During the usually prolonged project car gestation period there are a gaggle of calamities that likely occur at the most inopportune time, but a myocardial infarction isn’t usually on the checklist. But life is nothing if not uncertain. That heart attack business? Real. Serious. Mark Lengal? Real. Serious.
“Since the start of this build, during the past seven years [my wife and] I have had twins, built a new garage, remodeled the house and even brushed with death.” His devoted buddy Mike McGinnis and he were about to leave for the upholsterer’s shop in Nebraska to pick up the finished car and debut it at the Goodguys Columbus event. “We were getting the truck ready for the drive [from Stewartstown, Pennsylvania] and I was having major chest pains. My wife called 911,” Mark said. “After I left for the hospital, Mike finished the truck, cleaned my shop, and even fed my cat.” Mark was out of action for three weeks.
From the very beginning, he realized that the plan wouldn’t come to fruition without outside help and attention from others like Mike, and for that he is deeply appreciative. Despite the contributions by this small army of mercy, more than seven years passed before the cake was fully baked.
Mark bought his ’69 at the Carlisle Spring Swap Meet in 2004. He drove it home … and played with it until the following Thanksgiving, but that weekend he tore into it and had the shell twirling on the spit by Sunday evening.
Seven years ago, his plan was to build a luxury muscle car, and in the original vision it was going to be a big-block clone, but it all came back to bite him on the heinie. According to Mark, planning and making decisions was a big issue and one that would eventually deplete his wallet pocket. He charged ahead. He began sourcing parts. He stumbled onto lateral-g.net. What he found rocked him like a small nuclear detonation and the experience changed his outlook irrevocably. He was astounded at what the Pro Touring faction was doing and was amazed at the number of suppliers already dedicated to the proposition. Because of this, he ended up selling a lot of stuff he’d already bought for the big-block clone.
His army of mercy was substantial, though. Mark: “I have to hand it to lateral-g.net for showing me the light. Ben Hermance for helping me put the whole idea on paper. Frank Serafine of Prodigy Customs helped plan the build and guided me. Tracey Weaver at the Recovery Room made the car his pet project for the year. Mike Redpath of MuscleRodz used the Camaro to develop several news parts. Steve Dembinski (Hot Rods by Steve, Farmingdale, New Jersey) wrangled the rims and the rubber. Chuck Greason owns the local MAACO and let me use it for the paint session—37 hours, no sleep. Dave Rosengrant took over the spray gun when I began to fold. I spent the next two months doing the wet sanding and polish. Scott Spicer (Spicer Motors, Middletown, Maryland) was my around-the-corner parts store. He took a week and guided me through most of the wiring. Tony Rose (in Oregon) was my Stainless Works dealer. He knew the street scene score. Shannon Odom at Modo Innovations (Krum, Texas) gets props for the custom pedals, trunk, and door locks. And Jeff Schoenfelt, who welded in the new floor and quarter-panels.”
His time on the websites taught the importance of the preview, the battle plan as it were, a rendering that would look more or less like the finished piece. He got with Ben Hermance (Hermance Design) for the throwdown. Mark worked it. “We went through 18 different designs before I was ready to make a decision,” Mark said. “About three days before the paint was to go on, I called Ben to say that I needed something on the sides to break up all the light green. He came up with a reversed hockey stripe.” Then Mark commenced with the Ford Fusion Moss Green application.