As quickly as we are told that "the rules" must be followed, we're told that rules are "made to be broken" or that there is "an exception to every rule." For many years we (the collective hobby) have followed the rule that the last of the Mustang convertibles were produced in 1973 until the re-introduction in 1983. Right? Well, technically that's correct, but what you see on these pages is that "exception to the rule."
Texan Mark Povenzano drove a 1978 Cobra II (which he still owns) during his high school years. His plans entailed locating another Mustang II and converting it to a convertible Cobra to accompany his first Cobra on the show circuit. Aware of these plans, a friend passed along information of a convertible Mustang II resting on a local car lot. "I explained to him nicely that he must have been mistaken because they never made such a car. His reply was that he didn't believe it either so he stopped to get a closer look," Mark told us. After hearing his friend's description, Mark decided to take a look for himself.
Sure enough, the car was indeed a convertible Mustang II that appeared to be a factory-style conversion. Unfortunately the two-year-old pony has been "rode hard and put up wet" more than once. One of the convertible top latches was missing, the elements has pretty much ruined the interior, the carpet was nearly non-existent, and, to add insult to injury, the seats had been spray painted. Nonetheless, the uniqueness of the car had a strangle-hold on Mark's interest. He test-drove the ragtop only to find that despite a decently running low-mileage engine, the transmission slipped between second and third gear. Undaunted, Mark took the pitiful pony home.
A friend researched the car through the department of public safety and found that it had indeed been sold new as a convertible. Further research revealed that this Mustang II was sent directed by Ford to Emmess Coach Builders in Florida for conversion and was then sold from Charlie Thomas Ford in Houston.
Mark discovered the conversion company was out of business which prompted a visit to the selling dealership.
Needless to say when Mark arrived in the droptop Mustang II everyone at the dealership wanted to take a look. The sales manager proved to have the best memory of the car's history revealing that he believed there to be 44 of the Mustang II convertibles built which were sent to a select few dealerships across the country. The sales manager tried in vain to get Mark to sell the car. His offer included an even swap for a brand new 1981 Mustang!
At the time Mark put his restoration plans into motion he was a college student working two part-time jobs. The entire process took much longer than he had hoped, but he never gave up his dream.
The Bright Red paint, applied by Corky's Rod Shop, is now 12 years old but still looks new. Mark indicates that he installed the ground effects which further enhance the unusual characteristics of this not-so-ordinary Mustang. A few years ago he completely restored the red interior and detailed the original 5.0L powerplant.
Awards have been plentiful on the show circuit as have been questions and comments. Mark's favorite comment is "that's the only Mustang II I've seen that I like."
Along with his wife Dea and stepson Bryan, Mark owns 15 Mustang; among them a few more Mustang II's, numerous Saleens, and two Shelbys. All of these cars are drive to events and even occasionally see duty at the drag strip or an autocross. "I have restored many cars of all makes and models but all of them I have kept through the years were Mustangs." With a collection like that, who can blame him?
So the next time someone state that there were no Mustang II converibles built, politely state "you must be mistaken!"