Home Breaking News ’73 Mustang finds finds home in Howard County

’73 Mustang finds finds home in Howard County

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By Don Hall

News-Leader staff

Those of us who came of age in the mid-1960s have a life-long love affair with Ford’s pony car. 

The Mustang started out in mid-1964 as a sexy body on a wimpy Ford Falcon frame (no joke), but it quickly became one of the ultimate muscle cars of the late ’60s and early ’70s. It reached its peak in 1973 just before the Arab oil embargo ended the era of the ground-pounders.

Howard County native and resident Jacky Robinson has a 1973 Mustang Mach I with a unique story.

Jacky retired a year ago after 46 years with Coca Cola, starting in the bottling room and finishing his career as sales manager. His brother Donald was a truck driver for Nashville Trucking. 

In 1980 Don was hauling a load to California when he saw a beautiful ’73 Mach I for sale on the side of the road. He stopped, looked at it, and bought it on the spot.

“I guess that’s the only car he ever owned,” Jacky says. “He always had 3/4 ton Chevrolet trucks.”

After making the trip back to California to pick up his car, Don drove it to Howard County. As a truck driver, he was gone much of the time, but he loved being in his Mustang when he was in town for a few days. 

Then, in 1982, that changed.

“Don was in a business in Texarkana, and when he came out, his car had been stolen,” Jacky said. For the next three years, he didn’t have a clue what had become of the 1973 Mach I he loved. 

Then, in 1985, he got a phone call from the Shreveport police.

“We recovered a car underneath an overpass on I-20,” Donald was told. The engine was blown, the transmission and interior were ruined, and the body was beaten up. 

“Do you want us to impound it, or do you want to come get it?” 

Don got a 16’ trailer and drove to Shreveport in his 3/4 ton Chevrolet to bring his Mach I back to Howard County.

“It sat in my mother’s barn in Midway for about five years,” Jacky remembers. “The kids loved going out and sitting in it and playing Race Car.” 

Then, in 1990, Don began the process of restoring his classic muscle car. “Gordon Cates, a local upholstery guy, redid the interior,” Jacky said, “and a paint shop on the Murfreesboro highway did the exterior.” 

Other locals rebuilt the iconic 351-Cleveland engine and the transmission, and the Mach I was back on the road again.

Donald passed away two years ago, and Jacky bought the Mach I. “I’ve always been a Chevrolet man,” he says, but he’s fallen in love with the iconic Ford just as his brother Don had decades earlier.

Jacky has had numerous offers to sell his rare muscle car, but he’s not interested. “I’d like to let my granddaughter Dede drive it but I told her, I don’t want you to drive it because it road walks.” 

What does that mean, you ask? “That means it kinda wants to pull to the sides.”

“She asked me if the air conditioner works,” Jacky says with a smile. “I said, yeah, it has a 2-60 in it. Roll down both windows and go 60 miles an hour.”

What’s in the future for this piece of American automotive history? “I plan to give it to my oldest son,” Jacky says, “He’s a respiratory therapist who runs a sleep lab in Hot Springs.” 

But for now, you can still see this piece of American automotive history on the roads in Howard County. And when you see it, if you’re like me, you revert to the 16 year-old with the dream of owning one. 

“Sometimes when I drive it, I can imagine my brother sitting next to me,” Jacky confesses. Enjoy driving the car with Donald, Jacky, and thanks to both of you for keeping that beautiful car, the car of teen-aged fantasies, on the road.

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