"Mustangs! The only car I've used for 45 years. Never owned a new car. Always a classic Mustang. How come? 70 options. Could order anything that I needed. Never dropped me in the street. Never dropped anyone else in the street. And they're sexy. Oh, yeah. Long hood, short deck, low to the ground. A real sporty little car."
— Mustangs Only owner Jim Hangley
James Hangley's life partner, Tracy Fietz, says he was a "unique individual" who wanted "no muss, no fuss," which may be why we only just found out that the owner of Mustangs Only in Culver City died May 26. He was 84.
Mustangs Only, at the corner of Washington and Adams, is possibly the only car lot in the world the sells, fixes, and restores solely the iconic Ford Mustang. I interviewed Jim in 2014 for the Mustang's 50th anniversary, and he told me that in 1969, the cars went for about $2,000 new. In 2014, he could get $50,000 for a restored fastback or convertible.
Fietz told me Jim was born February 8, 1932 in Omaha, Missouri, painted police cars for a time in Kansas City, and came to L.A. when he was about 18. He soon enlisted in the Army and served in Korea. He ran Jim's Auto Body on Pico in Santa Monica in his early years here.
"He always worked with Fords, and when the Mustang came out, the lightbulb went on and that was it," Fietz says.
Fietz and Hangley met when she brought her Mustang in for service when she was only 21. Jim did a good job on the car, she says, and kept after her for a couple years until she agreed to go on a date. That was 40 years ago. The couple never married and had no kids. In addition to the Mustangs, they also shared a passion for Morgan horses.
Hangley was diagnosed with pancreatic cancer in September 2015, Fietz says, and opted to not treat it. He had a "relatively good quality of life up until his last few weeks." There was no funeral, no memorial, and no obit, until this one. She'll spread his ashes in the ocean in the middle of July.
Mustangs Only is now up for sale. Fietz says she plans to sell the business and property separately, unless "someone makes me an offer I can't refuse."
Listen to the first piece of audio for much more with Tracy, and check out my original 2014 interview with Hangley to get a sense of what this remarkable man was like.