LEAGUE CITY — Tim Paulissen is celebrating a pretty big birthday this week. It’s the big 5-0.
Only it’s not the League City mayor’s 50th — he’s 55. The birthday celebrated this past week at Charlotte Motor Speedway in North Carolina is the 50th birthday of America’s premier muscle car the Ford Mustang.
Paulissen was there with his 1969 Mustang Mach 1, that, until a few years ago, was buried under boxes in his garage.
The blue Mustang actually is Paulissen’s second.
“I’ve always been into muscle cars, especially the Mustangs,” Paulissen said. “I think most guys my age are fascinated by muscle cars.”
Paulissen is so proud of his work on the car that its featured in his official city bio.
His first car was a 1969 Mustang Fastback that he purchased soon after he got his driver’s license in 1975.
“I would take it to the track and race it every Friday night,” Paulissen said.
The Fastback was Paulissen’s everyday car until he purchased the Mach 1 in 1979 for $2,600.
In 1982 when he went to work for Nissan, Paulissen put the Mustang in his garage. It remained there for 16 years.
“I always intended to restore it,” he said. “I just never got around to it.”
In 1998, Paulissen decided to get the Mach 1 back on the road.
“It was covered in boxes and stuff was all inside, too,” Paulissen said. “It took me three to four months just to get it running again.”
At first, Paulissen’s son drove the car; then the mayor decided he wanted to do more than just have it running.
Whenever he had free time, he would slowly restore the muscle car. Occasionally, he entered the vehicle in local car shows, including the Keels and Wheels Concours d`Elegance show at Lakewood Yacht Club in Seabrook.
“About 97 percent of the car is original parts,” Paulissen said. “I’ve replaced a few parts for (the Mustang anniversary event.)”
He has a binder full of receipts and estimates he spent between $10,000 and $14,000 on the restoration.
Last week, Paulissen and some friends loaded the Mustang on a trailer and took of for Concord, N.C., where they joined more than 3,000 other Mustang lovers from 16 countries for one of two official 50th birthday celebrations hosted by the Mustang Club of America and Ford Motor Co. The other birthday party was at Las Vegas Motor Speedway in Nevada.
Those who joined in the fun got a chance to take their ’Stangs for a spin on the racetrack.
The celebrations end today.
Under the hood
DETAILS: League City Mayor Tim Paulissen spent more than 16 years restoring his 1969 Ford Mustang Mach 1.
ENGINE: 351 Windsor V-8 with a Shaker scoop on the hood
HORSEPOWER: 156 Horses and 4,600 RPM
EXTRAS: Has Air Conditioning and power steering
PURCHASE PRICE: $2,600 in 1979
ESTIMATED 2014 VALUE: $27,000 to $35,000