Jewel Meetz with a Model A Ford 5-Window Coupe
that he is currently restoring at Jewel’s Body Shop.
Back in 1985, a magazine reporter asked Jewel Meetz if things were as tough in the collector car business then as they were in the used car business at that time. This was during the early 1980s recession. Sounds a bit familiar, doesn’t it?
“The economy doesn’t seem to affect the collector car market,” Meetz replied to the reporter. “This is pretty close to the best year we have had in terms of the number of T-Birds we have in our restoration shop.”
Twenty-four years later, we have used car lots packed with inventory, the “Big 3” automakers seeking government bailouts and Meetz still driving a two-seat T-Bird similar to the one on the old magazine cover. But, if you think not much has changed, think again!
Several younger generations of the Meetz clan have grown up or come along in the past quarter of a century and they are now getting involved in car collecting, as well as in the family business of restoring (mostly Ford) cars. However, the younger family members aren’t mainly T-Bird aficionados like Dad was.
Jewel’s son, Terry Meetz, is a second-generation restorer and Ford buff. Terry owns and runs Custom Plating Services, a chrome plating shop adjacent to his dad’s body shop on the Meetz farm. Terry took over this business after the former owner threatened to close up. Today, it is thriving because Terry works long, hard hours like his dad does. Terry also loves Fords like his dad does — but instead of T-Birds, his passion is the 1969 Mustang Mach 1.
Hanging on a wall in his garage, Terry has a photograph of himself when he was a high school senior. That was 25 years ago, in 1984, a year before the article about his dad was written. Naturally, he looks young and carefree in the photo. Why not? He is leaning against a red 1969 Mustang Mach 1 SportsRoof — a car most high school seniors could only dream of having back then.
When entering Terry’s garage, the first thing that catches most people’s eyes is his chrome-decorated snow blower. However, your eyes are then sure to focus on the red 1969 Mustang Mach 1 in front of the snow blower. It looks like the car in Terry’s high school senior photo, although it does have a few upgrades, like extra chrome under the hood.
Terry’s daughter, Kayla Meetz, is also a Mustang buff and owner. She has a 1966 Mustang hardtop. Kayla is a senior in high school this year. Naturally, Terry wanted her senior class picture to replicate his own, so he made sure to include her poppy red Mustang in the photograph.
Kayla’s car was put into storage for winter. While it was tucked away, Terry “stole” some of the trim parts off the car and then he re-chromed them. Terry wrapped them up and gave them to her for Christmas. “She thought that was the best present she had ever gotten,” he said. “Within five minutes she sent out a red alert text message, and all her high school friends knew about it.” In the good old days, Terry had to drive his car around to find his friends.
With two members of the family drooling over Mustangs, Terry’s son, Cody Meetz, went off in a third direction, but a “blue oval” one nevertheless. Cody is building a chopped 1950 Ford custom. The car he is working on was actually Jewel Meetz’s ride at one time.
“Cody worked on ‘Grandpa’ for years, asking Dad to give or sell him the car,” Terry explained. “Jewel finally said that Cody could have it if they would work on it together.”
Jewel also gave a 1964 Mustang convertible to Terry’s nephew, Andrew Kleist, and is helping him with its restoration. “Dad feels that it’s a great way to teach another young person how to restore a car,” Terry said. “He is hoping my nephew will take a liking to the restoration profession and work for him later on.”
Terry’s brother, Tim Meetz, works at Custom Plating Specialties, but his ride is a 1979 Pontiac Trans Am that he’s restoring this winter. “Okay, so Tim is not a ‘Ford family’ guy,” says Terry. “But, I also have a stepson named Nathan Schneider who wants me to help him get an old pickup truck.”
Terry says he told Nathan that he would help him — as long as the truck he gets is an F-O-R-D.
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