Buchanan Family / Indianapolis, IN
We first met Mark Buchanan way back in 1982 when Car Craft visited his family's exceptional fleet of Ford fixer-uppers ("Family Portrait," June '82), all purchased long ago when you could find a used-up race car like a '64Thunderbolt for $850. Dropping in on them today makes us feel a little better about our own leisurely pace. Three of the cars under construction for that '82 story are still works in progress today. To be fair, Mark and his brother Bob Jr. have spent the better part of the last 23 years building a successful sheetmetal fabrication business called Bo-Mar Industries. As with many car crafters, new projects keep taking priority over the old. At least Mark still owns the '64 lightweight Galaxie CC featured in "White Elephant" (Nov. '04) and "Requiem for a Heavyweight" (July '83). His latest project is a '64 Country Squire wagon, a West Coast jewel that will soon receive a 427 high-riser just because he has one. Mike says he'll make it a little different by fitting the cruiser with A/C: "I don't know that I've ever seen a High-Riser with an A/C compressor on it. That should be cool." That leaves four very important musclecars to go after he finishes the wagon. We'll check in with him in another 23 years to see how he's doing.
In the rafters just above the lightweight Galaxie is the frame for Mark and brother Bob's rear-engine dragster that ran 8.70s with a 427 side oiler. Later, with a 460, the Buchanans back-halved the car and ran 7.97 at 174.5 mph.
This is Mark's '68 428CJ Shelby purchased in 1974 for a mere $850. He says the 80,000-mile Mustang has "the most rust of any car I own," though most Midwestern car crafters would consider it to be in excellent condition.
Mark's wife Jill bought this Boss 302 in 1977 during the gas-crunch days when musclecars were considered disposable and going cheap. The Boss has a mere 17,000 original miles on it and still needs the minor cosmetic freshening that Mark said it needed in 1982.
Mark's '64 427-powered lightweight Galaxie has changed little since Car Craft featured it in 1983. Even as a lightweight with acid-dipped body parts, this fullsize Ford weighs in at around 3,600 pounds.
Mark's current project is a pristine '64 Country Squire four-door wagon with the ersatz wood trim. The 72,000-mile car came from the West Coast, and although Mark has already performed a frame-off, he admits it really didn't need it. "The car was so original, it still had leaded gas in the tank when we bought it." Bob Sr. found a swing-away steering column from another '64 Ford that will make this cruiser different. The fenders in the foreground are for this wagon.
Bob Sr.'s covered Model T hides Mark's '64 Thunderbolt, frozen in time since 1982, right down to its acid-dipped body panels and plexiglass windows. A set of OE '63 fiberglass doors will go on eventually.
An adjoining room houses Bob Sr.'s red GT350 Shelby bought in 1976 for $800. "It seems like none of the cars we bought back then cost more than eight or nine hundred dollars," Mark says. The GT350 Shelby is an oddity in that it's backed with an automatic instead of the typical four-speed.