By Travis Smola
Leroy Fink’s vintage Ford Mustang convertible is slated to be one of the star attractions of the upcoming annual Vicksburg Car Show on Saturday, June 14.
You’ll know which car it is because sitting behind the wheel will be a white stuffed monkey he always puts in the car during car shows.
“I put the monkey in the seat because the kids love it,” said Fink.
Unlike a lot of vintage show cars today, Fink’s turquoise 1964 ½ Ford Mustang is not a restoration assembled from spare parts from dozens of other vehicles. Instead, Fink’s car is almost completely original, even down to the paint.
Other than some body work to fix some shopping cart dents, and having the bumper re-chromed, the car is pretty much the same as it was when it was new 50 years ago, Fink said.
Fink even has the original title papers.
Owning an early model of such an iconic car, Fink doesn’t drive it as much as he used to. He uses a trailer when he wants to haul it a long ways.
“The only thing I use it for is for my grandkids getting married,” he said.
Adding to the car’s appeal is the unique year designation of 1964 ½. Ford introduced the Mustang in 1965, but started production a full five months before the normal start of the 1965 production year. Mustangs produced in this time period are referred to as 1964 ½’s by car enthusiasts. Fink has been told his car was number 34 off the line.
The incredible condition of Fink’s Mustang can be attributed to keeping it in the family. The original owner was Fink’s uncle Gilbert Harre, who bought the car for his wife as a 25th wedding anniversary gift. She used the car for runs to the grocery store, but didn’t do too much other driving with it, said Fink. She put about 30,000 miles on it and now it has about 60,000 miles.
Fink bought the car at auction 1992 in Adrian after the Harres had passed away.
Fink has always enjoyed collecting cars, estimating that he has maybe nine or 10 cars. He used to buy and resell cars quite often, sometimes as many as four or five at a time.
“I’ve always had a lot of cars,” he said.