No, not the one in Nevada that you are thinking about…
Words & photos by Mike Mastracco
For years my son Mike has had his eyes on my 1966 Mustang coupe. He even asked me if he could drive it to school at the end of his senior year, I said “sure.” He continues to ask me what I’m doing to the car, how it’s running, how often I drive it etc. Early this year when I was looking for a new Mustang convertible, he tried to convince me to purchase one in Utah (he moved to Utah two years ago). His way of thinking was, drive my ’66 to Utah, leave it with him and drive my new Mustang convertible back to NY State, in the middle of January!
That being said, in June of this year after a plane flight, I arrived in Murray, Utah (suburb of Salt Lake City) on a Saturday afternoon. Of course, he asked me how the ’66 was doing. I filled him in a little and said I’m still driving it every day (I’m not ready to give it up just yet). He also mentioned to me about a “Mustang Ranch” restoration shop just up the road that he drives by. I got my phone out to look up what he was referring to, and up the road it was, only 1.2 miles. So immediately that went on my Salt Lake City things to do list.
I found the shop with no problem, nice sign out front. In the parking lot was a 1968 Bullet Mustang look-a-like, a very fine auto indeed. I saw a sign that said office, I located the front door and helped myself inside. To the right was an office lady, very friendly. I looked around this other room, not really a waiting area nor a show room, but a room full of Mustang models, posters, books and many other Mustang related items.
I introduced myself, told her I was from Syracuse, NY, not Syracuse, Utah (there is a Syracuse, Utah about 35 miles north of here). She introduced herself as Heidi. I asked if it was possible for me to walk around the shop, “sure, follow me” was her response. Once through the door that said “employees only,” I did a quick glance around at several cars in all stages of restoration. She then brought me over and introduced me to Quinn, the current owner, who was actually doing body work on a 1972 El Camino. Quinn told me that he’s had this El Camino for over 8 years, well before getting involved with the Mustang Ranch.
To my right, I saw as sharp looking 1967 red Mustang coupe. What a beautiful red color it was to. Heidi told me our guys just finished this car with installing independent front suspension, independent rear suspension as well as a disc brake conversion at all four corners. I then walked over to a black 1965 Mustang GT350H which was in immaculate condition. Heidi told me that they are finishing up an installation of a Coyote motor in this particular car.
As I continued my shop tour Heidi then introduced me to a couple of workers that were sanding down fenders for paint preparation. We chatted for a minute or two, very friendly guys. One guy asked me which car was mine, I said, mine are all back home in NY State. They asked me what I had for cars and seemed interested as they asked about colors and such. After showing them pictures of both my Mustangs and my Triumph, I was off to look at more cars in the restoration progress. There was also a 1969 Plymouth GTX which was in the final stages of restoration. I turned around to find out I was standing next to a 1966 Mustang Fastback up on jack stands. I was informed by Heidi that they are just finishing up doing a front disc brake conversion on the car. Heidi then told me to look here and pointed to the frame and rear underside of the car. This is what the independent rear suspension looks like during installation. I notice there were inboard disc brakes with red calipers on the back side. Heidi really knew her stuff, and she is not afraid to help out and get dirty when needed. I found out later from Quinn she is the person who orders and checks in all the parts, she’s also in charge of keeping the shop in order.
Not long ago they worked on a customer’s Mustang from Boston, NY, which is just a short drive south of Buffalo, NY. In the past 28 years they have restored hundreds of classic Mustangs and Shelby’s to their original condition from all over the United States. They also bring Mustangs to the next level by customizing and modifying them to their customers wants and needs. Some of their past projects were a 1969 Mercury Cougar convertible, 1971 Ford Bronco and of course every Mustang model and body style available. Quinn, the owner of the Mustang Ranch since October of 2020, told me that he has a personal 1967 Mustang that he is currently working on. His plans are to do a fastback conversion on it. This particular Mustang started life as a coupe, then being chopped into a convertible which is the form it is currently in. Next, Quinn plans on making this a fastback to bring this car around full circle so it will have lived life as all three available body styles.
I asked Quinn the typical time from in the door to out the door for extensive restoration work that they perform. He explained to me how his shop is organized pointing to several areas for short term work, mechanical work, body work, and longer-term work. Typically, he and his crew try to complete most jobs in three to four months in and out. However, there are some restorations that take longer, upwards of 9 months or so. He has quite an efficient staging process here in his shop.