Once a Mustang guy, always a Mustang guy.
Since the 1980s, Brad Cobb has had eight Ford Mustangs in his family.
One of them — a 1968 Coupe — recently arrived at his Brownstown home for the first time in 24 years.
Growing up in Freetown, it was Cobb’s first car. When he sold it in 1993, he didn’t think he would ever see it again.
In 2013, he managed to track it down, but the man in Dupont who owned it wouldn’t budge on the price, so Cobb let it go.
Justice Dyer, one of Cobb’s students at Seymour High School, recently talked to him about buying a 1968 Mustang. Cobb then started thinking about finding his car again.
On a Friday night, Cobb saw Dyer at Pizza Palace in Seymour, and Dyer told him he didn’t end up buying the Mustang.
Three days later, Cobb woke up in the morning and decided to look up 1968 Mustangs on Craigslist.
When he glanced at the second listing, he couldn’t believe what he saw — his blue Coupe.
“I sat up in bed and I’m like, ‘Mary, it’s my car,’” Cobb said of sharing the news with his wife. “She’s like, ‘What are you talking about?’ I’m like, ‘My blue car, it’s on Craigslist,’ and she goes, ‘Nuh-uh.’
“I said, ‘It’s only $1,400,’ and she goes, ‘Well, you probably ought to get it,’” he said. “She knew because I’ve talked about it for three or four years that I let it go, and I just kicked myself and kicked myself over and over for letting it go, and she knew right away, she’s like, ‘He’s going to get it, and it needs to happen.’”
The stripes across the top and a small dent on the passenger door confirmed it was his car.
“I’m like, ‘That’s my car because that’s my butt that dented that door,’” he said. “I remember the guy, we were messing around, and he pushed me into my car, and I dented the door.”
Cobb sent a text message to the seller in Indianapolis and told him he could come up that weekend, but the man said another person was looking at it that Saturday.
They then agreed to meet a couple of days before at the storage unit on the south side of Indianapolis, where the Mustang had been stored for five months.
The man had bought the Coupe with hopes of he and his son fixing it up, but they never found time to start on it. He decided to sell it when the cost of the storage unit became too much.
“As soon as I saw it … it just brought back a flood of memories,” Cobb said.
The car had a flat tire, didn’t have a motor, a transmission or a gas tank and was missing door panels. Cobb offered $400 to hold the car and told the man it was his first car and showed him a picture of it.
“He’s like, ‘Oh yeah? I would have held it for nothing because you don’t get to buy your first car very often,’” Cobb said.
They then talked about how rare the car is. Cobb said from January to April 1968, Ford promoted the Mustang by coming up with a special color each month. In April, it was Eastertime coral, which is a shade of pink.
Cobb knew the car had been that color before it was painted blue.
“They only made about 10 of these a month unless you special ordered them one month of the year,” he said. “(The promotion) was not working well. It didn’t go very long, so that’s why it’s kind of rare. That’s the thing about Mustangs now, you want to get the one of one, you want the rare build.”
Three weeks ago, Cobb made another trip to Indianapolis to haul the Mustang home.
“Honestly, it almost feels like I’ve got part of the family back,” he said. “That was my car. It was me because I put everything into it, and it was just special.”
It also makes him emotional because he wishes two people were here to see it. One is his father, Clifford Cobb, who died in 2008, and another is his childhood friend, Doug Roberson, who died in 2014.
His dad taught him everything he knows about working on cars, and Roberson was a part of a group of friends who had Mustangs.
In his early teens, Cobb sold one of the cows he raised, and his father used that money to buy the car from a man in Cortland for $400.
When he first saw the car, Cobb said he wasn’t impressed because some of the Eastertime coral showed through the blue paint.
“To me, I thought it was the ugliest thing in the world,” he said. “It was a little 6-cylinder, automatic and was just kind of embarrassing for a teenage boy who wants the power in his first car.”
Cobb said he learned to love it and spent a lot of time fixing it up so he could drive it when he got his license.
For his 15th birthday, his parents paid for a paint job and body work. He also spent a summer working for his uncle so he could buy rims and tires and later had the engine rebuilt by a guy in Kurtz and added new carpet.
