Good Neighbors Restore 1988 Ford Mustang GT Belonging to Texas Woman’s Late Son

After watching the car sit for 13 years, the crew took the Foxbody ‘Stang back to near-factory condition.

byJames Gilboy| PUBLISHED Nov 28, 2019 2:00 PM
Good Neighbors Restore 1988 Ford Mustang GT Belonging to Texas Woman’s Late Son

"It smells like him when I sit inside," said Maleeya Davis of the 1988 Ford Mustang GT that once belonged to her son Troy.

Kept as a token of remembrance after his 2006 passing, the Foxbody was rarely driven and spent most of the 13 years since as a time capsule. A decade indoors and three years under an outdoor canopy did little to shield the car from hot Texas summers, which started to eat away at Davis' keepsake. Passerby and car enthusiast Jerry Heasley couldn't help but notice how little the lightly modified, but well-kept Foxbody seemed to move, and reached out to Maleeya about whether the car was for sale.

After hearing the car's story, Heasley decided that helping Davis restore her son's Mustang was a better course of action than trying to flip the Ford, which, by the time he got to it, was bordering on dire shape. Years worth of dirt and paw prints from Davis's cats coated the car, dust filled every nook and cranny, and spots of rust were starting to appear on the fading trim. Its interior may have been pristine, but missing keys, old gas, and an aftermarket alarm system meant that it wasn't simply a diamond in the rough.

This Mustang needed some real elbow grease to bring back to glory, so Heasley tapped several contacts to supply parts and labor for an entirely pro bono restoration, at no cost to Davis. While the car received mechanical touch-ups in the form of a full fluid service, a complete brake overhaul, and a new fuel pump, most of the work concerned the car's decaying body. Fresh trim in and out, new vinyl highlights, and color-matched paint on factory-style bodywork (to replace the aftermarket "bird bath" spoiler) went on, and a set of period-correct wheels with BFGoodrich Radial T/A tires completed the factory-fresh look.

So different were the Mustang's befores and afters that Davis didn't recognize the car at first. Once the tears had dried, however, she was eager to get the Mustang on the road and helped turn some of the final few bolts during the hood's reinstallation.

Davis, who needs transportation of her own, admitted prior to the restoration that selling the Mustang is on the table (that's why Heasley and company aimed for stock looks, rather than keeping the aftermarket parts). She was offered up to $15,000 before restoration, and with the values of fresh Foxbodies skyrocketing, she may get that much or more. Only if she decides to sell, of course.

"I need to [sell], but I don't want to," said Davis. "Sometimes I just go out there and sit [in the car] and look around."

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