We’ve heard plenty of stories about cars that people buy and restore because of a car their parents had when they were younger. Back in the ’50s, ’60s, and ’70s, the run-of-the-mill cars that people would buy, drive, and just let sit outside are the same cars that are highly sought after today. For Derek Quick of Sequim, Washington, that car was his mom’s 1972 Mach 1 Mustang — only instead of buying one just like that car, he still has the same one she drove every day for over a decade.
Derek’s dad bought the car sight unseen in 1972 from a car lot in Seattle.
“It was either this or a blue ’71 Challenger,” Derek explained. “My dad had a friend at the car lot and the guy told him that the Mach 1 was better looking because it was the white and black color combination, so he went over and picked it up. He bought it for my mom.”
Isn’t that just about the coolest mom rig out there? Seriously, did your mom rock a 1972 Mach 1 Mustang with a 351 cubic-inch Cleveland, FMX three-speed automatic transmission, and factory 2.75:1 geared ford 9-inch rearend? At the time of purchase in 1972, the car was only six months old and it only had about 4,000 miles on it.
Always a Ford family, a ’71 Challenger would have been an out of character choice for the Quicks.
“We’ve had Mustangs ever since I was a kid,” Derek explained. “The first was a ‘65 Mustang we bought in ’66 or ’67. Then we had a ’68 Mustang and that one was really cool. The ’68 was purple with a black-primered hood.”
Buying The Mustang
One might have expected this to be an easy project. It might have been if this would be one of those barn-find, 80,000-mile cars with no rust, no dents, and only light use. For this Mustang however, that was not the case. Derek’s mom drove this car every day from 1972 to 1984 and she put a ton of miles on this car in those 12 years.
“Mom was the kind of person that if there was a new noise or anything weird, she’d just turn the radio up a little bit louder. She would just continue driving and not even do anything about it,” Derek told us.
Derek bought the car when his parents needed a little bit of money and they wanted something that would get better gas mileage for his mom. He scored the title for $1,000 and trade for his 1964 ½ Mustang.
“It was rough, but it was rust-free,” Derek explained. “From the front to the back there was probably 15-20 dents in the doors, the rear quarters had both been smashed where people had backed into the car, and it had dents in the front as well.”
Derek drove it for a while after buying it, but one winter he was driving around Sequim when took a corner, started to slip, and overcorrected, hitting a fire hydrant. The damage to the Mustang was not too severe, and Derek was just fine, but he realized the car deserved better.
“That’s the moment that I realized it was time to stop being an idiot and driving it so hard. It was time to restore it,” Derek explained.
Stop Driving, Start Restoring
It was the year after damaging the fender that Derek got together with a friend that was a painter and they started working on the car.
“I paid $9,000 for the entire restoration, with a lot more than that in sweat equity,” Derek said. “I did the engine myself and all of the other work I could, I just farmed out the transmission rebuild. We did the entire car and took everything off that could come off.”
“We were just a couple small town guys getting together and doing it. I didn’t take it to a shop, it was just me and my friend working together and it took about two-to-three years to restore it,” Derek continued. “While restoring the car I lived in a little trailer outside of the shop so I could get up early and go work on the car every morning. We worked until 2:00-3:00 in the morning and I’d be back in there at 5:00-6:00 a.m. the next morning. It was definitely a labor of love.”
The restoration started at the end of summer 1994 and wrapped up at the beginning of summer 1997, taking nearly three years to complete. Luckily for Derek there were no big surprises during the build process, but a lot of the little stuff that you run into when doing a project like this. There was no hidden rust, no major unexpected damage, and no issues getting it running and driving once it was put back together.
“There were no surprise rust holes or anything we didn’t expect. I went into it anticipating that and didn’t find any,” Derek said.
It’s always really cool to see a labor of love like this Mustang come together. This wasn’t done by spending money on the car, it was instead done by spending time with the car. Derek put all of his sweat and blood into getting this car put together. Really it’s more than just a car, this Mustang is a part of the family.
After finishing it, Derek has not done a whole lot to the car other than drive it. This last year he had a new stereo put in at the Mobile Music store locally in Port Angeles. They put in a 700-watt amp with dual 12-inch Memphis Audio speakers powered by a new Pioneer stereo. They also built a custom fiberglass speaker housing in the trunk with color changing accent lighting.
“The back is pretty terrific,” Derek said. “We went through three or four different designs before we came up with the way it’s setup now. It was amazing to me that they were able to do the fiberglass work and then paint it to match the car so perfectly.”
Restoration Round Two
The car looks great as it sits. However, Derek wants more, and he is planning on tearing it down soon to restore it all over again. This time he is going to do things a little differently.
“The thing is, in the back of my mind, when I restored it the first time I wanted to do it as stock as possible so that if I ever needed or wanted to I could sell the car,” Derek said. “At this point, at 55 years old, I know that I am never going to sell the car so I know that I want to customize it now.”
Derek is going to keep the same 351 cubic-inch Cleveland engine. He is planning on swapping out the old FMX automatic transmission in favor of a C6. He is also going to rebuild the suspension system with performance and ride quality in mind, ditching the air shocks and adding a three- or four-link rear suspension.
The interior is going to be treated to an all-leather overhaul in Mach 1 style. “It’s not going to be cheap, but it will be worth it,” Derek said. “I want to keep the clusters stock, but I’m going to take it back to Mobile Music and get the interior lighting updated so that you can see it better.”
We’re definitely going to keep our eyes on Derek’s build as he tears into it and refreshes the restoration the way he wants it. The build as it sits now is great, but the prospects for Derek’s Mach 1 rebuild are radical and we love the plans that he’s put together. This is likely not the last that you’ve seen of Derek’s Mustang.