the labor, Terry chased parts. Always fascinated with multiple carburetors, Terry tracked down a Tri-power setup for his '67's 289 small-block. If anybody should be happy to pull a restrictive California smog system and pump up the air and fuel flow, it should be Terry.
"It was just like therapy for me after the transplant. And Jeff educated me on what is correct for a '67 Mustang. I gained an incredible amount of knowledge." Jeff credits Micah Griffith with painting the car, which came back as a rolling shell.
This story carries a message that has to do with transplants and life, Mustangs, friendships, and finding those needed parts. Krueger's life philosophy is that friends prevail. So, he made an emblem for Terry's instrument panel that reads, "Friends Prevail."
Jeff was motivated to do the restoration because his friend couldn't. Now he's got a bigger pie-eating grin than ever.