Wilson Pickett’s 1966 song immortalized a pony car-loving girl named Mustang Sally.
On Vancouver Island, car enthusiast Carol LeGrand is the living, breathing — and welding — incarnation of Mustang Sally. The Victoria resident was a founding member of the Vancouver Island Mustang Association in 1984, has restored more than a dozen Mustangs and has a stable full of ponies.
When Carol started dating Dave LeGrand back in the Seventies, he was driving a 1968 Mustang he bought in 1975 before he was old enough to have a driver’s license. He’d purchased it from a Victoria car lot for $700.
Carol and Dave went cruising and she was hooked on Mustangs. The couple married in 1982. Dave is a civilian employee of the Department of National Defense working in shipping and receiving. Carol spent her career behind the counter at a local parts store where she became an expert in locating hard to find parts.
“Everybody asked for Carol,” she says. “I could find just about any part made. There were often three or four lines holding for me when I was on the phone.”
The couple’s passion for cars led to the acquisition of numerous Mustangs over the years. Some they restored; others they disassembled, storing the parts in their garage and the attic of their home.
“When we go to restore a car, we have the parts to do it,” Carol notes.
Along the way, Mustang Sally became the go-to person for information on Mustangs of the Sixties and early Seventies. Carol is encyclopedic with her knowledge of pony cars.
During her stay-at-home-mom years, she filled her extra time in the garage restoring Mustangs. Carol and Dave work on the cars together evenings and weekends.
“We do pretty much everything except body work, painting and engine building,” says the enthusiast who grew up on a farm outside Victoria, where her father could, and did, fix anything that broke.
Carol taught herself how to weld so she and her husband could restore Mustang cars from the ground up by installing new metal panels in the body and floors. In their well-equipped home shop, she does brake jobs, tune-ups, installs interiors and details the cars to perfection.
She regularly drives their prairie bronze ’65 Mustang convertible with its high performance V8 engine coupled to a four-speed manual transmission. The car was restored in 1996 and has taken the couple on many vacation trips across Canada and in the U.S.
“The car was rusty as rusty can be when we got it,” she says of the challenging restoration.
Their modified sonic blue 1965 Mustang fastback, restored as a Shelby GT350 clone, became available in an estate sale as a partially restored car in the 1990s when the economy had tanked. There was no paperwork for the car so Carol went to work tracing back a complicated trail in order to get the car registered in B.C.
Their white 1970 Mustang fastback, restored as a rare Twister Special, had been an early restoration that was driven just 200 miles before being parked in a carport for six years. They towed it home and resurrected the car.
Parked in the driveway is a gorgeous 1968 Mustang convertible done up as a Shelby GT350 clone with all the Shelby special features, including a roll bar.
Their current project is a white 1966 Mustang coupe with blue interior.
“We happened to be at a swap meet in Langley and met a man who wanted to sell the car. We’re always looking for pony cars so the deal was done,” Carol says.
When they got the car home, they discovered it needed a lot more bodywork than anticipated. So Mustang Sally rolled up her sleeves, sparked up her welder and went to work. The car is now in ‘as new’ condition and correct down to the last detail, with new paint, chrome, and interior and rebuilt mechanics.
Because their stable is full, that Mustang is now being offered for sale to make room for the next project.
But Mustang Sally has a more immediate need.
“I want to get a bigger welder so I can weld thicker metal and build things other than cars,” she says.
Alyn Edwards is a classic car enthusiast and partner in Peak Communicators, a Vancouver-based public relations company. [email protected]