Colwood’s Shawn Kosmuk Restores 1969 Ford Mustang

Classic car celebrates 50 years with a new look

  • Feb. 11, 2019 9:20 a.m.

– Story by Sean McIntyre Photographs by Don Denton

Colwood’s Shawn Kosmuk never considered himself a Mustang fan, but instinct and circumstance had other plans. For the past seven years, Shawn has been hard at work rebuilding a vintage 1969 Ford Mustang Mach 1. With the car nearly restored to its original state, he’s prepared to concede he may have a little Mustang blood in his veins after all.

“I’ve been into cars my whole life, but I’ve never typically been a Mustang guy. I just like that body style, and everybody says 1969 is the year to have if you’re going to have one,” he says. “I see cars as art and this one looks beautiful to me.”

Shawn Kosmuk stands with his 1969 Mustang at Esquimalt Lagoon.

Shawn may not have realized it at the time, but his connection to the classic car started when he was a child, watching 1968’s Oscar-winning Bullitt. The movie features actor Steve McQueen driving a 1968 Mustang in what film critic Emanuel Levy called “one of the most exciting car chases in film history, a sequence that revolutionized Hollywood’s standards.” The 11-minute ride through the streets of San Fransisco is widely thought to have cemented the film’s status as an instant classic.

Shawn may not be burning rubber and squealing turns amidst local landmarks like Fisherman’s Wharf and the Coit Tower, but he’s having a great time making do with the hills and curves of Southern Vancouver Island.

“It’s an absolute joy to go up around these hills. It smells and feels like you’re getting into a race car, and it’s just so freeing — you just go out for a cruise and listen to the engine,” he says. “I have so much fun driving it that it’s hard to find time to do the work on it.”

Front grill and headlights on Shawn Kosmuk’s 1969 Mustang at Esquimalt Lagoon.

Shawn figures he’s completed about 98 per cent of his restoration but jokes that work on a classic car is never really finished. He began working on it about seven years ago, when he picked it up near his former home near Caroline, Alberta, about 60 kilometres southwest of Red Deer. The car’s previous owner acquired it from a Seattle resident, but no longer had the time and energy to commit to what promised to be a massive restoration project.

“When I got it it was half yellow and half black. The original colour was lime green,” he says.

Shawn filled garbage bag after garbage bag with peelings from 11 layers of paint as he got down to bare metal. He carved out corrosion and welded in new rear-quarter panels, straightened out what appeared to be some minor collision damage on the front end and completely rebuilt the car’s 395-horsepower engine.

View of motor in Shawn Kosmuk’s 1969 Mustang.

When he moved to the coast about two years ago, the Mustang was one of the few personal possessions Shawn brought with him from the prairies. The result is a near-fully-restored classic muscle car that’’s attracting attention across the West Shore.

“Anytime I stop, I’m constantly getting thumbs up and whistled at,” he says. “It’s a typical muscle car. It’s a little bit loud, and it likes to go fast.”

Since the Mustang has its original suspension and drum brakes, driving it serves up one heck of a workout. And despite the car’s sleek exterior, Shawn says, its handling characteristics require a “special touch” behind the wheel — something that’s given Shawn a new appreciation for how far car technology has evolved in the 50 years since this car first hit the road.

“I can’t imagine what things were like before this because they thought this was amazing for its time,” he says. “It’s fun to drive, but it’s also a good reminder of how far we’ve come in such little time.”

Rear view of Shawn Kosmuk’s 1969 Mustang at Esquimalt Lagoon..

Just Posted

Okanagan Air Cadet challenges cadet program on gendered policy

He wants the policy to be more gender inclusive

Okanagan-Shuswap Weather: Summer sun for Sunday

The forecast for the week ahead shows some rain but plenty of sun and warm tempertures.

In photos: Uptown Askew’s Family Day

The Uptown Askew’s Family Day event was filled with classic cars, face… Continue reading

CSRD to support cannabis growth in agricultural zones

Regional district revision brings policy in line with Agricultural Land Commission

Word on the street: Has the wet July weather put a damper on your summer any?

Due to the wetter-than-usual July weather, the Observer asked: Has the wet… Continue reading

July showers wash out half of the Okanagan’s cherry crop

Cherry growers say this is the worst season they’ve seen in decades

Fire department helps with body recovery in Okanagan Lake

Penticton fire department assisted the RCMP with the recovery of a body Saturday

Police on scene at Penticton beach

RCMP were at a what is believed to be a crime scene near Skaha Beach Sunday

Community service ordered for Princeton man who stole from firefighters

A young man who stole food and money from the Princeton Volunteer… Continue reading

Okanagan rainbow crosswalk defaced

Vandals cover colours with white paint in District of Coldstream sometime overnight Saturday

B.C. VIEWS: NDP pushes ahead with Crown forest redistribution

This isn’t the time for a radical Indigenous rights agenda

Two dead in two-vehicle crash between Revelstoke and Golden

RCMP are investigating the cause of the crash

Ottawa fights planned class action against RCMP for bullying, intimidation

The current case is more general, applying to employees, including men, who worked for the RCMP

Alberta judge denies B.C.’s bid to block ‘Turn Off the Taps’ bill

He said the proper venue for the disagreement is Federal Court

Most Read