Lord Mr. Ford, I just wish that you could see
What your simple horseless carriage has become
Well it seems your contribution to man
To say the least, got a little out of hand
Well, Lord Mr. Ford what have you done
Jerry Reed - “Lord, Mr. Ford”
The Blue Oval Rally, sponsored by Midwest Blue Oval Club, took place on 4th Street last Saturday morning and early afternoon. As 60s music such as the Who’s “I Can See For Miles” blared out of the speakers, cars started arriving early morning, lining both sides of the street. There was a little bit of everything to see, from Ford Shelbys and various power Mustangs, a Torino, Fairlanes, a Cougar, F-150s and everything in-between. One thing was certain—these Ford car and truck enthusiasts are particular when it comes to a love of high rpms, smooth transmissions, profiles designed for speed, and Ed “Big Daddy” Roth-like custom candy paint jobs.
They speak their own language. You could call it “parts-speak” and unless you’re into motors and carburetors, you walk away dazed and confused. There is almost a reverent admiration for the time-lines of particular car and truck models and what they could accomplish on the street, drag strip or race track. But looks—the sleek profiles—are just as important as performance.
For most of the entrants, car shows are the culmination of what is or has been an intense hobby and is indicative of the love many car and truck enthusiasts have towards owning and restoring a particular model. There is always another vehicle in some shed, garage or back-40, in various stages of restoration—works in progress, enduring the shake of the head of wives that don’t understand the depth of attraction for a four-barrel carburator and a rusted side panel.
Here’s a few profiles of some of the trucks, cars and their owners, telling a little about why they do what they do.
1966 Mustang convertible
Mark Mundwiller is dexterous. He likes to build stuff and grew up re-building engines in the basement of his dad’s law office. His first vehicle was a 1976 Ford F-250 Highboy 4-wheel drive truck. Next to his wife, this truck was the love of his life in his high school years, going to truck pulls, blaring George Thorogood’s “Bad to the Bone,” from the truck’s speakers. Seven days after buying this truck he turned it over.
“I totally rebuilt it and put a 428 in it,” he explained. “It came new with a 6-cylinder, but I wanted the 428 and used it on the farm and for truck pulls, eventually running in the Pro-Stock Class for the next 25 years. “We pulled at every county fair in the state, then,” he says. He called it the “Mule-skinner” and sold it six years ago. He says it’s still pulling down in Texas.
At the Blue Oval event he was showing off his 1966 Mustang convertible, painted a beautiful silver-blue.
“My dad bought this off of a used car lot in Cuba, Mo. in 1975,” he said. “It has the in-dash factory AM radio-8-track player, factory air conditioning and the two-tone blue and white Pony interior is all original.”
The engine is a 289 with an Edelbrock aluminum intake and a factory Autolite carburetor.
Mark put a sign leaning on the air filter, under the open hood of the car, reading, “I met my wife in this car, and 37 years later, I still have both!”
Mark drove the convertible around Hermann, even taking it up to Mizzou, where he was going to school.
“In the summer of ’82, I put a cooler in the trunk and it was always full,” he explained. “The only time we took it out, was to drain the water out. The top was never up the whole summer and I just ran the wheels off this thing.”
It was driven by other family members, as time moved on and it was totally restored in Monett, Mo. by his dad (still the owner) in 1994.
“I re-built the engine at that time and we had the transmission re-built,” he said. “I ended up buying it from him in 1996. I didn’t want to let it go because it has a lot of sentimental value.”
1954 Ford F-100
Aiden Morris is just starting to get caught up in the affliction of car and truck restoration and it’s evident he’s hooked. He loves to locate parts at salvage yards, turn wrenches and cruise the streets after dark, turning on his LED underglow lighting system that probably makes his old truck resemble a purple or lime-green landing ship from another planet—particularly when the “strobe-mode” is turned on.
He found his 1954 Ford F-100 through an ad on Craig’s List and had it picked up in Macon, Mo., a couple years ago.
