Convertibles have never occupied a high position on Ray Hummel's wish list, however, he did own a convertible years ago when he was in high school. Hummel recalls, "I told myself I would never own one again."
Over the years since then Hummel has bought several cars and trucks to "fix up" and sell. In 2003, his sun-loving wife, Jennifer, mentioned that it sure would be nice if one day he bought a convertible for her. Always eager to please, Hummel put aside his disdain for convertible cars and began shopping for a suitable one for his wife.
"After looking at many high-priced Mustang convertibles," he says, "I asked her what she thought about a midsize or a full-size convertible."
She said it didn't matter, just as long as the top went down.
One Friday morning, Hummel recalls, he responded to an ad in the local newspaper offering a 1972 Ford LTD convertible for what he thought was an extremely low price.
The seller had purchased the car from the original owner and affirmed the bargain price was because the car didn't run. Regardless, Hummel bought the car, sight unseen, over the telephone with the agreement that he would come with a tow truck and the money at the end of the day after he got off work to get the car.
"He told me that I was the first caller so he would hold the car for me," Hummel says.
When Hummel arrived the seller informed him that he had received several dozen other calls offering to buy the car, too.
Records indicate that when it was new the 4,165-pound Ford LTD convertible had sold for a base price of $4,057. This particular car probably sold for a lot more because it was loaded.
Under the expansive hood is the 400-cubic-inch V-8 engine and "power-assisted options" including, seats, brakes, steering, windows, and convertible top operation. An AM/FM radio occupies the center of the dashboard.
During the 1972 model year Ford offered nine separate LTD models. Only 4,234 LTD convertibles were produced. The lengthy 121-inch wheelbase combined with the sheer heft of the car provided occupants with a proper comfortable ride, appropriate since luxury was emphasized.
With the Ford in his garage Hummel began bringing it back to life. He was pleasantly surprised when his wife began cleaning and detailing the car.
"She could not have been happier seeing any car in the driveway as she was seeing her convertible," he recollects.
When new the convertible was black, but when Hummel acquired the car it was white with a black top. When he had it stripped prior to repainting he reports there must have been a quarter of an inch of paint on the car. It had obviously been repainted several times without any of the earlier layers of paint removed.
The big V-8 engine and the C-6 automatic transmission have been overhauled and Hummel is pleased to report that Jennifer drives it whenever possible on nice days.
"Always," he adds, "with the top down, of course."
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