Home » I Was Told This Was A Famous NASCAR Driver’s Old Mustang: Cold Start

I Was Told This Was A Famous NASCAR Driver’s Old Mustang: Cold Start

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Remember yesterday, when I told you I was going to that big Mustang thing, so we should look at Big Mustangs? Well, that big event happened, and you’ll see some piping hot content about that soon, but also I realized that tiny dream and did encounter some of those Big Horse Mustangs I was going on and on about yesterday morning. I figured today I’d show one to you, because it has an interesting sort of feel to it, and I’m told it was once owned by a famous ex-NASCAR driver. Let’s look at this elegant alabaster beast!

This is a 1973 Mustang, firmly within that “Big Horse” era of Mustangs, when they grew so very large and massive. But there’s something about this one, which has been beautifully restored, something that makes this car feel oddly ethereal? Maybe that’s not the right word. But I think because of the white-on-white color scheme, with that white vinyl half top and those acres of shiny white sheet metal, the car takes on a weird and oddly appealing pious quality?

Vidframe Min Top
Vidframe Min Bottom

It kind of feels like a different sort of Popemobile, if, say, the Pope was really committed to doing donuts in the parking lot of the Dairy Queen on the Vatican’s premises.

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I mean, look at this thing; that white vinyl top definitely has a religious vestments sort of feeling, and it’s even got flying buttresses, for St.Francis’ sake.

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I’ve never been that interested in this era of Mustang until this week, I think. Well, my wife always liked the Mach Is of this era, so I had thought about them before in that context, but I sort of feel like I’m seeing them anew now.

The taillight design is interesting; the designers knew that the three-segment thing was somehow part of the Mustang identity, but this almost mothy/butterfly sort of take on it is, I think, unexpected? There’s a peculiar delicacy to the shapes, a biomorphism, that I wouldn’t expect. It’s the same with the badging, too:

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Look at that lovely, slightly angular script! This feels almost like classic signpainter lettering, with the bold vertical strokes and the more delicate diagonal connecting lines. I love it. I also cannot imagine a modern Mustang having badging like this today; I feel like for muscle-type cars now, the badge’s typography has to look like it was punched out of solid pumice by a bloody fist. This typography is more likely to invite you to an art opening than yell at you for being such a candy-ass.

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Oh, you probably want to know who the ex-NASCAR driver was who owned this car, once! I was told it was NASCAR hall of famer Rusty Wallace, and I assume that first name is short for “Rustford” or perhaps “Rustworthington.”

Want to see Rusty’s acceptance speech into the Hall of Fame? Sure you do:

Another interesting note about this Mustang:

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It’s one of the few cars I can think of that had mismatched bumpers, front to rear, from the factory. Out rear you saw a pretty conventional chrome bumper with black rubber impact strips; up front we have a body-colored Endura bumper! I guess this car is so long the designers figured you’d forget what the front bumper looked like by the time you got to the rear.

Man what a beefy, angelic Mustang!

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Marantzer
Marantzer
1 month ago

I had a 73 Grande’ with 351-4V Q-code. It had every option but power windows. With FMX auto and a 2.75 rear end it was not quick off the line but pulled like a rocket at highway speeds. If one has never sat in one, it felt like driving a torpedo with that long hood. I truly loved it.

Manwich Sandwich
Manwich Sandwich
1 month ago

Rusty Wallace… full name Russell William Wallace.

Now the thing is… can we be sure it was owned by the correct ‘Rusty’ Wallace? Or was it owned by one of the many other people who likely went by ‘Rusty’… such as Russel B Wallace…

https://www.whitepages.com/name/Russell-B-Wallace/Woodland-PA/P53WD52aL8G

Never forget about the Seinfeld JoHn Voight car story…
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Jv058WWaZdI

Vetatur Fumare
Vetatur Fumare
1 month ago

This is the Mustang Galadriel would drive.

Urban Runabout
Urban Runabout
1 month ago
Reply to  Vetatur Fumare

I was thinking it would be a great Mustang for Aziraphale – if it were a Grande.

What’s odd is selecting a white vinyl top (not a half-top – it’s a full “halo” top) on a white car that isn’t a Grande.

Vetatur Fumare
Vetatur Fumare
29 days ago
Reply to  Urban Runabout

Never heard of this character before, but I saw an old lady in NYC who was dressed just like that, under the impression she was color-coded, wearing all white.

Urban Runabout
Urban Runabout
29 days ago
Reply to  Vetatur Fumare

Aziraphale is a character in the Book of Genesis. He’s the angel of the flaming sword who guarded the Garden of Eden before Adam and Eve were cast out.
He’s played in “Good Omens” by Michael Sheen

We often saw Sharon Stone when she lived in San Francisco during the 90’s dressed similarly.

