ARI Mustang Pace & Track Cars

An attempt to register all of them
© John Bakke/Wolfgang Kohrn, website maintained by Wolfgang Kohrn

1 of 5 ARI Mustang convertibles

The ARI Riverside Raceway 428CJ Convertible

John tells us, how he got the car...
"In 1991 I was at the biggest car meeting in Scandinavia, the Power Big Meet in Vesteraas, Sweden. This meeting has one 'display' area and a camping site. In a mudhole at the camping area I spotted a very strange Mustang convertible. It had a 428 shaker and a rollbar! It was very unusual. I didnt know, they ever made a Mustang convertible with a 428 in 1970. I had heard of some 69 convertibles with 428, but never a 1970. And that rollbar was not like the Shelby style. It almost looked homemade. After I had checked the VIN#, I found out it really was a factory 428 car (03R in the VIN#). While I was there, the owner came back. He had fetched some beer and enjoyed the carmeeting, and so did I. I asked about the car and the rollbar. He thought, it was added later. I then asked him, wether he wanted to sell it and how much he would ask for. He replied that if he should ever sell it, he wanted about 150000,- swedish kroner (17.000 EURO). After the meeting I asked the Swedish Mustang Club about the car, but they did not have any info at all. In fact, I think they had never seen the car. At that time I had a 70 Boss 302 and did not have the money to buy another car. Another reason was that Nowegian import regulations at that time would have forced me to pay huge taxes. However, I could not forget the car.

In springtime the following year, the swedish "Power Magazine" had a story of a ARI Mustang Convertible. It looked very similar to the swedish car. The story in the magazine was of Mr. Bruce Weiss car, located in the U.S.. Later that year, I was again at the Power Big Meet in Vesteraas. Who else was there?
The Mustang from last year! Had he seen the Bruce Weiss story? Of course he had.
Until that very moment, he believed he had a "normal" Mustang convertible with an added rollbar. He also almost removed the rollbar when he did the restoration. Was it for sale? Yes, but do you think, he asked about 150000,- swedish kroner? NO!
He wanted much, much more. Well, I simply had to forget it. The new price was far beyond my limit.

After that date, I now and then thought about it and the fact that I could have bought it in 1991 for 17.000 EURO and the year after had to forget it. Just because of a car magazine - and that I did not have the Know-how about Mustangs and specific Rare Finds.

When all this happened I lived in northern Norway (10 km from the Russsian border). In 1999 I lived in the middle of Norway (Trondheim). We, my wife and me, moved there in 1994 because the mining company, where I had my work, had to close down. So we moved to Trondheim, where I started to study engeenering.

In May 1999, my wife was away from home for traveling. While I was waiting at the airport to pick her up, I was in the newspaper shop, paging trough the carmagazines. AND THERE IT WAS AGAIN!
I could not believe it. Was this possible? Was it the same car? Same owner? I noticed the phone number, but at this time I was ending my studies and we were planning another move. I also thought that, if it was expensive in 1992, it would not be likely cheaper in 1999.
Again, I found myself in the position, where I did not have time or money to take it ”home”. What should I do?

After a few days I finally called the owner. And it was the same owner as in 1992. He also remembered the crazy norwegian. After some talking back and forth, I finally asked about the price. JESUS, I almost burned my ear on the phone. And the condition? Almost the same as in 1992. He claimed that he had not driven it more than 3-4000 km after 1993. Well, what to do? We were right in the preparations of buying a new home and after 5 years of studying, my wallet was as thin as cigarette paper! On top of that, my wife did not like american cars! After some months, while trying to get the price down, I found out that if I could not buy it myself, I maybe could try sell it to somebody in the US. I then contacted a famous Mustang shop in the US and told them about it. They were very interested in it and after a lot of e-mails back and forth, we came to an agreement. They would buy it and I should get a locators fee.
Keep in mind that I did not tell the car owner about the deal with the US company. And at one certain stage, I had to offer the owner some money, so he did not sell it to somebody else. I was indeed not the only one, who was interested in it.

