In early March 2001, a good friend of mine, Dave Basa connected me with John Mogor, the owner of a 1974 Matador Coupe that he needed to sell rather quickly due to a pending move to Michigan. Everything about the car sounded good - X package, blue, bucket seats, stored indoors, etc. Christina and I discussed it, and decided to arrange to go pick up the car. We arrived to pick it up on March 31, 2001. John was a very pleasant person, and the trip, other than getting totally lost, was nice. The car had sat at least 20 years, and it took several guys to push the car rearward to the trailer for transport. The last documented service and known use of the car was in 1979, last plated in 1982. The car sat in the same spot for over 20 years. John did take some steps to preserve the car, which helped greatly. Work began before the car was even unloaded from the trailer. The oil was changed, and the entire car was washed while still on the trailer. Several photos were taken. The car was untouched and original, although in somewhat rough condition. Everything was there and by looking at the car, one was literally taken back 20 years. The original owner told me there was transmission failure, but I had another transmission at home.
The Matador before restoration
The car was equipped as follows:
Some early "in-progress" pictures
Work done so far:
Progress as of August, 2001
Progress in October, 2001
The 304 fired up and ran well after 22 years in storage with minor prep work. The Matador was back on the road as of April 19, 2001 and runs and drives well. Body work started June 2001, and paint was complete as of October 14, 2001.
Some "after" shots
I have kept John Mogor informed as to the progress on the car. He was happy to see the progress. This was his first car, but when he had the transmission trouble, he parked it in hopes of someday restoring it, but that time never came for him. I explained to him that the Matador Coupe I had was also my first car, and I regretted selling it, and always hoped I could locate another. I am very happy to have the car, and my fiance Christina is happy too because of the memories we had with the first one. John is happy to see the car go to a good home and to be kept informed as to the progress. He asked me to drive it up so he could see it. We will do just that sometime in spring or early sumer of 2002.
The new 401, under construction
We look forward to finishing the restoration, and enjoying the fruits of our labor. Christina's Dad actually did the paint work, while Christina and I did the vast majority of the body work and prep work. After 20 years in a garage, the body was spared a lot of damage. There were some dings, scratches and a close call with the frame of a garage door, but all in all, a nice body to work with. It took a whole afternoon to get the old stripe off the body! I will have the original valve covers, the underhood support bars, and several other pieces plated rather than just painted black. Looks good, and it's easier to keep clean too. When I got this one running good, I have to admit, a few of my friends and I took it out on a couple of occasions and just drove around to different places, and it felt cool. Looking over that long hood with the nacelles for the headlights flowing ahead of you is something that I just really enjoy. The interior of the Matador Coupe is plenty roomy for four to run around in. My oldest son, age 11, seems to like the car. We'll see where his interests take him.
Visit Bill's website for more information and pictures.
(edited by Craig Bond, webmaster - www.matadorcoupe.com)