The Grateful Dead sang, “Lately it occurs to me what a long, strange trip it’s been!” That could be said about a beautiful young lady from Coushatta who hit the road 50 years ago this week. Wednesday she returned to the home she left so long ago.
That lady is Mathilda, a beautiful restomod 1968 Ford Mustang GT fastback. The lady was purchased new in July, 1968 from Strange Motor Company in Coushatta. She is owned by Cindy and Jerry Ezernack of Zwolle. The Ezernacks brought the car back for a 50th reunion. Quality Ford owner Jerry Hester joined Cindy and Jerry for a photo session. Then they drove Mathilda over next to Hester’s pride and joy, a brand new Mustang Shelby 350 GT. They looked great and sounded great together.
Cindy Ezernack said she did not know who the original purchaser of her vehicle was. She also doesn’t know where the car went between 1968 and 1977. So our story picks up in 1977.
Cindy said the car was how Jerry won her hand, and heart, back in 1977 while she was still in high school. Jerry worked at a body shop and found the car but thought the asking price was too high. Some wheeling and dealing later the car was bought and given to Cindy. Yep, Cindy married her high school sweetheart Jerry and they’ve been motoring happily along ever since.
Jerry Ezernack told the Journal when he found the ’68 Fastback it was owned by David Davis. That’s a familiar name to many in Red River Parish. Ezernack said that was prior to Davis buying the Coushatta Ford store. Jerry Hester later purchased Quality Ford from Davis.
The Ezernacks drove Mathilda for about 6 years. There is a picture in their album of the car covered in shaving cream and whatever as they departed from their wedding ceremony. Cindy said they garaged it in 1983 when their children came along. It sat in a barn on their property near Zwolle for about 23 years. By 2006 Mathilda was looking a great deal worse from wear and neglect.
Jerry showed the Journal their photo album that documented the long and difficult task of replacing rusted out panels, rebuilding the suspension, replacing the interior and all that goes into a project like that. Jerry did most of the work himself. The work started in 2006 and the car was completed in 2013.
Mathilda is gorgeous! It is a lot more than a restoration. The term is restomod meaning that while undergoing a thorough restoration the vehicle was modified to include much work on the engine, suspension, wheels and paint job. The ghost flames on the hood are spectacular.
If you are wondering about the name Mathilda and how it is spelled, think back to the late 50s Louisiana rock and roll. Mathilda by Cookie and His Cupcakes was on top of the national top 100 charts in 1959. The song was the rage in west Louisiana and the town of Zwolle adopted it as their “national anthem.” So Cindy Ezernack said it was only logical that their Mustang be named Mathilda (spelled the way it is on the record label).
The circle was completed on Wednesday afternoon when Cindy and Jerry Ezernack drove Mathilda to Quality Ford. They told their story and showed off their beautiful GT Fastback to people who could not resist the urge to stop by. Fifty years ago, this Mustang drove away from Strange Motor Company. Wednesday it drove back to Quality Ford to celebrate the anniversary.