1969 Ford Mustang SportsRoof - Family Affair
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There is a lot to be said for getting your hands dirty working on a car with your son, or daughter. It’s usually a positive way to spend time together, and strengthen a relationship. Beyond the bonding experience, life lessons like hard work and problem solving are equally learned. In 2001, New Yorker George Riese, and his son Dennis, decided to tackle the father and son project that you see here. Dennis recalls, “My father and I bought this car in 2001. He heard about a ’69 Mustang that a guy in the neighborhood had that was for sale. We took a ride to see it the next day. The car was sitting in his driveway, uncovered, for many years, and it was a far cry from being road worthy.” Undaunted by the Mustang’s rough condition, Dennis further explains, “We bought the car knowing it needed a lot of work, but since my father restored cars as a hobby his whole life, he figured this would be the perfect car with which he could teach me the ins and outs of welding and restoration.”

For Dennis, this was his first opportunity to work on a car. At the time, he was balancing school, work, and the Mustang. George, on the other hand, devoted most of his time to working on the car. As the restoration progressed, they swapped out the grenaded 302ci mill for a 351ci Cleveland, and installed another C4 tranny. They also addressed some of the rust issues on the car and eventually got the Mustang in primer, to the point where it was ready for a coat of paint.

“A few days before it was going to get painted, my father got very sick,” Dennis recalls. “We went to the doctor and he was diagnosed with stage-four lung cancer. He passed away six weeks after being diagnosed.” As a result of the loss of his father, the Mustang ended up under a cover in Dennis’ driveway for the next eight years. In the back of his mind, the plan was to eventually start working on it at some point.


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