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Showroom Fresh

It’s Not Aging Like the Rest

Jefferson Bryant - November 07, 2013 10:00 AM

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When we first heard about this 1993 Ford Mustang GT, we were a little perplexed.

Here was a guy in his mid-30s who was claiming to own a showroom-original 1993 Ford Mustang. Not just original, mind you, he tells us that this GT still had that new car smell. How is that possible? Well, as it turns out this one-owner LX hatchback has been sitting in a storage locker for the last 18 years.

Ray Burk of Claremore, Oklahoma, bought the car brand new. He was living in the Toledo, Ohio, area at the time and got the car off the showroom floor at Brondes Ford on December 13, 1993. Ray had had his first real job for a few months. Passing the dealership every day, he kept seeing this silver LX hatchback, almost as if it was a glistening mermaid, beckoning him to crash upon the sharp rocks just below the surface.

In a way, it was exactly what happened. With his mother’s help, Ray was able to purchase the Mustang for the tidy sum of $15,000, which was a little over $3,000 off the sticker price. As it turned out, this particular pony had been sold three times before only to be returned within days each time. One circumstance was a pending divorce. The second trouble spot was financing issues. The final straw before Ray got involved was a jealous wife who retaliated by maxxing out the would-be buyer’s credit cards. The dealer just wanted rid of this bad penny and a deep discount seemed to do the trick.

The lower selling price was even more attractive when one took a look at the option list. This car offered every available option. It was truly loaded to the limit. The options included leather interior, power driver’s seat, CD player/premium sound, power windows, power locks, cruise, sunroof, optional 3.27 gears and more.

When Ray’s father arrived home that evening, the car almost boomeranged back to Brondes yet again.

Remembering the day nearly 20 years later, Ray’s dad said, “To this day, I do not know how I avoided a heart attack that night. I was so mad. I had told him that no 20-year-old kid needed a brand new V-8 Mustang. I had to leave the house to cool off. It took a couple of days before I was ready to even talk to Ray.”

Once he realized that his son was serious and intended to keep the car stock, he settled down. The pair has gone on to build a few projects along the way.

So far, a lot about the story seems fairly normal. Ray drove the Mustang for a few months. He watched his friends tear up their new cars by racing and he didn’t like what he was seeing. He was growing leery of damaging his first new car.

Then came the insurance bills. Living on a minimum wage job and paying for a brand new car and insurance was trickier than it first seemed. Ray dropped to basic comprehensive coverage and began storing the car in his parents’ garage. In 1994, he drove the car to Charlotte, North Carolina, for the Mustang Club of America (MCA) Mustang 30th Anniversary show. On the way home, a rainstorm popped. That is the only time this car has ever been in the rain.

Back home, the odometer registered 3,980 miles, many from the just-completed trip. At that point, Ray kept the car in storage. The car has not been started since.

Today, the Mustang lives in giant sleeping bag made for cars called a “car jacket”. Ray admits to staying away from the car. Bringing the car out for our photo shoot was the most time he had been with the car in the last 18 years. If you think you’ve seen this car before, you’re probably mistaken.

We found out about Ray and his car during our visit to the victory party for the 2011 Rally Appalachia, conducted by Rally North America. Ray had been a part of it, serving as navigator for his friend Brian Achey and the duo won the “Spirit of the Rally” award. Ray flew from Oklahoma to Pennsylvania and then participated in the run from Virginia to South Carolina. The team had a setback when their original car had mechanical issues at the starting line. They drove that car back home and brought a 1978 Mustang II to catch up to the field at the end of the first day.

When it was our time to see this 1993 Mustang (Ray had showed us pictures at the rally), it was rolled on and off the trailer without ever being started. There has not been a battery under the hood since 1994. Other than oil and oil filter, it’s as it left the factory right down to the air filter, plugs and wires and it’s never been waxed.

Ray is justifiably proud of his 3,980-mile Mustang, the last of the Fox bodies and his first brand new car. It hasn’t rotted in a field or been relegated to hand-me-down status to siblings or children. This Mustang lives the quiet life, tucked away from the door dings and potholes of the world. When all the others have been raced and wrecked and rusted away, this little pony will be here, a pristine example of what used to be.

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