Theotherotter
Theotherotter
1 month ago

The mismatched bumpers are particular to ’73s – The bumper had to get bigger to meet the new 5mph impact standard, but the rear, which only had to meet a 2.5mph standard, got by with being spaced out a little bit on energy-absorbing mounts. ’71-’72 Mustangs had the same style bumper on the front as on the rear, either chrome or painted depending on trim level (rear was always chrome.) Challengers and Cudas also sometimes got painted front / chrome rear. Jason will also, of course, remember the ’73 Corvette, with its Endura nose and chrome-bumper rear.

Col Lingus
Col Lingus
1 month ago
Reply to  Theotherotter

I was hoping that someone would mention this fact. Thanks.

Sam I am
Sam I am
1 month ago
Reply to  Theotherotter

Yup, makes it easy to spot a ’73 model car whereas 74-76 are harder to differentiate. Something which occasionally makes me hit pause while watching Rockford Files.

Rust Buckets
Rust Buckets
1 month ago

Mismatched bumpers are fairly common on older base model pickups: for a long time, if you really cheaped out ordering a Ford, it would get a gray plastic grille instead of chrome, and often the front bumper would be a matching gray while the rear bumper was still chrome.

Either that, or they would put a chrome front bumper that just didn’t match the gray grille. Looks pretty goofy either way.

Shop-Teacher
Shop-Teacher
1 month ago

Whenever I see one of these “clydsdale” Mustangs, I always think of the start of the Top Gear Argentina special, where Hammond explains that they wanted the Mustang to be bigger, so they just made it bigger, and then he opens the hood to reveal a huge gap of nothingness between the grill and the core support.

Michael Beranek
Michael Beranek
1 month ago

I think these 71-73 “fat” Mustangs are misunderstood. While they did lose some handling prowess, it’s not like old Mustangs were ever great handlers. Making them so large was just a part of where the whole industry was going in 1970.
THIS one is a total looker, and I love the “pontif” options.

Hoonicus
Hoonicus
1 month ago

Man,Jason, you’ve really been working on my emotions and nostalgia with these. Picked up an emerald green with white top 72 convertible with strait 6 when I was 22 back in 86 and kept it for ten years, then got a bronze 73 Grande with 351C. They still stir me, but not enough to justify current values.

Duane Cannon
Duane Cannon
1 month ago

Look for a pencil with bite marks in the glovebox, then trick Rusty into biting your arm to see if they match. It’s the only way to know for sure.

Hamish48
Hamish48
1 month ago
Reply to  Duane Cannon

I’ve never understood how the value of something is enhanced by a previous owner on the list, or even why that would bear mention. I mean, except possibly for famous race cars, who cares?

OverlandingSprinter
OverlandingSprinter
1 month ago
Reply to  Hamish48

The present owner of a 1993 Bronco XLT owned by Al Cowlings is asking $1.5 million for the vehicle. That doesn’t answer your implied question, but it’s a data point.

Lew Schiller
Lew Schiller
1 month ago

I like how the stadium seats are multi colored so it looks populated even when it’s not.
Oh – and the Mustang is sweet.

Jakob K's Garage
Jakob K's Garage
1 month ago

I just like that nobody cared about panel alignment, during the restoration process, especially visible between hood and front fender, but the trunk lid’s also a bit off.

Rollin Hand
Rollin Hand
1 month ago

That’s OK. Ford didn’t care either.

Adrian Clarke
Adrian Clarke
1 month ago

They were shit when new – limited by the manufacturing processes and technology of the time. It does bug me when I see high dollar restorations with bad surfacing and unaligned panels (all of them) because it’s the sort of thing a designer spots right away.

Martin English
Martin English
29 days ago

In FACTORY FRESH condition.

No low ballers, I know what I got.

Flyingstitch
Flyingstitch
1 month ago

The rear bumper looks like they almost forgot, and they slapped on the first one they could find as it rolled off the line.

Matt Hardigree
Matt Hardigree
1 month ago

Rusty Wallace! I gotta take everyone here to a NASCAR race.

Matt DeCraene
Matt DeCraene
1 month ago

“It’s one of the few cars I can think of that had mismatched bumpers, front to rear, from the factory.“

As was the style at the time…

The same year Corvette had similar mismatched bumpers. I think it fits better on the Corvette though, since the bumper is more integrated into the front end.

Urban Runabout
Urban Runabout
1 month ago
Reply to  Matt DeCraene

Pretty much every American car in 1973 had tight 2.5mph bumpers at the rear, and large 5mph bumpers at the front.

The ones with the body-color front bumpers were

Chevrolet Chevelle Laguna & Corvette
Pontiac GrandAm & Firebird
Ford Mustang
Dodge Challenger Rallye

Arch Duke Maxyenko
Arch Duke Maxyenko
1 month ago

The mid-mod Mustang script is fantastic and the car most certainly cannot be worn after Labor Day.

Urban Runabout
Urban Runabout
1 month ago

Pussywillows

Slirt
Slirt
29 days ago
Reply to  Urban Runabout

Perfect; thank you for my morning chuckle!

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