"I treat that car like I paid ten million dollars for it," Scott Joers told us with more than a little conviction in his voice. "I saved my money for 25 years while busting my rear doing hard masonry work."
His mood changed 180 degrees when he thought about his '69 Shelby GT500, restored to concours condition and winner of the Mustang Club of America gold award.
"But boy I love that car. She's a beauty queen. I look at her in my garage and it brings a tear to my eye. I can't believe that's my car and it's in my garage. She gets the royal treatment from me, I tell you."
Candyapple Red Shelby GT500s do make quite an impression, especially when restored to perfection. People crowded around the concours Shelby at the 2010 Mid America Ford and Team Shelby Nationals in Tulsa. Joers towed the fastback almost 800 miles on a trailer from Waukesha, Wisconsin, and enjoyed the attention.
"There must have been 15 people around my car at one time," Scott reports. "One guy must have been there 40 minutes. He said the car was just unbelievable."
Joers recounted for us his travails of finding and buying just the right car. At the outset, he wanted a four-speed GT500. Scott's affection for the '69 Shelby started with his interest in '69-'70 muscle cars, like the '69 Z/28 Camaro and the '70 'Cuda/Challenger from the Mopar camp. But of all the '69-'70 muscle cars, Joers described the Shelby GT500 as "the most functional and artistically creative."
He mentioned front and rear fender scoops to cool the brakes, and the five scoops in the fiberglass hood, the center one for ram air and the other four to cool the engine compartment. Next, the GT500s had a great drivetrain with the 428 Cobra Jet big-block, four-speed Top Loader transmission, and a Ford nine-inch rear end with either a Traction-Lok or a Detroit Locker differential.
Scott's initial problem was finding and purchasing the car he had wanted for the last 25 years, ever since he sold his '69 Mach 1. "I'd save my money, like 80 grand. Then the value of '69 GT500s would go up to 100 grand. I'd save 100 grand and they would go up to 110. This was driving me insane. Well, four to five years ago they peaked out at 150."
In 2008, Scott caught up with the price curve, which trended down for a change. Shane Whiting was restoring a '69 GT500 in his shop, Whiting's Restoration in Oconto, Wisconsin. The owner needed to sell the car. Years ago, he had paid $35,000 for the Shelby, but would have an additional $100,000 or so in the cost of parts and labor for the total restoration.
Scott drove three hours to see the Shelby, which was 50 percent done. When he saw the car's quality, the time he spent searching out bad deals gave him the smarts to sniff out a good deal.
"The metal was smooth as glass," he says. "I didn't see any pits, and not the slightest rust anywhere. The car had all the original fiberglass hood and body panels."
Scott also had the car's provenance from day one. It was originally sold at Jerry Alderman Ford in Indianapolis.
The deal was simple. Joers said, "The owner wouldn't take less than his asking price. He said if I didn't take it, he'd look for another buyer. So I had to pull the trigger."
So Scott finally got the '69 Shelby GT500 of his dreams-Candyapple Red, four-speed, 3.50:1 Traction-Lok rear end, AM/FM stereo, tinted glass, and all the special Shelby components. Best of all, it was restored to concours perfection.
Scott doesn't forget the 25 years he spent saving money for the purchase and the trips to see cars that were not as advertised. As a consequence, he treats his dream Shelby like it's worth ten million bucks.