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Belgium's Mustang Garage


LIVONIA, Mich., July 12, 2002 -- While the Ford Mustang has generated remarkable motoring enthusiasm in its 38-year history, word has reached the United States of a new and distant frontier in the car's popularity: a Mustang enthusiast's restoration shop in Belgium.

The Mustang Garage is a shop dedicated exclusively to finding, maintaining and restoring Ford Mustangs. Located in the town of Heusden Zolder (about 46 miles from Brussels), the Mustang Garage began in 1992 as new car salesman Rudy Gielen's after-hours hobby. That hobby grew steadily, and in 1998 a small, brick-and-mortar garage was opened. Two years later, new partners Adelbert and Nicole Engler came on board. An American-style showroom was added, and the Mustang Garage became a serious enterprise.

Today, Mustang Garage is an independent enterprise and is known all over Europe. While it's actually one of three European Mustang sources for European enthusiasts, it's the only one dedicated to that car alone, offering both sales and service. In every way, it’s a specialty garage, complete with period tools and spare parts. At any one time, there are 15 or more Mustangs on sale.

The shop fully restores one or two Mustangs a year, but its core business involves:

* selling Pony Cars that it buys in the USA
* providing replacement parts
* handling repair needs for current European Mustang owners

Occasionally, Mustang Garage makes custom improvements. Adelbert is particularly pleased to offer oak arm rests, which replace those originally integrated in the door panels. Over time, those plastic pieces weaken and fall off. The ones he fabricates match the wooden trim insert and are about five times less expensive than replacing entire door panels.


Adelbert explains that the shop's appeal has a lot to do with America’s appeal.

“Our familiarity with America has grown a lot since the '60s. American films here -- many of which show Mustangs -- reinforce impressions of your culture. In addition, Mustang's look over the years is enough to create butterflies in many hearts! Mustang represents freedom and affordability and it makes you different when you drive it. When you are behind the wheel of a Mustang in Europe, you turn heads!”

Pressed for his own favorite Mustang, Adelbert insists that;s a hard choice.

“I have really three favorites,” he insists. “First is the 1965 fastback, which started it all. Next, there's the first Mustang I owned: a 1971 Mach 1. Finally, I like the 1967 Shelby GT 500.”

At present, Adelbert personally owns no Mustangs.

“We put everything into the business,” he explains.

Sounding a lot like Mustang fans the world over, Adelbert confesses: “I like so many cars that I call myself a car freak. But only the Mustang gives me butterflies!”
 
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