“This truck is on an ’83 frame and had this motor in it,” he said. “It’s a Bone-stock 302 (V-8), with chrome valve covers, custom air cleaner, headers and dual glass-pack exhausts.
“That gives it a little bit of cackle-growl,” he says. “It’s a three speed [transmission] with overdrive.”
He’s got an ’83 gas tank installed in the truck and he fills it towards the rear of the truck bed. He has to pay attention to the gas gauge because it functions in reverse, meaning if the gauge shows a full tank, it is really running on empty.
Aiden says he’s been fooling with cars ever since he can remember. “I was just looking for something I could drive that was already running, where I could just do whatever I wanted to do with it.”
Parts hunting for old cars can be a black hole because many parts aren’t made anymore for cars that have become obsolete on today’s streets. All restorers have their favorite sources and Aiden is no different. He doesn’t necessarily guard his sources because the car restoration community help one another out. Though they can be very particular about how things are done, it’s a very open and gregarious group of enthusiasts.
“I know a guy with a junk yard in Salem and he’s got every car you could possibly name [for parts],” he says.
He says he’ll be driving this truck to school on nice days, but until then, he likes to cruise the back roads.
“The steering wheel is a little touchy—it’s got some play in it, but it drives really smooth at about 45 mph,” he shares.
He’s already started another project. He’s doing body work on a 1973 Plymouth Scamp. A couple days before the Rally he bought a ’75 gold Plymouth Duster.
The A-C asked Aiden if car restoration was in his blood.
1970 Ford Maverick
Ron Stark’s first car was a 1973 Ford Mach One Mustang. He liked the fact that the car had a Cleveland engine in it and he’d punch it on the lonely north Mo. highways while listening to AC DC’s It’s a Long Way to the Top (If you Wanna Rock and Roll). According to Hagerty.com, “the 351 Cleveland lasted longer than some, giving the 1970–73 Mustang a robust gallop while becoming a semi-legend among Ford buffs. It also became a formidable force in Pro Stock drag racing.”
He pointed to the engine in the Maverick and called it “its little brother—the Boss 302.”
According to Hagerty, the 1970 Maverick was advertised at getting 22 mpg, it weighed 2,411 pounds, and sold for $1,995. Ron’s brother found this car in New York.
“It’s an old B-Super Mod and it competed in NHRA (National Hot Rod Association) drag racing,” he said.
Ron has a large shop fully equipped with every tool you could think of and more.
“That’s the hobby of it, to me,” he says. “It (his shop) looks like a Ford warehouse, because I’ve gathered parts all my life.”
He rebuilt this car as a street legal B-Super Mod and quite frankly, Ron’s parts-speak left this A-C reporter at his “X-E heads” explanation. He found and used original parts, many that were in his parts collection. It took him a couple years to rebuild this Maverick, investing 800 to 900 hours in it.
Racing and restoring cars for racing has always been a huge part of Ron’s life.
“I’ve always been a gear head,” he explains. “I got hooked at 14.”
Ron turned 16 in 1977 and muscle cars were seen on the roads everywhere.
His first drag strip race was in 1979 in Keokuk, Iowa and he won.
“Back home there was nothing to do, so the drag strip is where you went (Thunder Valley Raceway),” he said.
He is still drag racing a Ford Thunderbird.
“There was a Boss Mustang in my town where I grew up (Mercer), there were Mach One’s and other breeds, so I was just a Ford-man from Day One,” he shared.
Ron likes going to car shows because everybody is a “car guy.” He says most people that come up to him want to know about his motor in this Maverick.
“They don’t know what they’re looking at,” he says. Most of these Ford guys know what they’re looking at, but if I take this anywhere else, they don’t know what I have under there. It would look odd to you if you haven’t been around racing.”
He says his Maverick is very popular on the car show circuit. He doesn’t build them to impress people—he just loves cars. Ron had been working on a lot of different Mustangs so this was a diversion for him. His girlfriend wasn’t initially impressed, but after he “dolled it up with some muscle trim,” she liked the transformation.
“If I do another car, it’s going to be a ’58 Fairlane—I love ’58 Fairlanes.”