But suddenly overnight, the US company did not reply to my e-mails any further. I sent several e-mails, but they did not reply. Up to today, I don't know why. Keep in mind that this company is quite famous in the US. Well, there I was left alone and had a problem. I had offered the owner some money to hold it back and no customer to buy it.
Then the rescue was near. My old father had heard me and my wife argueing about the car. She was definitely NOT happy about me. Buying an old car, when we needed a new house and that old Opel we had, was singing its last song. Then my father stated: "Lets take it home. I know how much you want that car and I have the money." GEEEE. It was like Christmas and birthday at the same time.
My wife was not happy about that either. She stated, I would not have two old american cars in the garden.
Then I had to make a compromise, as you would guess. I said that I would sell the Boss 302 and put the money in the new house. Then she finally agreed. From that point it was just days before we travelled to Sweden and brought it home. Boy, was I happy. Can you imagine? Sure you can.

Searching for more background information... Next action was to find Mr. Bruce Weiss, because he was the owner of one of the other ARI cars. My only information was that he lived in Florida. After a lot of search on the internet, I sent a question to some of the Mustang Clubs in Florida. And this appeared to be a jackpot. After some days, I received an e-mail from Mr. Bruce Weiss. And he had a lot of info about the ARI cars including many pictures. He was kind enough to send them to me for free. I want to give special credit to him for his kindness.

What options are there on the ARI convertibles? 
My (John Bakke) car was delivered with:

  • Pastel Blue exterior paint

  • Knit and & vinyl high back bucket interior seating - White in color

  • Vinyl power convertible roof w/ glass back lite - Black in color

  • Automatic transmission

  • Standard ratio 3.00 non locking rear axle

  • Convenience check group

  • Electric clock

  • F70 x 14” wide oval tires

  • Console

  • Power steering

  • Power disc brakes

  • Manual air condition

  • AM radio

  • Interior and exterior decor groups

  • Complete tinted glass

  • Deluxe seat belts

  • Bright trim rings & hub caps

  • Tachometer

The rollbar on those convertibles are made of ordinary steel tubes with padding on.

On top of that all, ARI convertibles were delivered directly from the Dearborn assembly plant to I R Building Garage, Dearborn for a complete blueprint on the engine and transmission. It also states in the Invoice that it is delivered with ”303-M 173 Nascar” SPCL.DLR.
I have also heard that only one of the ARI convertibles was delivered with Fuel evap emission control system. 

Why? It was made for use in California. Who owns that car? I do, because my car was made for Riverside Raceway, CA. But I have not been able to confirm this.

Other 70 Mustang 428 CJ convertible info.

There were only 47 made of the 1970 model with the 428 CJ engine.

The codes from Johns Body Buck tag:

0F03R120303   76B   N    446
EW    AC    PT    PB  
1   DG    RM    SC    EC    R2

Decoding:   (Codes are rechecked by Kevin Marti of Marti Autoworks)**
76B= Convertible with Interior Decor Group
N=Pastel Blue*
446= rotation no., starting from 0 to 999
EW=Whyte Vynil and White Knitted Vynil*
AC=Air Condition
PT= Power top
PB=Power brakes
IDG= Interior Decor Group
RM=Rocker Mouldings (only in case of Dearborn)
SC=Safety Convenience Group
EC=Emission Controls
R2=Inspectors mark


Note: Acc. to Kevin Martis book (Mustang by the Numbers) only 7 Mustangs were produced in 1970 in pastel blue (or Platinum) in combination with the EW interior (total 294 pastel blue convertibles)
** Kevin Marti is planning to publish a complete and more accurate Body Buck Tag Decoder soon. Visit his website occasionally for further information on this project.

Additional Note: Special thanks to John Bakke for his very detailed report on his RARE FIND. Any information, that you might have on ARI cars, is very much appreciated.

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