Congratulations to Paul Wilbanks!
Paul’s write-up is as follows:
My fascination with Mustangs started when my brother bought a 1964 Ford Mustang. He was 12 years older than me and I looked up to him. I remember driving around the neighborhood with him and just being the talk of town in that Mustang. My brother would drive that car all over the place. He would even take it from northern Georgia to Daytona and Miami on a weekend. Once I got a little older and started driving he would let me drive the Mustang. I remember having such a blast driving that thing. Unfortunately, he sold it off for almost nothing when he was done with it.
Fast forward to 1988. My family was complete as we had four children and it seemed that there was less time in the day than there was money. I started to get the itch for a Mustang of my own. I didn’t really have the time to work on a car and restore one, so buying a 1964 like my brother had was out of the question. So, on my birthday in November I decided to buy a brand-new Fox Body Mustang. I ordered the early 1989 Mustang so that it matched the 1964 my brother had as close as possible. It had the V8, leather, convertible top, manual gear shift and was the closest color available to what my brother had on his.
I pretty much drove my Mustang from 1989 to 1998. Following in my brother’s footsteps I allowed people in my family to drive the Mustang, so they could experience it as well. Unfortunately, when my daughter was a senior in high school (twenty years ago), she got in an accident with the Mustang. Luckily, she and everyone else involved were okay, but the Mustang was technically totaled. I had it towed to my garage where it sat for about a year. Not being much of a mechanical type person, I started taking an auto repair class at Lanier Tech in Gainesville, Georgia. During my classes I learned a few tricks of the trade, which I would take home and apply to the destroyed Mustang. Over the next few months, I replaced the convertible top, bezels, weatherstripping, moldings, door panels, carpet, leather upholstery, emblems and tons of trim parts among other things. Shortly into my work, I realized I was not meant to be an auto body mechanic, so I left that work up to a nearby auto body shop. With the rebuild, I tried to keep it as it was in 1989. I still have Norwest Automotive in Sugar Hill GA maintain the motor. They keep it in top running condition. Before I sent it to Norwest, the motor was leaking about anyplace that held fluid, but they managed to seal it all up for me and keep it running like a top.
During my time with the Mustang, my wife has gifted me gift certificates to Mustangs Unlimited and bought me a few gift type items from you guys. The next thing I would like to get from you is a set of shocks, springs and struts.
I love driving the car. I joined the Northeast Georgia Mustang Club, so I could be around like-minded people. It is rare that I take the car out and do not get thumbs up or someone telling me that they love the car or that they knew someone who used to have one just like it. It is great feeling knowing that I know such a great piece of Americana and that I played a part in restoring it after the accident. I am looking forward to the many miles ahead!
— Paul Wilbanks