By on March 16, 2012

Most car guys dream about the ultimate car deal, but reality is a cruel master in the old car game. These dreams often center around mint, well-stored barn finds with less than 1000 miles on the clock.

The mint barn find scenario is found within the range of “possible.” Read on to learn what usually happens in one of those ultimate car deals.

Curt Barton knew about this 1970 Mustang Mach 1 since he was a kid. One day, car guy fate rang the doorbell, as Curt’s son John reports:

In the summer of 1998 Doug came to the door, proposing a trade of the tool box for his project Mustang. Curt didn’t hesitate to say yes as it was a car he grew up seeing as teenager.”

This wasn’t a pristine car and Curt knew that it would be a major job, so he did what most car guys do in similar circumstances. He jumped into the project with both feet. Or as John explains:

“The restoration started shortly thereafter as the passion to get it on the road was never-ending.”

The easiest part of any restoration is the beginning, but as anyone experienced with a major project realizes, the road to completion is long and arduous. According to John,

“It went through its ups and downs, everything from shortage or parts and funds to the lack of employment and a place to work on it.”

Eventually, circumstances tilt towards the car guy in any successful project, and this Mach 1 was no exception as John explains:

“Becoming self-employed at least worked out the problem of where to work on it.”

Despite the stock look of this Mach 1, Curt wanted to make this Mustang his own personal statement, so he started to design the finished product to suit his own vision for the car. John explains this process:

“The search was on for some rare options to add to the car as Curt didn’t want this to be just another 1970 Mach 1. To finish off the list of the rare options, a special order color was chosen to go with the ivy green interior.”

By car project standards, this car was nearly a basket case, but eventually an abundance of talent, perseverance, hard work and of course, money can make a car look like it just came out of the showroom. The finished product came about 6 years later, almost to the day Curt had received the car.

The fun begins long before the project ends in many cases, but ultimately the goal is simple – put the car back on road and drive the wheels off it. John was pleased to report that his Dad has this covered after all the work on the Mach 1:

“From that day on, Curt has put on many miles including trips to the United States for car shows and all around Western Canada.”

Curt is still in the auto body business, and he’s recognized as a serious talent in that arena. His favorite project will always be the “toolbox for a Mach 1 Mustang”. This true-life ultimate car deal couldn’t have happened without a lot more hard work and talent than luck.

The lesson is simple. Mint ultimate car deals are more myth than fact.

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15 Comments on “Car Collector’s Corner A 1970 Mustang Mach 1 Gets Traded For a Tool Box. The Reality Behind the Ultimate Car Deal...”

  • avatar

    Congratulations on a beautiful resto. Most project cars never see the light of day.

  • avatar

    Fantastic! My first car was a ’69 Mach I, and if I had Curt’s talent and persistence, I would have another. As I don’t – I don’t. But I can appreciate guys like Curt and what he has accomplished.

  • avatar
    Mark MacInnis

    My first ride was a 1970 Boss 302, the same Grabber Blue as is popular on the current model ‘Stang. (See my avatar?)

    This was back in 1976, and you must understand, that was not a popular color for the 1970 Mustangs and Mach 1’s. The more popular colors were yellow, butterscotch, red and black. Did I keep that bitch Blue Coral’ed to within an inch of it’s life all year long? Bet your ass….

    I remember clearly one bizarre and magical night, after several hours of partying hearty with my mates, consuming drinkables and smokables. I was easing the Mustang home a few hours before dawn’s early light, rolling barely above an idle, really… the better to not wake up the local John Law-types cooping in their patrol cars.

    I turned down a side residential street in good ‘ol Allen Park, MI. And wonder of wonders, surreal of surreals, AN IDENTICAL Mustang rolls by. We each roll 30 feet further past before we simultaneously brake…I remember seeing his brakelights go on at the exact second I pressed the pedal, and I thought, in my inebbriated haze, “This is either a bitchin’ good THC-fueled hallucination or the friggin’ COOLEST mirror ever.”

    We both simultaneously engaged reverse and rolled back next to each other, side-by-side in the false dawn grayness. What followed was about 30 minutes of what can only be described as a complete automotive bullshit session, which only muscle-car guys could truly appreciate, as we bragged-on and compared our cars. Mine had an aftermarked Holley 780 cfm dual feed 4 bbl carburetor, so OF COURSE, he had to see it. So right there, we got out, I undid the hood-clip wires and popped the bonnet and removed the air-filter cover so he could see it….His had a slightly nicer Pony interior, so of course I had to crawl in and inspect that….

    We stayed there and bantered rapturously back-and-forth about the fine points and minute details of our respective rides until the neighbors began waking up, stirring about and starting their daily commutes…what a sight we must have been to them…an impromptu mini-Motorama right in middle of their street. After about the third neighborhood dad honked at us and flipped us off, we shook hands, got in our cars. Sober now, we both revved up and hole-shotted away, leaving near-identical tire-marks on the concrete street in our car-guy exuberance. Had to have woken up the remaining sleeping people in the neighborhood as 604 cubic inches of Cleveland’s finest engines howled off into the morning, Bob Seger’s Live Bullet blasting out of my 6×9 speakers….

    Never saw the guy again. A year later, I was foolish enough to swap my Boss for a ’73 Mach I. Hey, I was 17, and at that age, you think great cars are gonna keep coming into your life every couple of years for forever….

    Miss that car alot.

    But I still have the memories.

    My son drives an Explorer. Somehow, I don’t think it’ll be the same for him….

  • avatar

    “It went through its ups and downs, everything from shortage or parts and funds to the lack of employment and a place to work on it.”

    I could write a book!

    Congratulations, Curt from someone who actually restored a car. Unless I win the Powerball, I won’t be doing that again.

  • avatar
    Japanese Buick

    My biggest complaint about this story is NO PICTURES OF THE IVY GREEN INTERIOR!!

    c’mon man, what are you some kinda tease?

    • 0 avatar

      I’m guessing that you are one of those people that would starve to death without a can opener ;) The story has a link to the originating website.

    • 0 avatar

      A friend of mine had a red ’70 fastback that came with the Ivy Green interior. It had been resprayed red from the original Highland Green. The black interior in my ’69 Mach I was much nicer. The green interior was awful…

    • 0 avatar

      We have a good interior shot of the car on our site if you scroll down the page on our site a bit to the Mustang for toolbox story title in red.

  • avatar

    When I was a college student in Des Moines, Iowa, in 1957, I visited a fellow license plate collector, Robert Linville, who was also a car collector in Winterset, Iowa. He had just bought a 1935 Ford 5-window coupe from the widow of the original owner. He had died shortly after buying the car, and she had put it away in the barn. It was black with an apple green stripe, and when I saw it it appeared to be in mint condition, still bearing its original 1935 Iowa license plates. I don’t remember the mileage on the car, but it was certainly low.

    The reason stories about the mint-condition low-mileage barn find continue to circulate is because some of them are true.

  • avatar

    Beautiful job, beautiful piece of Americana.

  • avatar

    Lemme’ win the Lottery for a few million bucks and I MAY share the pics of the early 70s 340 Duster I buy and the 1969 V8 2-door Dart.

    Already restored to optimum condition, of course.

    I may even allow you to briefly touch them.

    Now, off the shanty’s dirt and weeds ye neer-do-wells.

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