To celebrate the 50th Anniversary of the Mustang, we’ll be celebrating all year long by bringing you Mustangs each Monday!

A feature here at the Daily Driver is the Car Crash. Breathe easy – no actual cars were harmed in the making of this crash. That would be a crime, and a cryin’ shame. Our Car Crash is much more fun – in a “crash a party” kind of a way. If you’ve ever seen a vintage car and wanted to see the interior or wondered about its restoration process, then the Car Crash is just the post for you. Join us as we explore the details of a gorgeous vehicle…

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While at the Automobile Driving Museum’s celebration for the 50th Anniversary of the Mustang, we ran into this fascinating beast…

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… or, shall we say, DABEEST.  Owned by Jim Foster of Topanga Canyon, Ca., this Mustang happens to be Jim’s very first car, which has been with him since September of 1976.  While I was interviewing Jim for this story, a show goer asked Jim why he didn’t have vintage black and gold plates.  Jim replied that changing the plates out for more vintage-looking ones would mean that he’d have to get rid of his beloved yearly registration stickers.  See them piled up in this photo?  They’re at least 1/4 of an inch thick.  He’s very proud that he’s been able to add one sticker for every year he’s been driving it!

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Jim, who is a past President of the Valley Mustang Club and the current Regional Director of the Mustang Club of America, is the proud second owner of this car.  The current engine had over 450,000 miles on it before being rebuilt in October of 2012.  While the engine was being machined, Jim learned that it had been rebuilt once before, at some point before he obtained the vehicle.

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Jim bought this car from a dean at Pierce College, where he attended school.  The Mustang came with a faculty sticker, so Jim was able to spend the first part of each semester in the best faculty parking spots – quite the perk for a college student!

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Modifications to the car include a Holly 600 4-barrel carburetor, dual exhaust with “shorty” headers, mag wheels, an extra large radiator, a new stereo, rebuilt engine, and…

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… the back end of another ’68 Mustang!  You’ve got that right, Dabeest is two Mustangs in one.

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Here’s where we break the news that this Car Crash story involves an actual car crash, of the “ouch” variety.  On May 26, 2006, Jim received the worst, and best, birthday gift.  The worst?  His beloved Mustang was involved in a terrible accident.

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The best?  Jim thankfully survived the accident.  Unfortunately, as often happens with vintage cars in situations like these, the car was declared a total loss by his insurance company.

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But Jim wasn’t giving up on Dabeest.  He kept the car, which now has a salvage title.

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He then used the money from the insurance company, cashed out a 401K plan (before the market went down) and put Dabeest back together!

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Hundreds of hours of work and eight months later, Dabeest came back to life, thanks to the crew at Chino’Z Auto Body.  It is now insured as a collector’s car and is now his 401K.

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So what has Dabeest been up to since its makeover?  This Mustang has been making the rounds at a variety of shows and events, and has garnered a variety of 1st, 2nd, and 3rd place trophies.  Everywhere it goes, Dabeest seems to make new friends.

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One of Dabeest’s newest friends?  Pop star Katy Perry.  Yup, you’ve got that right.  Katy used Dabeest in her music video, “The One That Got Away.”

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I know what you’re thinking – that is NOT Katy Perry.  In this video, Katy plays two versions of her character – one young, and one old.  Here’s 80 year-old Katy’s character driving DABEEST, the car she kept in remembrance of her boyfriend of long ago.

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There are several great shots of DABEEST on video, including one where Katy’s character drives it out of her multi-million dollar home for a joy ride.  As Jim says, not bad for a salvage car, right?

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From salvage to sublime, this Mustang and owner Jim certainly both got their happily ever after.  We expect these two will be together for a long, long time.  Special thanks to Jim Foster for sharing his love of DABEEST with us!

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