Steve Austin and wife Eileen at Ford Performance driving school.
If you own a classic car in the Lone Star state, there’s a good chance Jimmy Austin of Wylie, Texas, has seen it, judged it, sold it or owned it.
“Growing up during the height of the classic muscle car era, my first car was a 1963 Corvair convertible automatic, which I blew up. It was 1967 and a friend of mine’s Dad was a used car salesman that had just taken the ’65 Mustang convertible in on trade. We worked a deal at around $1,500 and I flipped burgers for $1.10 an hour all through high school to pay for it. My ‘love affair’ started with my second car in high school—a 1965 Tropical Turquoise Mustang convertible, four-speed.”
The Austin’s 1932 Ford Hiboy Roadster (named “Eye Candy”) at Dallas Autorama 2006 and 2007.
Jimmy’s addiction would continue to grow while running a successful auto parts business for nearly 30 years and later as an insurance agent. “I wasn’t always faithful (to Fords) as I’ve owned close to 50 collector type cars. Probably three of my most memorable non-Fords were a 1970 Buick GSX (which I showed and raced back in the ’70s and early ’80s), a 1981 Delorean that I bought new, and a 1969 Hemi Roadrunner that I owned in the late ’90s.
The Austin corral at one time consisted of a pink pony, an 1,800-mile ’84 GT, and four K-code coupes!
In Jimmy’s free time, if you can imagine him having much of it, he was also associated with the Dallas Autorama for over 35 years and just stepped down as the show’s chairman for the past eight years. “I was also a judge and judging supervisor for the International Show Car Association for around 20 years in the ’80s and ’90s” he explained.
Though Jimmy still sells insurance, he decided a few years back to remain faithful to his other true love not named Eileen—Mustangs. As you might expect from this Texans collection, It’s bigger and better than most. Having stuffed a whopping four ’65-’67 K code Mustangs into his garage, Austin found room for an additional ’67 Dusk Rose coupe and a 1984 GT convertible, which he special ordered and put into storage inside his auto parts store with just 1,800 miles on the clock!
Though a little space opened up briefly after a couple of the highly sought after K-codes found new homes, a 1986 Mustang SVO in Oxford White with 40,000 miles and a 2012 Yellow Blaze Boss 302, found in 2014 with just over 700 miles, became worthy stablemates.
And what about that other empty space aching to be filled?
“I had ordered a 2016 Shelby GT350 R from a dealer in Louisiana the first day the order banks opened in June 2015 and then waited for my dream car to arrive. Seven months later the dealer informed me that they’d made a mistake and did not have an allocation for an R. My order had been cancelled and deposit refunded. I was devastated,”Austin explained. “I had sold two other K-codes (a black ’65 Coupe and a blue ’66 coupe) along with a Dusk Rose (Pink) 1967 Coupe in order to pay for the car. I discussed the situation with a gentleman at Ford who I had met at a couple of national Mustang shows. He graciously commented that there was not much he could do to help with an R allocation. He did talk to some other folks at Ford for me and about a month later they called and were kind enough to extend me a VIP order for an R. They would build to my specs and deliver to the dealer of my choice.”
Some more of Jimmy's toys: A 2016 Shadow Black GT 350R with blue over-the-top stripes and a Yellow Blaze 2012 Boss 302.
Austin says he hasn’t missed on many cars he really wanted, “I’m a believer that if one gets away then another, nicer one is soon to follow. What my wife hates to hear me say is ‘I’ve always wanted one of those.’ I’d still like to add A ’69-’70 Boss 302 or ’71 Boss 351 to bridge the gap between the K-codes and the modern muscle of the Boss 302/GT350R. To show the progression of the muscle/performance Mustang. The new cars are a much more refined beast than the classics—more gentlemanly. Brute power combined with handling and stopping power. The vintage rides are raw and more of the school yard bully personality”.
So what advice would Austin give someone looking to get started in the classic car hobby?
“Buy the nicest/best condition vehicle you budget will allow. Wait if you have to. Buying junk will always bite you in the end. Judging by this Lone Star collection, It’s clear this Texan should know.
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