BPE Customer Profile: Bruce Gustafson
One of the best things we get to do at BluePrint Engines, besides building lots of performance engines, is to talk to our customers and hear their stories on the vehicles they are building. Sometimes, we meet someone who has an extraordinary story to tell. Bruce Gustafson and his 1964 Mustang convertible is one of those extraordinary stories.
When Lee Iococca and Ford introduced the all new Mustang in the spring of 1964, they went all out with a tour de force publicity campaign. You couldn’t turn on the television or open a magazine without seeing ads for the hot new pony car. Ford even partnered with several other companies for giveaways to garner even more attention. All this promotion was not lost on then 17 year old Bruce Gustafson. He definitely noticed and was very interested in the new Mustang, especially the performance models.
Not many 17 year olds can afford to walk in to a car dealer and order up a brand new car. Not to be deterred, Bruce caught sight of an ad in Boys Life magazine for a contest where new Mustangs were being given away. Command Hair Gel was having a contest where they were giving away not one, but 70 of these new Mustangs convertibles. These were not the pedestrian Mustangs either. These were convertible models powered by the new Hi Po 271 horsepower 289 back by 4 speed manual transmission and full gauges, and even the optional clock. Bruce said he would not have been interested in entering the contest if they were giving away just one Mustang. But seventy of these new Mustangs, he felt his chances were a little better at getting one. Bruce upped his odds by entering a staggering 525 times. Sending in 20 postcards a day. Stamps were only 5 cents back in 1964, but a cheeseburger was only 10 cents at the local malt shop. Buying 525 stamps at over $26 was a lot of money for a teenager back then. But, all that stamp licking and envelope stuffing paid off as Bruce got notified that he had won one of the seventy Mustangs!! And, on October 2nd, 1964, Elton Eobban of Elton Eobban Ford in McPherson, Kansas handed over the keys to a brand new Rangoon Red Mustang with a white convertible top and white interior.
Bruce drove his Mustang quite a bit over the following years. At one point, he was commuting back and forth weekly from his home town in McPherson to a job in Colorado. By the mid '70's Bruce had racked up quite a few miles on his Mustang and the Hi Po 289 was getting tired. Instead of rebuilding the 289, Bruce just replaced it with a new 302. Back then, no one ever heard of the term "matching numbers", especially when your muscle car was just your daily driver. Bruce continued to drive his Mustang into the early 2000's when the 302, and everything else on the car was starting to show its age. The car got parked. As life, kids, marriage, and taking care of a house, the Mustang got pushed back on the priorities list, but it was never forgotten.
Fast forward 18 years, Bruce was getting the urge to get his beloved Mustang back on the road. He wanted to restore the car back to its original beauty, so he enlisted the help of a Mustang restoration specialist near his home to help out. As you can see from the pictures, the new paint is nearing completion with a new convertible top and interior in line to be made new again. The car is well on its way to getting back to the way it was when he first took the keys to the Mustang way back in 1964.
This is where BluePrint Engines enters the story. Bruce contacted us in need of a new engine for the car. He was not looking to rebuild the old and not original 302. He was wanting a new crate engine. He let us know what he was looking for in an engine and chose BluePrint's BP3023CTC. These 302's are pretty close to drop in ready. They include carburetor, distributor, intake manifold, spark plugs, plug wires, fuel pump, water pump and harmonic balancer. And, BluePrint dyno tests every one of these 302's to assure quality for the customer. It looks like Bruce is well on his way to having his '64 Mustang back on the road in time for some top down summer cruising.
Thank you to Bruce Gustafson for sharing his story and pictures with us.