Ed Meyer introduced me to Bill Hamilton at last summer's Ford Nationals in Carlisle, Pennsylvania. Bill was there to reunite with his old ride, a '70 Super Cobra Jet convertible. I got up to speed on what was going on.
"You own this Mustang?" I asked.
"No, I bought the car in 1973 when it had 40,000 miles," Bill replied.
The then 21-year-old kept the car 3-1/2 years. In 1977, he sold the SCJ when he entered the Air Force. Today, he lives in Charleston, South Carolina, where he continues to drive Mustangs. His current ride is a '11 Shelby G.T. 500.
I wanted to know the story. Who found this car? Where did it come from? Then I heard that name again, Boston Bob.
Hamilton said, "I met Bob at Carlisle back in 2003 or 2004. He had his gold '69 Cobra Jet convertible on display. I told him I used to own a '70 CJ convertible and I don't think he believed me. Mine had been Calypso Coral and a factory Drag Pack car. And he started getting excited. He said he knew the car and had been chasing it for years."
Boston Bob Brisbois has tracked down more '70 Cobra Jet convertibles than anybody. They are his passion. As strange as it may seem, he actually had the VIN from Hamilton's old '70 SCJ convertible. Boston Bob was smitten with the thought of finding one not only with the rare Drag Pack but also with the 4.30:1 Detroit Locker rear axle.
As collectors know, Ford's infamous "Drag Pack" option is what turned a 428 Cobra Jet into a Super Cobra Jet in the '69-'70 model years. The Drag Pack consisted of either a 3.91 or 4.30 rear axle, oil cooler, cap-screw connecting rods, modified flywheel, and modified damper.
Ford did not recommend the 4.30:1 Detroit Locker for the street, so most Super Cobra Jets came with V-code 3.91 gears. Today, collectors are waking up to the rarity of the cars with the W-code 4.30 gears
According to Bruce Klier, who runs an unofficial registry of CJ owners, Ford built 47 Cobra Jet Mustang convertibles for '70, not counting 90 Shelby G.T. 500s. Of the 47, just nine were Super Cobra Jets. Of those nine SCJs, only two came with the 4.30 Detroit Locker rear axle. The remaining seven SCJs came with 3.91 Traction-Lok.
One of those Mustangs was this Calypso Coral convertible. The other W-code '70 convertible is lost.
Hamilton knew a friend who could run the VIN. In short order, he found the car registered in Lancaster, Pennsylvania, to the same man who bought the car from him for $1,600 34 years earlier. (If that sounds cheap, consider that Hamilton bought the car for just $850 from a used car lot in Brunswick, Georgia, in 1973). Thirty-some years later, Hamilton was calling the same man to inquire about the car. One of the potential buyers was someone Hamilton referred to as "Jazz."
I wondered who Jazz was. Hamilton did not know if he should say, just as he did not know if he should reveal the name of the owner in Pennsylvania. But I could talk to Ed Meyer, the Huntingburg, Indiana, Mustang guru and car show judge of national repute.
Ed said, "We call him Jazz. His real name is Jim Jasinski."
I remembered Jim from a shoot of his Boss 429 at the 2006 Mid America Shelby Meet in Tulsa. Jasinski got into the hobby in 2002 and in 2005 enlisted the help of Meyer to track down dream Mustangs. In the medical supply business in Birmingham, Alabama, Jasinski is making a name for himself in the hobby. He likes to call Meyer by the title "professor."
Hamilton said, "Jazz wanted me to go up to Pennsylvania with him, so he sent me an airline ticket, paid my hotel bills, and we were up there for a couple of days."
The body was rusted in the "normal places. The 428 Super Cobra Jet fired up, but knocked.
Although Jasinski did not make a deal during that first meeting in 2007, he verified the authenticity of the Rare Find. He, his wife, and kids also built a relationship with the married couple that owned the Mustang.
"This was never about money," Jasinski said of the eventual purchase in 2011. Instead, he looked at the purchase more as a process of taking over the reins of the valuable Mustang. As a collector, he promised to "do right" with the restoration of a car that for over 30 years had been more of a family member than pure steel and glass.
Meyer is currently busy with that task. In the process, Meyer learned that this '70 is a "Brass Tag" Mustang.
Professor Meyer is on the case. I credit him for introducing this new term to the hobby. Apparently, Ford affixed a brass tag to the radiator support of special order cars bound for company executives. Ed says that Ford also had brass keys for these executive vehicles.
According to the Marti Report, this SCJ convertible went straight to Ford World Headquarters and one "J Burns," as stamped into the tag. Professor Meyer is using his considerable brainpower and resources to decode "300-L-062," also stamped into the tag. Ed believes "300" refers to the 300th day of the year while "L" is the month. But he does not have a clue what "062" means. (Perhaps this Mustang is the 62nd Brass Tag car built for company executives for the '70 model year?)
We plan a full feature on the finished car. Meyer believes Brass Tag Fords, usually luxury Lincolns, were loaded. In addition to the 428 SCJ, apparently this convertible has every available option and accessory.
If anybody can decode the brass tag or has information on "J Burns," please send an email to firstname.lastname@example.org. I'd also like to hear word of other Brass Tag Mustangs, as well. I will pass along the information to Professor Meyer in Room 428 at the Mustang University, Huntingburg campus.
Bill Hamilton with the W-code...
Bill Hamilton with the W-code '70 convertible in 1973.