Editor’s note: This piece is part of the ClassicCars.com Journal’s Muscle Month. We’ll be featuring stories, cars and people during July about everything and anything that goes fast.
In the winter of 2017, I had begun looking for a car that was different from others that would increase in value. I began searching on the internet and found several possibilities, but did not want something produced in the thousands. I thought, for a time, about a Dodge Demon but they were nearly impossible to get at any dealership.
As I continued my search, I came across the Mustang GT350R. Only a few hundred were produced for certain model years and it offered 526 horsepower.
But then I came across the 2017 Richard Petty 80th Tribute Edition Mustang GT, capable of 825 horsepower on pump gas. I found there was a limited run of just 43 of these cars. The No. 1 car is in a museum and the No. 43 was given to Petty for his 80th birthday.
After speaking with a few dealerships across the country, I found the No. 7 in Brandon, Mississippi. I didn’t pursue the No. 2 car because it wasn’t the first and the others — save for No. 7 — really had no meaning for a collection. I decided to chase No. 7 because of Petty’s seven Daytona wins and seven NASCAR championships.
I went to the dealership to pickup the car in Mississippi and brought back in an enclosed trailer. A couple trailer tires later, we were back to Wisconsin. I kept in touch with some of the dealer’s employees that blossomed into a great — and fruitful — relationship.
In May, I received a call from a salesman letting me know Petty was going to sell car No. 43 and said that I had first crack at it. It didn’t take long. We negotiated a price and the deal was finished.
I believe No. 7 car was the only one of these cars that had the radiator plate signed by Petty, so I asked if I could go watch and photograph him signing the radiator plate on the No. 43 car.
Meeting and spending time with him on the Monday after the Pocono race was an honor. He was very genuine and has such a great sense of humor.
I also had a plaque made with the basic history of the car, the VIN, a photo of Petty signing the radiator plate and proof that he once owned the car. I also have Petty’s signed title, a certificate of authenticity, the build sheet with all specifications and a thank you card signed personally by Petty.
To sweeten the deal, while I was in North Carolina, Petty’s Garage worked out a deal with me on a car hauler wrapped in its logo. That trailer was also signed by Petty.
I plan on taking No. 43 to some nice car shows.
–Scott Roshak from Greenville, Wisconsin