The story resumes in 2002 when the savior of the car, Tad, comes in. He was living in Stockton California at the time and responded to an ad in the paper offering two Eliminators for sale. As Tad wrote on his now-defunct website, “A friend of mine (Jimmy) sees an ad in the local paper for 2 Eliminators, I was very skeptical that they were real Eliminators, however we ask a few key questions about the cougars and they sparked a fire, “They had to be looked at for sure!” That evening I drove down to see the cougars and sure enough there was a Yellow 428 “R” Code Eliminator and to top it off with black interior and sitting in front of it was a Blue 351 “M” Code Eliminator with blue interior. I immediately ran for the door tag and looked for the drive train codes. Everything matched up and it even had a code “V” 3.91 Trac-Lok. Meaning it was a Drag Pack car to top it off.” How Tad found the car is the first picture, it was a very sad sight indeed. Thankfully though he decided the car was worth saving and purchased it. He contacted Kevin Marti from Marti Auto out in Arizona for a “Marti Report” on the car, and that is where the story picks up.
Late in June of 2006 after beginning a clone project I had bought two years prior and years of speculating about what happened to the car such as the car had gone to car heaven and is long gone or it sitting in some museum somewhere, I decide that I was going to buy a report of the eliminator. My dad’s birthday coming up at the end of July so I figured it would be a nice birthday present. I didn’t have the VIN though which wasn’t good at all. I was told by the guys at Marti that it could take quite sometime to locate the car in the database even though I supplied them all of the information about the car except the VIN. Three days later while I’m driving in the car with my dad they call, tell me they’ve found the car in the database and HAD GIVEN THE CURRENT OWNER OF THE CAR MY PHONE NUMBER! At this point I almost lose control of the car as I tell my dad was the phone call was all about. The look on his face was sheer astonishment. About half an hour later, Tad calls. He and my dad chatted for a little while and we made arrangements to visit him and the car in Georgia where they resided.
Seeing the car was awesome for the first time after years of hearing the stories and actually sitting in it was even better. Tad tells us his standard report tells him it was a 1 of 4 car and that is much more rare than either my dad or I had expected. He shows us pictures of the car as he found it and the work he had done on it up to this point. It was really a pleasure meeting him and we thanked him very much for saving the car from oblivion. The day we arrive home there’s a present from Marti Auto sitting on the porch, it’s the report. It couldn’t have been better timing. I open up the elite report and it says 1 of 1. I yelled for my dad to come and look since he was in the other room, and he just stared blankly at it. He couldn’t believe his eyes.
Later in October we drive non-stop out to Salt Lake City to buy an identical M-code Eliminator that appears some of the other pictures in hopes of making a trade for Unicorn. A year goes by and there wasn’t really any contact between Tad and us until October of ’07. I was in Georgia when I get what I think is some spam. I didn’t delete it though for some reason, and two days later I get the same email again in my inbox. I open it up and it’s from Tad stating he’s ready to sell the car to me. Needless to say I immediately call my dad, tell him to sit down because I have some news that will blow his socks off. At that point I break the news and he practically falls out of the chair. Two weeks later, the car is in the driveway, back home after a 38 year hiatus.
This restoration will be a long, painstaking process. The entire car will be taken apart and documented, and put back together in the same fashion. The gallery below is ordered from when Tad first found the car, all the way to the most recent images of Unicorn. Enjoy!
Here is how Unicorn was found, in 2002:
Tad’s work in California, prior to moving to Georgia:
Pick up day, October 20th, 2007. Here are pictures of the M-Code Eliminator with Unicorn:
Now that Unicorn is home, it’s time for disassembly once again, and to prepare for the rotisserie!
Not much work was done between 2007 and 2012, but now we’re back at it!
Here are the unique factory details that will be replicated during the restoration:
FINALLY at the restoration shop, The Antique Auto Shop, where the car will be returned to its former glory. Find out more about the quality of craftsmanship and body of work at theantiqueautoshop.com