This Daily-Driven ’67 Ford Mustang Has Stayed In The Same Family For Five Decades
Photography by Sam Bendall
After a 12-hour shift teaching a group of 24 students how to ride motorcycles, I notice a woman pulling up to the lot in a car with her teenage son; she is teaching him how to drive in a 1967 Ford Mustang coupe. She walks over, introduces herself, and asks how to go about getting her motorcycle license so I inform her of the process but quickly steer the conversation back to the Mustang.
And I’m happy I did, because the Ford before me has a beautiful family history behind its good looks. Purchased new by her grandfather, Francisco Reyes, from Swanson Ford in Los Gatos, CA in 1966 for $2,500, the Mustang’s original color was a dark moss green and it came from the dealership with a matching interior and black vinyl top. It’s been through a lot since then, for it’s been over 45 years now that the Mustang has been traveling with the Reyes family. Nearly everyone in the clan has driven it for some period of time, and nearly everyone has had a small accident in it as well! Nothing to the extent of injury, but it seemed to be a running theme or an unfortunate right of passage.
The Mustang remained in it’s factory form up until two years ago when a tree limb had fallen on the car in front of the Reyes’ house. The damage buckled the roof, shattering all the glass and bending the steel. The city of Santa Clara along with additional funds from the Reyes family brought the car back from this mild destruction.
The restoration work was carried out by County Body and Paint based out of San Carlos, CA, and the new color—a gunmetal grey—includes a subtle bit of metal flaking which can be seen at as the light shifts. The interior too was redone and updated, and taking the “while we’re in there” attitude, they decided to have the engine completely dismantled and rebuilt, and finally a brake conversion kit was chosen to swap out the original drums for higher-performing discs.
The car is simply a joy to drive, says Francisco’s son Juan Reyes: “It has the original V8, 289 horsepower engine and it runs like a champ since the rebuild. It is surprisingly smooth but also can be a neck-breaker on the road if you find some open space and put your foot all the way down.”
The Mustang is currently owned by Juan Reyes, but is often driven by his three siblings as well, and although Francisco is wheelchair-bound and cannot drive the vehicle anymore, he still acts as the Mustang’s owner emeritus.
“My father loves this car and babies it to death,” Juan tells me, “It’s extremely unfortunate that my father, who is a retired San Jose PD officer, was diagnosed with Lou Gehrig’s Disease back in February of last year. Since then he has not been able to drive or even ride in it due to comfort issues and needing to be constantly hooked up to a breathing machine.”
During his time as a law enforcement officer and before his diagnosis, Reyes Sr. donated much of his time volunteering to charities and fundraising events benefiting children, communities, and ALS and cancer research. He was often seen driving around town in the 1967 Mustang.
“It’s ironic and sad that my father has come down with a disease he spent so much time fighting against,” said Juan of his father’s condition. “Nonetheless, his spirits remain rock solid, and he can always be found joking around and trying his best to be upbeat and positive in general. He is definitely an inspiration to say the least, and a true representation of what it is to be brave and move forward regardless of the hurdles that life puts in front of us.”
The Mustang remains a emblem of strength and perseverance in the Reyes household. Juan is continuing his father’s legacy through charitable and volunteer work, and continues to raise awareness around ALS. As for the Mustang, it will forever remain in the Reyes family, and when Derek, Juan’s own son, is old enough, he too will learn to drive in it.
It’s a beautiful thing to see a vehicle of this age stay within a single family, enjoyed by generations. It’s even more beautiful to see it used day in and day out as a daily driver like this one.