A LABOR OF LOVE
By Dick Knight
We go through life and never know what brings two people together. Different professions, different schools, different experiences, but growing up in the same town and having the same obsession to create something sometimes just being in the same place at the same time. This is how Bob Learman and we became friends. It's amazing how we are picked as friends, or how we pick our friends. He was the proud (first and only) owner of a 1965 Mustang GT fastback, and he joined the mustang club that I belonged to, Mustangs Northwest. He would always come to volunteer and help at different events, but never brought a car, so being the curious one I asked where his car was? He explained it was under restoration, and would take some time to finish, as he was modifying it to be better. Well, that's an understatement! He really didn't have much choice because Bob had 336K miles on his car and it needed everything. From running gear to all new sheet metal, his car was wore out, but not to worry as Bob could do most of the work himself.
Around this time Bob's health began to fail him, and it was necessary for him to have open heart surgery. When he got out of the hospital and was getting better, I decided to help him on some of his restoration projects. The first opportunity to go help Bob on the car was when he needed to put in a new headliner, and since I had done that before I offered to help. That's when it started. I saw the progress on a car with that kind of mileage, and when he told me he was the original owner, I wanted to help to see this project done. Over the next year and a half we took the car to get it painted, and then brought it to my ho use to get the car finished.
Bob attempted to help, but with his failing health it was very difficult for him to do much, so we enlisted the help of club members to assist in getting the car finished. Mel DeHart, Mike Godwin, Keith Shepard, Kyle Beckman, Lori Matthews and myself, were able to see the project through to the end, but unfortunately Bob was not with us at the end as he passed away on October 4, 2007. I know that working on the car kept this man alive and willing to work through all sorts of pain and agony. He was quite a friend to always be remembered, and the car is being given to his niece Lindsey to be driven and shown forever.
To list some of the modifications on the car will show you the love he had for this vehicle. We'll start with the fiberglass hood and tail extensions on a modified maroon paint job with gold fleck, 16 inch 10 spoke mags, four wheel disc brakes with dual master cylinder with line lock, and a Mustang II center pull emergency brake. Shoulder harness seat belts, with '94 Mustang front p
ower driver seat. We have the third brake light in the back window for security, and then those power windows with power doors and aftermarket door panels. Inside we have the Hanes gauges, and aftermarket air conditioning, and all of this is run through a Ron Francis wiring harness, and tilt steering column with Grant steering wheel. In the engine compartment we have the new Ford performance 302 with stainless steel mandrel bent exhaust system, and that is hooked up to a 5 speed tranny, and ran to a 3:00 positraction rear-end. Then we have the frame rail connectors with a crossover, and then 1" front and rear sway bars to hold all of this power on the ground. WHAT A RIDE!!
I'm sure I've missed some of the tricks on Bob's car, but I hope I've explained how much he loved this work of art.