I met Siegfried Grunze 20 years ago when I first came to Los Angeles. During a Mustang show at Manhattan Ford, he walked up to me and explained why his '73 hardtop was something Mustang Monthly readers needed to see. It had all the factory paperwork in addition to the window sticker, original paint and graphics, and even a new-car smell. The car was obviously a low-mileage original, purchased new from Midway Ford in Los Angeles. It was a textbook example of correctness for anyone restoring a fourth-generation Mustang.
In 20 years, not much has changed about Siegfried or his Mustang.
Siegfried is well-known around L.A. because he never misses a car show. His Mustang is also well-known to the car-magazine guys. Siegfried is hard to miss-and a challenging man to turn down. His approach is stealthy yet obvious. Talk to him and the next thing you know, you're unpacking camera equipment and directing the yellow car into place. But what the heck, Siegfried's Mustang is a pleasure to shoot. There aren't many surviving '71-'73 hardtops anywhere these days. Most were schoolteacher and working-girl rides that served as nice-looking daily transportation until they were worn out and traded in during the '80s. Many of them wound up in salvage yards and used-car lots.
You might be inclined to think Siegfried bought this hardtop right off the lot. It's a striking showroom teaser that would have drawn more than its share of traffic. But Siegfried sat down with a Midway Ford Mustang salesman and penciled out his order. He knew exactly what he wanted. He didn't want a Mach 1 or a loaded convertible. He wanted the formal roofline of a hardtop along with an elegant interior and a powerful V-8. He and his wife, Elvira, also wanted a color and graphics combination that would stand out. On the order sheet, they checked off the 351 Cleveland Cobra Jet, as well as a high-capacity battery, power steering, air conditioning, and power disc brakes, along with nice options like tinted windows, a heavy-duty cooling system, a handling package with staggered rear shocks and sway bar, Firestone Wide Oval F70x14 tires, a C6 Select-Shift, and a 3.25:1 Traction-Lok.
By 1973, it had become challenging if not impossible to order a Mustang outside the box. Siegfried and Elvira learned this firsthand. The powerful 351C Cobra Jet Siegfried wanted was not available in California and especially not with a 3.25:1 axle ratio. We're not certain how Siegfried pulled it off, but this determined German immigrant managed to get his 351C four-barrel Cobra Jet along with the 3.25:1 cogs. The result is a snappy freeway cruiser ready for just about any on-ramp in Los Angeles.
Siegfried's Mustang is a good-looking showroom original with all of the right stuff, like the Mach 1 graphics running the length of the car as well as Ford corporate hubcaps and trim rings. When you sit in Siegfried's Mustang, memories abound. There was less chrome and more monochrome, seatbelt warning lights and buzzers, high-back bucket seats, earth-tone interior colors like Ginger vinyl, generous instrumentation, and generic steering wheels shared with Pinto and Maverick.
Like the Mustang that has occupied his garage for more than 33 years, Siegfried is also a survivor, determined to maintain a chapter of the breed that has served Ford so well for 42 years.