Team helps rev up Mustang in time for cruising, charity
May 22, 2003
BY BILL LAITNER
FREE PRESS STAFF WRITER
It could happen only in the Motor City.
A radio promotion has urged listeners to pitch in to restore a classic car.
The phones lit up in seconds. Scores of gearheads and auto firms called in, pledging high-tech parts and auto-savvy labor.
Soon, a rusting 1967 Ford Mustang will be morphed into a gleaming hot rod, just in time for the Woodward Dream Cruise.
Already the car has a state-of-the-art chassis. This week at the Collision Craftsmen shop in Southfield, workers began yanking the body apart, sending a door here, a fender there.
"We're spreading it out so it won't burden any one person or store because this is a large project," said Neil Adrian, owner of the seven-branch chain.
Adrian's staff are among more than 100 contributors who converged on open houses held at his shops in Warren and Southfield to gawk at the work in progress and vote on the car's look.
It all started with two morning radio DJs.
Jim Johnson and Lynne Woodison -- of the "JJ and Lynne" show -- told listeners: "Hey, we want to fix up an old car, spend a summer cruising and then raffle it for charity."
The WCSX-FM (94.7) DJs call the project Stone Soup Mustang -- "you know, after that old story about everybody putting something into the soup," Johnson said. A Dearborn man donated the car. Others have called to pay for parts.
Big goodies came from big companies and their volunteer workers. Like an all-new chassis from welders at Ford Motor Co. in Livonia. Premium sport seats from Recaro North America in Auburn Hills. A souped-up Ford engine from Roush Performance Division in Livonia -- worth $10,000 installed, said Dale Aldo, parts sales manager.
"I'd say the dollars going into this car will exceed $60,000," Aldo said.
Johnson and Woodison plan to raffle the Mustang during their annual fall radiothon, which benefits the Southfield-based Children's Leukemia Foundation of Michigan.
They're selling tickets for $25 apiece, starting today, promising that every cent will go to the foundation -- a 51-year-old charity that gives information, financial help and emotional support to Michigan families facing leukemia, lymphoma and related diseases, said spokesman Jim Blackledge.
But first, the WCSX duo will spend the summer cruising, Johnson said.
The charity car is a graceful way for the station to participate in the Dream Cruise on Aug. 16. WCSX is one of many radio powerhouses to feel all but shut out of the world's largest one-day car event because of the cruise's close ties to one station -- WOMC-FM (104.3).
Its officials "sit on our board and have been with us since the start of the Dream Cruise" in 1995, said Caron Hall, executive director of the nonprofit group that stages the event.
Is it a coincidence that former WOMC program director Bill Stedman, who for years sat on the Dream Cruise board, is now at WCSX? And was Stone Soup Mustang his concoction?
No to both, said Jim O'Brien, executive producer of the "JJ and Lynne" show. Of course, the months of on-air chatter about the car are adding up to some nice publicity for WCSX, O'Brien said.
The car will look fabulous covering a quarter mile in 10 seconds, say the volunteers building it.
And it'll give some cool summer rides to radio folks catching a piece of Detroit's cruising craze.
My first car was a 67 Mustang Coupe, 2nd one was a 67 Cougar XR-7, 3rd one was a 66 Mustang Coupe. Why did I get rid of these cars for ? I know why, because I'm stupid, stupid, stupid.
My next Ford.....