This car isn’t just “Infamous” because I own it, it’s infamous because of reputation and history over the years. This is probably what is so appealing about this car, because not only was the ownership interesting but so was the cars constant modifications and changes throughout its existence.
It all started in 1987 when the car was purchased new by Mr. Derek Hanson himself, later to be sold through Donway Ford in Toronto Ontario as a DECH Dealer option car. A true DECH car doesn’t get much more authentic than that when it’s purchased and owned by the man behind the name!
The first registered owner of this car shows Derek Hanson on December 22, 1987. This is where DECH outfitted the car with the following modification:
- SALEEN Body Kit (Dech Aero kits were not yet available)
- DECH Springs
- DECH G-Load Brace
- DECH Wilwood Brakes
- DECH Nylatron Shift Knob
- DECH Koni Struts & Shocks
- DECH -Momo Monte Carlo Steering Wheel
- DECH Simmons Staggered 3pc Wheels
From here the car was sold via Donway Ford where the vehicle history report shows as registered to them for literally 1 day on May 17, 1988. Then shown as registered by David Saltmarche a day later on May 18, 1988 who would then carry on to own the car for the majority of its life.
David owned the car well up to an estimated 2011 when unfortunately he passed away from cancer. Constantly built up over the years this car was driven and enjoyed (unfortunately through a winter or two). David was no stranger to the track and truly enjoyed the car during in his ownership as he was constantly upgrading the car with additional modifications:
- DECH Aero Body Kit upgraded (weren’t available in early 88)
- DECH AFD-II Spoiler
- DECH ASG System (used by SN-95 cars)
- Recaro Race Seats
- Original Engine was stroked out to 347ci by Active Engines
- Balanced and Blueprinted
- 10:1 compression
- GT-40 Tubular Intakes and Heads
- Keith Black Pistons & Forged Rods
- Upgraded cam (unkown)
- Eagle forged crank
- ARP hardware
- Power (unkown)
It is understood that that Mr. Saltmarche never did get to enjoy the upgraded engine and that the car sat in storage until later sold. One picture below may suggest a nearby garage where the car was kept prior to its sale sometime in 2011 or 2012.
June 14, 2013 is when the next “documented” owner, Steven would purchase/register the car. But things didn’t add up, Steven did not buy the car from the Saltmarche family, instead it was from a “man in the middle”. This individual never actually registered the car. Why? perhaps to save on taxes or to keep the documented owner history down? What we do know is that he would have been the one to acquire the car from the Saltmarche family.
During the “middle man” ownership, the car received a pretty decent looking paint job in Oxford White, however it was accompanied by some horrendous body work to cover and hide rust from the winters which the car had seen. Some attempted “undercoating” was sprayed over rust spots on the underside of the car and in wheel wells really creating a mess which was later exposed.
Cutting costs is never a good thing and unfortunately this “flip” was not in the best interest in preserving this ultra rare DECH Foxbody. I have yet to confirm how long the car was owned during this period of time but here is a picture of how it looked before and after.
Steven owned the car for about 4 years where it appears he barely put any mileage on the car. Later posting the car up on Bring A Trailer is where in fact, I came to know more about this car. Until then I had only heard the stories of a “rotting DECH Foxbody in someones garage). This is when I tried to buy this car for the first time.
You can see I was the high bidder with “Reserve Not Met”. It was here were many skeletons of the car were publicly exposed in the message board.
Steven did do quite a decent job explaining the poor body work etc on his listing so I give him credit for his honesty as this was a “sight unseen” purchasing situation for me;
The prior owner commissioned a lower quality re-paint in Oxford White (9L) and filler was used in the rocker panels. Substandard paint and bodywork is present in both rear quarter panels and rockers. Rust is present in the rockers, surface corrosion underneath, and previous repair is evident in the lower right front fender covered by the front air dam.
At the time I really wasn’t prepared to pay much more than my highest bid but after a lot of back and forth with the seller; over 12 months, 41 email exchanges, 6 phone calls and hearing more of the story of the car from Derek Hanson himself, we finally agreed on a price and my friends went and picked up the car for me.
Here are some of the pictures I took of the car when I finally got a chance to glance at it. Looks great from 10 feet away and white sure does hide a lot. However the skeletons are revealing themselves and there is still more to come.
So I am looking forward to driving this car a bit this summer to get an idea of how the drivetrain/suspension and brakes are performing before I strip the entire car down to see how much work is going to be involved in restoring it.
I believe I will have 2 options:
- I can restore the car fully and get all of the rust/rot out and bring this car back to life with its amazing story and history.
- I can prolong the inevitable and give the car as much chemo therapy as possible and enjoy it out on the track and street as much as I can before she has to brought to pasture.
I won’t know until I am able to really assess the level of rust. Luckily I have already sourced out some rear quarter panels that are rust free and hoping that the other panels can be saved. Stay tuned for what happens with this car and feel free to share your comments on what you think should happen with this ultra rare and truly “infamous” DECH Foxbody.