Sometimes we have to search near and far for years to find the perfect car. Other times it falls right into our laps. In the case of Joe Parker, he didn’t have far to go to find his dream car.

My father bought the Mustang for my mother’s Christmas present in 1965. — Joe Parker

“My father bought the Mustang for my mother’s Christmas present in 1965,” the recently retired North Carolina transplant said. “We were a car enthusiast family.”

“Some of my favorites were a 1957 T-Bird that had the engine built by Holman Moody, a 1968 T-Bird with a 429 and suicide doors, a ’68 ’Stang, MGs, special-edition Mustangs, and a string of sweet T-Birds,” he said of his other favorites.

Joe Parker came from a car-enthusiast family whose stable included this ’66 Mustang GT purchased new for his mom.

Proving taste in cars isn’t just for the guys, Joe’s mom and sister proudly piloted their ’66 coupe, a loaded ’72 El Dorado, a ’66 Vette with a 427, and a 1972 Mach 1 while keeping pace with Joe and the rest of his family.

Mom gave me the Mustang in 1971 and I drove it for years until I left it to get restored back in 1990. — Joe Parker

“Mom gave me the Mustang in 1971 and I drove it for years until I left it to get restored back in 1990,” Joe said.

Unfortunately for him, Joe’s vision of returning the Emberglo beauty back to its prime wasn’t without challenges.

“The shop removed the engine and other parts and never performed the restoration. When we found it behind the shop it was missing parts and in sad shape,” he said.

Determined to bring the car back from the brink, Joe regrouped. Many dollars and years after his first attempt, the car was beginning to see the light.

The engine and transmission were farmed out as Joe opted to update the Mustang’s giddy up. Aluminum heads, cam, intake and carburetor complement the new powerplant along with a stiffer suspension and running gear.

Having been stripped of many parts by a shop hired to restore the car, Parker rescued the GT and regrouped.

“I had the interior color changed and purchased a Cobra hood to replace the stock hood,” Joe explained. “All told, it took three people 734 hours to complete the work, which was finished in August of this year.”

Sadly, Joe’s Mom passed in July having never seen his labor of love completed.

Many dollars and hours of work transformed the family treasure back to its former glory.

Family Legacy

Having navigated the peaks and valleys of classic car restoration, Joe is ready to enjoy the fruits of his labor.

“I drive it about once or twice a week but never in the rain,” Joe said. “I plan on entering it in some car shows soon with The Daytona Beach Mustang Club also.”

After several false starts, Joe’s Emberglo GT finally made it back home.

Though Joe finds his 2003 Focus ZX3 better suited for day-to-day commutes, he add that his roots run deep and wouldn’t mind adding  a 427 Cobra, a new Ford GT or possibly a Super Snake to the list of family owned vehicles.

A nod to the past and future, Joe’s car with original tags and owners manual complement the new powerplant and restoration.

“Mom didn’t think it would ever get finished,” Joe said with a hint of understanding.

Today he loves the results and plans to keep and drive the car for many years to come. It’s part of the family.

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