It Is Impossible to think about classic Mustangs around our nation's capital without thinking of Richard Porter and his wife, Pat. Richard can easily be described as the heart and soul of the National Capital Region Mustang Club, one of the most respected Mustang clubs in the country. He was there when I spoke to the club in 1982 about In Search of Mustangs. If you ask anyone around DC about him, they will tell you the same thing-the Mustang legend remains protected thanks to Richard's efforts for more than three decades.
When I called Richard in 2007 to let him know I was coming to Washington for a visit, he rolled out the red carpet and rallied many of the NCRMC's finest for car features that have since appeared in Mustang Monthly. But here is Richard's own rolling showcase for his talents-a '66 K-GT fastback in Dark Ivy Green Metallic, with styled steel wheels, Redline tires, Interior Décor Group, AM/eight-track, four-speed transmission, and 3.50:1 axle ratio.
For Richard, this K-GT project began in the summer of 1997. He was parked on the sofa when he told Pat he'd like to restore another Mustang. Pat advised him to get off the sofa and do it. With that prompt came Richard's pursuit of classified ads. He located a '66 GT fastback a few hundred miles away in Knoxville, Tennessee. Richard had a good friend who was headed that way and could check out the car for him. The car was reported as rough but salvageable.
His friend's report, coupled with snapshots of the car, helped Richard make a decision. Inspiration came from both the Hi-Po equipment and the color combination-Dark Ivy Green Metallic coupled with a Pony interior in Light Ivy Gold and White. Negotiations ensued and Richard bought the car. On New Years Day 1998, Richard and Fred Anderson from Triple 5 Towing headed for Knoxville to get the car. Richard recalls that snow began falling while they were on Interstate 81 in Virginia and didn't let up until they hit I-66. It was a long, slushy ride from the Tennessee border.
When the snow melted off Richard's new project, reality set in like the day after a bad gambling binge in Vegas. There was a lot more work than Richard bargained for. "I've been messing with Mustangs for a number of years, and it's good to know the right people," Richard reflects. "It needed floorpans, a right-side door, patch panels, right-hand shock tower, and a lot more." Kevin Anderson of Triple 5 Towing and Bill Ross, Jr. of Pony & Corral Mustang Parts in Oxon Hill, Maryland, helped with the extensive sheetmetal work. Larry Lomax of Superior Auto Body massaged the body to perfection and painted the car. Richard handled the assembly himself.
Fortunately for Richard, everything was there, from the special Hi-Po harmonic balancer to the 9-inch rear end. The 289 High Performance engine was rebuilt, balanced, and blueprinted. The Top Loader four-speed and 3.50:1 9-inch rear end were brought back into spec. All of the underpinnings were replaced or rebuilt.
It wasn't until June 2002 that Richard was able to roll the car out. It was a big moment for Richard and Pat. As Richard perused the interior, he thought about all the details that went into its creation-restoring the Rally-Pac and getting the AM/eight-track to work properly. He thought about the deluxe seatbelt warning light wiring behind a dash that didn't have the seatbelt warning light. How strange, he thought, considering the car was equipped with standard seatbelts and retractors.
The car's first show was the 2002 Mustang Club of America Nationals, known as the Stars and Stripes Nationals, in nearby Fairfax, Virginia. In the years since, Richard's K-GT has taken three MCA Gold awards along with an AACA National First Prize. It has been shown all over the eastern third of the country with positive reviews everywhere.
Richard tips his hat to Pat, who has stood by his side through all this and more. "I want to thank my wife for putting up with me," he says.
Richard adds that he's about done with restoring Mustangs because this one took so much out of him. "I don't think I want to restore any more Mustangs," Richard said. But after pondering a moment while chewing on a toothpick, he added, "But then maybe I do."