originally published 4/27/12
By MICHAEL FORTUNA, DAILY SUN
THE VILLAGES — When he was 14 years old, Dave Zebrowksi’s next-door neighbor owned a dark blue Mustang. He always wanted to own one himself, but life got in the way.
In 2004, the image that had been stuck in his mind for so many years became a reality. He now owns a 1965 Ford Mustang, a Caspian blue two-door hardtop.
“When the car first came out, I fell in love with it,” Dave said. “It took me all my life (to get it). You have priorities. (Once those have been met) you can be a kid again.”
Dave and his wife, Donna, who live in the Village of Caroline, try to drive the Mustang at least three times a month.
“We go out for a little ride,” Donna said.
“It’s great, all the thumbs up you get,” said Dave, who belongs to the Antique Automobile Club of America, The Villages Region. “It’s reliable. It’s comfortable. It’s fun to drive.”
“I love the ride,” Donna said. “It’s a lot of fun to be in. You’re driving a piece of history.”
Once when Donna’s car was in the shop, she drove the Mustang to the local hospital where she worked. The security guards were shocked that she would leave it parked out in the open.
“All the guards drove by it all day,” Donna said. “People have that (feeling toward the car). They want to take care of it.”
The Zebrowskis were living in Long Island, N.Y., at the time Dave found the Mustang. He had been looking for Mustangs made between 1965 and 1968.
“Every time I looked, this called me,” Dave said.
“I think it found him,” Donna said.
The car was in Missouri and listed on eBay as an auction, but no one was bidding. Dave and the owner talked on the phone during Dave’s lunch break at work. At the end of the day, Dave went home and sat at his computer.
The owner had taken the car off the auction list and was going to make it a “Buy It Now” purchase.
Dave hit the buy button when the listing reappeared.
Dave and a friend flew from New York to Missouri to see the Mustang. They met at the airport, and after a quick once-over and a turn of the key, Dave handed the owner a check. He and his friend drove back to New York in the Mustang.
“It was a lot of fun,” Dave said. “It was 1,400 miles, but it was a lot of fun.”
During their journey, whenever they stopped for gas, people always came up to them asking if they were selling the car.
“I still have people asking if I want to sell it,” Dave said.
Dave learned that the Mustang had two owners; the first had bought the car in California, while the second owner had lived in Arizona and Missouri.
Because the car never experienced snow and stayed out of the rain, the Mustang didn’t have any rust when Dave bought it.
The Mustang sports a 289-cubic-inch, high-performance engine; automatic transmission; power steering; power brakes; a positraction rear end; dual exhaust; a four-barrel carburetor; bucket seats in the front; and air conditioning.
Having the automatic transmission was a dealbreaker for Donna, because she can’t drive a stick shift.
“Wifey says so,” Donna said.
The previous owner had given the Mustang a new coat of paint in the same color, and the seats’ upholstery was redone.
Dave gave the car a few minor tweaks — he had a nine-CD changer installed; replaced the steering wheel; added an MSD ignition that provides a hotter spark; and replaced the rear end and alternator.
The car uses high-test gasoline, and Dave adds lead into the mix, giving him a whopping 8 miles per gallon.
“When they built them, they didn’t care about gas (mileage),” Dave said.
When he was a teenager, Dave owned such cars as a 1958, 1963 and 1964 Chevrolet Impala; an early ’60s Volkswagen Beetle; and a 1967 Dodge Dart.
“But Ford was always in the back of my mind,” Dave said. “I wish I had those cars now.”