Clyde Beal: Angela Adams' Mustang not for sale
It may be fair to say that Angela Adams has been a certified "Tom Boy" ever since she was three years old. That was the year her Easter basket arrived using a most unusual mode of delivery. Few toddlers wake up on Easter morning and discover their Easter basket sitting in the driver's seat of a shiny Ford Mustang peddle car, but that's exactly what happened on Easter Sunday in 1971.
"For the next few years that little red Mustang pedal car took me to faraway places that only a child's imagination could travel," said Adams. "It was washed and waxed on a regular basis just like the family car. There were no doll houses for me, no tea sets, and few dolls. I used to have an Easy Bake oven which did cook up some nice cookies every now and then. But that pedal car was really something special to me. Why would I need dolls and dishes when I had the neatest collection of those high powered Hot Wheel cars? Just recently I gave that Hot Wheel collection to my two nieces; 5-year-old Amelia and 9-year-old Gwendolyn. They were both quite happy to get them."
So you begin wondering, if Adams didn't have the usual treasure chest full of all those toys you associate with girls --what exactly was it that occupied all of her free time? While the answer is really quite simple, garages, race tracks, junk yards and riding around with granddad in his wrecker tow truck.
"I just loved hanging around my grandfather's garage," said Adams. "He was an old school body man with common sense and the ability to fix cars up and make them whole again. I used to go with my father and grandfather to the race track up the Ohio River Road during the race season. Granddad would always take his welding equipment along with him. When one of the race cars would get busted up, it would be my father and granddad who welded it back together so the car could go back out on the track. There was always a lot of excitement going on in that pit area"
Most weekends Adams was off on another automotive adventure scouring the local junk yards for needed auto parts with her grandfather and dad. When the call came into granddad's garage for a tow truck, there was young Adams riding shotgun with granddad heading off to bring back another disabled car.
Did we mention that granddad was a Scoutmaster of a local Boy Scout troop? And yes she did, for a few years Adams attended those Boy Scout meetings and learned how to participate in the greased pig contest and tie those complicated nautical rope knots. She finally joined the Girl Scouts and stayed with it for five years.
As the teenage years began to accumulate, Adams began thinking about life with a full size street legal Mustang. It may have been her Aunt's burgundy 1968 Mustang that planted the seeds. Nonetheless her desire grew and grew quickly. At first it was only small talk around the dinner table. Eventually the conversation became so intense that dad succumbed to his daughter's dream and the search began for a full size Ford Mustang.
"I had friends looking far and wide for a Mustang suitable to restore," said Adams. "We were checking every lead that came in. Every weekend there was someplace to go and check on a Mustang. Mostly what we saw for sale were just rusted out clunkers. When you're looking at old cars for sale, you really need to be careful so you don't get something that will end up costing more than it's worth. Antique cars are always for sale for a reason. Many times when you find the true reason, you have already bought it. Some that we looked at I would have been ashamed to bring home."
Finally in May 2009 the call came that Adams was waiting to hear. A 1969 Mustang coupe was discovered in Greenup, Ky. It needed a lot of work, but basically it was a solid mostly rust free car. The car belonged to the second owner with the name of the original owner still on the title.
"After dad looked the car over he said it was a good choice," said Adams. "The owner had intended to restore it but ran into financial problems while building his home. He quoted a price and said he would not take any less, so we just towed it home."
For the next year, the '69 Mustang was nurtured back to life. This was no weekend project, it was every spare minute replacing rusty parts, new headliner, carpet, engine work, brakes, paint and a "zillion" other cosmetic and mechanical problems. Their deadline was the annual World of Wheels indoor auto show in 2010. And with the help of Combs Auto upholstery, the deadline was realized. The Mustang received third place in its class. A proud moment for a kid who just a few years back was blazing around the neighborhood sidewalks in a red Mustang pedal car.
"The car is never ever going to be for sale," said Adams. "It's already promised to my niece Gwendolyn. Amelia has been promised dad's antique truck. We call the car "Ice Cream" because every time we go out, we always stop for ice cream."
Each year there is a car show in Paintsville, Ky., where the Mustang's original owner's live. In fact, the show is right along College Street in the exact same neighborhood. Adams has a reserved parking spot right in front of the house of the original owner's. They always come out during the show to see how their old Mustang is doing.
So what kind of gas mileage does "Ice Cream" get? It was checked once, but with an annual mileage of less than 500 miles the only car that got better mileage was that red Mustang peddle car.
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