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And They Called It Puppy Love.....


Take a look at this great story about a love affair with a Mustang.....



And They Called It Puppy Love

By Terry Kohl

Last year was Lisa Becker’s 30th Anniversary.  Back in 1973 no one would have believed that teenage love could last so long. Ah, but what do they know, those who have never felt the pangs of young passion!  But then again, this young love involved not only good looks and muscle but steel, chrome, ... and a 351 Windsor.


Lisa’s brother was instrumental in introducing this fated pair. A friend of his had a Mustang, a ‘68 White Coupe, and Lisa really liked the look.
   A local dealership, Courtesy Ford in Altoona, PA, (then Jack Beasley Ford) had a ‘68 Fastback for her to test drive but by the time she arrived it had been sold.  They also had the ‘69 Mach I on the lot and after that test drive, well, trite but true, it was love at the first mile. She still has the original sales slip that marks her first date, $1,487.
   Lisa and her Mach I had 10 years of togetherness before she stored the car in her father’s barn. She wanted to restore it and not put any more miles on it until that could take place. In 1993, money saved, she began the work.  Carlisle swap meets and junk yards became weekly haunt’s as she searched for parts.

Unfortunately, Lisa had her share of problems.  For nearly 2 years (and through two body shops) the car was pushed aside with little to nothing being accomplished.  In one case, and after 15 months of excuses as to why the project was not moving forward, Lisa and her brother confronted the owner.  The garage had clearly bitten off more than they could chew.
   Ricko’s to the rescue! In scavenging for parts, Lisa ran into the owner of Ricko’s Auto who made it clear that he would get the job done.  That included adding parts, all the finishing trims, wiring and emblems, the stripe kit and blackout on the hood.

Helsel’s Upholstery in East Freedom, PA recovered the cars hi-backed seats in factory correct woven vinyl and did the carpeting work.
   The engine and tranny work was done by Ken Imler’s Machine Shop in East Freedom, PA.  The engine is a 351 Windsor.  351 Windsor’s are really slightly enlarged 289/302, as it’s name implies it comes from Fords “Windsor” engine family (aka the 90-degree V engine family). The thin-wall cast SMALL BLOCK accepts regular sized spark plugs, uses a timing chain in the block, routes water through the intake manifold, features thin main-bearing caps, a very good oiling system, and uses the same heads for 2V & 4V versions. The heads are small, utilizing in-line valves with relatively small ports. The valves are 1.78” intake and 1.54” exhaust, i.e., the same size as a 289/302.  The valve covers are straight (front to rear), attached by 5 bolts, and when removed you can see 351 cast in the lifter valley. The small side-by side (in-line) valves are the dead give-away. Ken Imler installed new pistons, rings, cam & lifters, oil pump, timing set, gaskets and seals, cam, rod and main bearings.

By early 1997, the restoration was nearly complete.  Lisa went to her insurance company, The Travelers, to have the car insured.  They referred her to a collector vehicle insurance provider by the name of American Collectors Insurance (ACI), ACI has provided antique, classic and modified collector vehicles with specialized, low-cost coverage for over 25 years.  Their national program is recognized for excellent service and ease of doing business by insurance companies who are themselves recognized for service excellence - companies such as USAA, Amica and AIG.
   Lisa was smart, took Traveler’s advice, and purchased an annual “Agreed Value” policy from American Collectors for just $142.  The alternative would have been a more expensive, “Actual Cash Value” auto policy which pays “replacement cost minus depreciation”? not, Travelers knew, the coverage Lisa’s classic Mustang needed.  Agreed Value coverage recognizes collector vehicle value and guarantees the vehicle’s full insured value in the event of total loss.

Lisa has owned seven other Mustangs between the years of 1967-1975, but none compare to her first love. She has been awarded 5 trophies so far, including one for People’s Choice in the Classic Car Division out of 126 cars. She is constantly being asked (by men, no surprise) where the owner is.  Many are in disbelief when she tells them they’re lookin’ at her!
   The “Central PA Stang Gang”, a member run club for Mustang lovers of all years, welcomed Lisa into the “herd” in 2002. They gather for cruises, (one last year that Lisa helped put together was to the site of the 9/11 crash in Somerset, PA), picnics, and an all Ford cruise each August.  The year ends with a Christmas Party reminiscing over the past summer and planning the next.  Lisa’s car is the only ‘69 in the club.
   Would she sell?  Not on your life. The car is a member of the family as much as her kids and with all that history and love invested she’s looking forward to another 30 years together!
   On your Mach.... get set, go! 


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