Skip to main content

Unfinished Business: WWII veteran's Mustang gets a makeover

By Al Rogers

1967 Mustang Coupe A012

This is how the '67 Mustang coupe looked when it was found in Lafayette, Ind. It was then returned to owner Harry Donovan.

In 1969, Harry Donovan purchased a used low-mileage ‘67 Mustang for his wife Marie, from longtime friend and army veteran Budd Carson, owner of Carson Ford in Plainfield, Ind. Marie Donovan loved her Mustang and drove it regularly until her passing in 2000.

As a tribute to his late wife, Harry Donovan decided to have it restored in 2009. One of the family members put it best; “During the summer months Marie Donovan used to load up the Mustang with her grandchildren Harry IV, Cara, Danielle, and Melissa then off they’d go to the neighborhood swimming pool. To this day it’s a fond memory for each of the four grandchildren and the little red Mustang has turned into a family heirloom”.

1967 Mustang Coupe A002

Harry Donovan and his grandson Harry Donovan IV with the '67 Mustang Coupe during the Mustang Club of America 40th anniversary event at the Indianapolis Speedway on Friday September 2nd, 2016.

On Sept. 2, Harry Donovan and his grandson Harry IV were given an opportunity to join the Mustang Club of America 40th anniversary event at the Indianapolis Speedway with the 1967 Mustang coupe. Through the efforts of George Magro Mustang Club of America (MCA) Board of Director and Rick Fowler Traffic Supervisor Indianapolis Speedway, the grandfather and grandson made memories with their beloved Candy Apple Red ’67 Mustang.

1967 Mustang Coupe A006

(From left to right) Jay Webb, Harry Donovan, Harry Donovan IV and Justin Bliss with the '67 Mustang during the Mustang Club of America 40th Anniversary event.

It was the first Mustang show the two have attended with the ’67 Mustang since it was recovered from an automobile restorer who’d disappeared with it and thousands of dollars in 2009 after promising to give the car a complete restoration. Initially, Donovan and the restorer stayed in contact. According to Donovan; “the restorer kept saying the restoration was coming along fine”. A few years ago the restorer had gone AWOL with the Mustang. He’d also fleeced the 95-year-old Donovan for over $7,000 during the process.

1967 Mustang Coupe A013

The Mustang was in running condition when the restorer received it and promised to do a total restoration on it nearly 7 years ago. It was recovered missing the engine, radiator, hood, bumpers and other parts.Nearly a year ago Harry Donovan went on a mission to find the restorer and his missing ’67 Mustang.

In late spring of 2016 Indiana law officials located the ’67 Mustang. Donovan had the car back in his garage nearly 7 years after the restoration process had supposedly started.

1967 Mustang Coupe A018

When the restorer initially took delivery of the Mustang it was complete and in running condition. It was found and recovered as a mere shell of itself near Lafayette, Ind., at a private residence minus the engine, radiator, hood, bumpers and other parts.

1967 Mustang Coupe A020

The ’67 Mustang was displayed at the MCA 40th anniversary event as found.

Hats off to the Indy Star and reporter Tim Evans. They caught wind of the story and got involved. The newspaper carried the story on the front page. It’s how Ken Mosier, owner of the Finer Details, found out. A friend walked into his shop and presented a copy of the Indy Star for Mosier to read. After seeing the cover and reading the story Mosier stated: “You know I’m going to do what it takes to be the one who restores this Mustang for Harry Donovan”.

Indy Star newspaper story

Soon word started getting out about the ’67 Mustang and American Legion Post 118 joined the effort to get the process moving.

Ken Mosier and Harry Donovan A1

(Left to Right) Ken Mosier owner of The Finer Details and '67 Mustang owner Harry Donovan discuss the '67 Mustang restoration at the Finer Details showroom in Danville, Indiana.

The parts, labor, and materials to perform the restoration are being donated from companies and the private sector.

We’re going to be on hand to follow the process and write about it as the restoration progresses. A formal unveiling will take place in the spring of next year. Stay tuned.

Where to Bid

Car Auciton

Check out the Old Cars Auction Calendar

The Old Cars Auction Calendar has the when and where you are looking for when it comes to classic car auctions.