WHILE walking home one day along Beaudesert Rd in Brisbane, a Ford Mustang Mach 1 tore past then 10-year-old John Hardacre.
"I said one day I'll own one,” Mr Hardacre said.
"I just remember the car but I didn't think about (that moment) for years later.”
Mr Hardacre's wish would become a reality later in life.
He bought a 1970 Ford Mustang Mach 1 from a friend in 1989 while living in Brisbane and it followed him across the border as he made the move to the Northern Territory for work very shortly after.
It was a "wreck” when he got his hands on it but Mr Hardacre did enough work to get it up and running to be able to tackle the highways of the Territory, which operated without speed limits.
Topping off at speeds of 140 miles an hour (225km/h), he delighted in pushing the car to its limits and bringing workmates along for the ride.
He was also behind the wheel of the Mustang as it took part in burnout competitions and drag race events.
"Taking someone for a run, and because it's left hand drive, and you're pushing to go as fast as it can... they just scream,” he laughed.
"Doing that speed is just incredible. You wouldn't do it here, the roads aren't good enough, but up there it was just a blast.
"(140 miles an hour) is where it runs out of revs, it wouldn't go any faster.”
Between 2000-2002, he undertook a full restoration of the Mustang, which involved every nut and bolt being removed.
"I did a rotisserie restoration... I did most of it myself, all the mechanical stuff, the interior and paint is the only thing I didn't do,” he said.
"I was working away two weeks and a week off, I was doing it in between (work).”
On his return to Queensland in 2005, the car came back with him, looking like a very different beast to the one that first travelled to the Northern Territory 15 years before.
"It went there a wreck and came back looking much better,” he said.
His passion for cars started when he got his licence and was something inherited from his uncle, who drag raced in the 1960s and 1970s in a 1951 Ford Twin Spinner.
Mr Hardacre believes there's nothing quite like driving an older model of car.
"I've just always been a Ford nut... I've always liked Mustangs and that's where it all started,” he said.
"There's no creature comforts, you've got to drive them, you can't sit back and relax.
"You have to actually drive the car.”
A bad back means his driving is now limited to short trips in the hot seat and he is looking to move it on to another owner so they can enjoy the car just as he did.
"I cannot enjoy the car anymore,” he said.
"If I drive to Acacia Ridge and back, I'll spend the next two or three days in bed.
"I did everything I wanted to, burnout comps, drag racing and a couple of the big events.
"I've done so much and I've had it for so long. It's a shame, I'll cry the day it goes.”
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