“Then I had this pretty nice looking car,” Cobb said. “It was my first car. It’s what I drove to school every day. Everybody wanted to go for a ride. I hauled kids back and forth from Freetown, mainly my cousins, so to them, that car, it’s a god to them.”
Roberson became popular driving his 1968 Mustang convertible, so Cobb later upgraded his car to a 302 with a three-speed transmission.
“I started getting a reputation that my car was fast, and people wanted to race me, but he was getting all of the girls,” Cobb said, smiling. “I’m 17 years old, and I’m like, ‘I want the girls riding with me.’”
Around that time, Cobb found a red 1967 Mustang convertible at a junkyard in Vallonia. He spent a lot of time working on it so he could take his girlfriend at the time, who now is his wife, to the junior prom in it.
One of his friends, Kyle Raymer, won window tinting at the after-prom and gave it to Cobb as a gift for his Coupe. Another friend, Brad Sumpter, painted gray stripes on the car.
He kept the Coupe until 1993, when he and Mary got married. He sold it to a friend, Rob Klakamp, but they kept the convertible. Klakamp had the Coupe for a while until he sold it.
Cobb and his wife went on to have three boys. They bought their oldest son, Noah, a 2001 Mustang GT. Then in 2013, when their middle son, Luke, was near the age of getting a car, the Coupe re-entered Brad’s mind.
After contacting Klakamp and making several phone calls, he tracked it down.
The man in Dupont wanted $2,000 for it, but it didn’t have a motor, a transmission, a gas tank or interior and the fenders were off of it.
Even after telling the man it was going to be a father-son project, he wouldn’t come down on the price.
When Luke saw the car, Brad said he wasn’t impressed.
“He’s like, ‘Dad, I don’t want to have to do that kind of work on a car. I can just go buy me something,’” Brad said.
Luke and his parents wound up splitting the cost of a 2005 Mustang, and Brad said he was bummed about letting the Coupe get away.
He then pulled the 1967 convertible out of his parents’ barn and brought it to his house to start working on it.
In February 2014, he and Luke decided to check out a 1965 Mustang Fastback that was for sale in Freetown. It had sat in a field for years, and Brad and his friends had expressed interest in it for a while.
When he bought the car and shared the news with Roberson, he couldn’t believe it.
About a month and a half later, Roberson died of a heart attack. They had just reconnected for the first time in 20 years.
“My Fastback I’m building as a tribute to him as a friend,” Brad said.
Once the Fastback is done, he plans to give it to Luke. The convertible eventually will go to Noah, and he hopes Jordan will help him work on the Coupe so he can drive it.
Noah, 23, recently sold his 2001 Mustang after getting married, while Luke, 18, still has his 2005 Mustang, and Jordan, 15, has yet to get his learner’s permit.
Brad said he’s torn between keeping the Coupe blue or going back to the original color.
“If I go back original, I think it’s a little bit cooler story because you’re saving a piece of history,” he said. “There’s not many of those out there, and these Mustangs, they are getting thrown away or they are on Barrett-Jackson (a classic and antique car auction company) for 200 grand.”
When Brad shared the story and pictures of his Coupe on Facebook, Sumpter, who now lives in Ohio, expressed his excitement.
“I guarantee I could call him about putting stripes on and painting, and he would be over in a minute,” Brad said.
He said he wishes Roberson could see the car.
“It breaks my heart that he can’t be here because I guarantee he would be over the moon that I found the car,” Brad said.
He estimated it will take a couple of years to restore the Coupe.
“I’ll probably have it on the road next summer driving it,” he said. “You’ve got to do that when you first get them. You’ve got to drive them and try them out to see what’s wrong.”
One issue right now is not having enough storage space for his Mustangs, his truck and his wife’s vehicle.
“She wants a bigger garage to put her car in, but I’ve got another Mustang now, so I don’t know if that’s going to work,” Brad said, smiling.
Mustangs have long been in Brad’s blood, and it appears that’s not going to change.
“I did step away from it for 20 years, and now that it’s back, the family thinks I’m nuts because literally, that’s where I spent all of my extra time was in the garage working on my Fastback,” he said. “Now, it will be working on this blue one coming up next spring.”