Mark Haas involvement with cars started at an early age when he was first handed an issue of Car Life magazine by a neighbor. It was this interaction by folks busy with their own lives, but generous enough to help a 10-year-old willing to learn, that would develop into a 50 year lifestyle. Young Mark would spend many hours under the watchful eye of mentor Bill O’Neil culminating in the eventual purchase of his first car, a 1966 Mustang 2+2.
“My father wasn’t a ‘car guy,’ but he knew of my passion and tapped my neighbor to look at a car for me,” Mark explained. “Though 15, my $400 bankroll fit very nicely with the local ad for the Mustang. Even though my father would say, ‘Maybe you should look at other cars,’ I (with Bill’s blessing) bought the car. I learned a lot from that car, including why Pennsylvania has inspections to what a 351W swap will do to an old C4 with 100,00 miles on it!”
Growing confidence in his automotive abilities would ultimately lead Mark to a 1967 Saab Sonett II, a car he admits is still painful to talk about having sold. He moved on to a Triumph GT6 Mark 1 that would play a prominent role in his wedding, as well as an 69 R-code Sportsroof retrieved from a junkyard in 2001, and a jaw-dropping collection of Mustang bearing the Special Vehicle Operations badge.
“I have been a part of the SVO community for over 25 years,” said Mark, whose collection included old SCCA race cars, Comp Preps, rare colors, and cars under 5,000 miles.
Having two daughters in college, Mark pared down his collection a bit by selling a few cars in the past two years.
“All found great homes and not one was advertised” Mark, who has chosen to hold on to a select few for now, said. “But I’m always looking!”
Fairlane Finds A Home
Having campaigned several cars on the circuit, the Wheel City Fairlanes were no stranger to Super Stock racing during the mid to late ’60s.
“I grew up in Pennsylvania so I knew the cars that ran at Maple Grove or Atco in New Jersey,” Mark explained. “In Michigan though, if you were into racing you shopped at Wheel City in Dearborn who sponsored a couple cars for Super Stock racing in 1967. My car was raced by Tony Ranerio and John Cseh in SS/E.”
“The car came to me from my association with the retired Ford racers group in Michigan and being friends with Tony Ranerio. It required a bit of work including reinstalling the transmission and massive 427,” he added. “I then studied every photo I could find before painting the car to replicate its 1967 livery, right down to the placement of each sticker.”
With Mark’s record of picking the right cars, it would seem he has plenty to be excited about now.
“Many car guys get buried in the cost of the a car or restoration,” Mark, a certified motorhead who has owned his share of collectible cars, said. “More often, they just start with the wrong car. If I don’t see a reason to be excited about a car I generally don’t get involved.”
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