J&J Mustang Restorations
Jack Sharp, 47
Mustangs? To me, that's the dream car. It's lightweight. It'll outrun Chevrolets or Camaros -- well, the older Camaro. And body style! It's my No. 1 car. It's easy to look at. You drive a Mustang on the road and you get some looks, I'll tell you.
The first year they come out, early in 1965, I was about 11 years old. It was -- to me it was a different car than anybody else had out there. It was just real sporty-looking. You was cool to have a Mustang then.
I got started fooling with them in 1971. It started off as just mechanical work, just keeping them on the road. I had three on the highways at one time. Back then I was a welder at work -- a fabricator, making parts for machinery. So that carried over for the Mustangs. All I do is Mustangs.
I worked at a paper mill on Tredegar Street for 17 years. I had been working toward the Mustang business for five years by then, so when the mill shut down I got four months of severance pay, and that was perfect. It got me started. I started checking body shops. Now, what I heard was, "Everybody paints 'em, nobody wants to deal with rust." So I said, A-ha!
I like to work on them to keep them on the road, because once they're crushed that car is gone forever. They'll never be able to cruise down the road and get someone like us to look at it.
And people love their Mustangs. They call 'em babies. You know, "Can you fix my baby up?" People with the little Jap cars, the new cars, you don't see them wash and wax them and put that touch on them like they did with the old Mustangs. You don't hear anybody call the little Jap cars their babies.
I had one car that was a total wreck. It was a '67 convertible that was rusted real bad. I thought the thing was going to fold in half getting in my garage. I put in new frame rails, new floor pans and an inner rocker, to give it strength. I call it taking a windshield and building a car around it. To try and weld in new metal and keep the car straight and true -- that was a real challenge. But I got it so it was safe enough to drive up and down the road. It's even stronger than when it was new.
The newer Mustangs, you know, they're fine. But they're a long ways from being like the old Mustang. The old Mustang was a simple car. It didn't have any computer and plastic junk. To me, if you was going to give a brand-new car, I'd rather have a '65 Mustang than a 2001 Mustang.
My wife was asking me to put air conditioning in her '66, but I was just too busy. So she went out and bought a new-model Mustang. I was surprised, but it was all right, you know. We've been married for 20 years, but if she had drove down the road in a Chevrolet, I'd have divorced her.