Mention Ford performance around Dayton, Ohio, and most likely you will hear the name of NHRA legend "Ohio" George Montgomery. Memories of his famous '67 Mr. Gasket Mustang Funny Car and Ford-powered '32 Willys Gasser come to mind.
The apple doesn't fall far from the tree with George's son Gregg, who shares the love of Ford power in a big way, like with a '69 Torino Talladega and a '69 Boss 429. So why is a standard '73 Mustang convertible with a 135hp 302 and automatic sitting between them in his garage?
Gregg explained, "It's a sentimental thing. It's what I wanted in high school because I didn't want an underpowered Mustang II. I love the '71-'73 body style. When I got the chance to get this one in 1996, I bought it."
Besides loving big horsepower in his Fords, Gregg also craves correctness and uniqueness, both of which are demonstrated in his '73 convertible. Gregg explained, "First of all, it's a very late '73 model, built on July 4, 1973, just two days before the end of production. It was the end of an era and the last Mustang convertible until 1983. It was also the last V8 until 1975." Finally, and perhaps most importantly, it's a low-mileage car with just 2,700 miles. It has never been titled. Gregg has also found three buildsheets in the car.
Gregg notes that Mustangs built late in a model year often had incorrect parts so the final few cars could be completed. "The oddities drive show judges crazy," Gregg adds.
At the Mustang Club of America's Buckeye Nationals in Dublin, Ohio, in 2008, the Bright Red convertible scored a dazzling 704 points out of 700 in the Thoroughbred class. "But believe me, it didn't come easy," Gregg says. The car has a coil with a black top rather than the expected mustard color, carpet fitting overlay, undercoating around the driveshaft, and an unpainted dipstick. The most obvious deviation was the Pinto jack instructions. Apparently, the assembly line ran out of Mustang jack instructions.
"The judges didn't believe the car rolled off the production line that way," Gregg says. "It took four judges almost three hours to come to an agreement. Even the president of the MCA was called in for consultation."
The car was initially ordered by a Ford dealership, Geneva Motor Company of Geneva, Ohio, with unusual options, including twist-down hood latches, rim-blow steering wheel, tilt steering column, air conditioning (rare for a convertible), and power windows. The correct '73 Firestone F60x14s are still in place. The dealership used the car for parades, which is how most of the miles were acquired. Another dealership, in Painesville, Ohio, owned the car from 1982 through 1996. It was then advertised in Hemmings Motor News; Gregg made the purchase sight-unseen.
"When I saw the car for the first time, it definitely wasn't eye-catching but there was no mold or rust," Gregg says. Over the next five years, Gregg detailed the car to perfection, receiving a Gold at the 2001 Atlanta Concours Show.
"Then I put it away again, thinking no one would be interested in it because it's not a muscle car."
Maybe so, but there are a lot of aspects about this car that cause Mustang fans to shake their heads in wonder.