SMALL TOWNS: Kimberly father and son share special bond over sports car

This Ford Mustang has a special family connection
Updated: Oct. 27, 2022 at 6:10 PM CDT
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KIMBERLY, Wis. (WBAY) - It’s a special connection between a father, a son and a car. It’s a car that was part of the family, then sold, but then bought back years later.

This week in Small Towns, we travel to Kimberly for the story of a Mustang’s journey home.

“The throttle body, that was pretty fun, the intake, and the biggest challenge was going the exhaust,” says Ethan Meidam looking under the hood of his pride and joy.

You almost wonder if Ethan has a little oil and gas in his blood, thanks to his dad’s lifelong obsession with cars.

“Matchbox cars, anything that had wheels on it, cars, you name it, I had it, got the license at 16 and I went through cars like crazy, buy one, sell one, buy one, sell one, buy one, sell one, drove my parents nuts,” says Bob Meidam, Ethan’s dad.

That trend continued into adulthood, and somewhere around the 50th car Bob bought, a 1998 Mustang.

“And I thought it was so cool, it was black, all blacked out, I thought the front bumper was cool, I just loved the look at it,” recalls Ethan.

Sadly for Ethan, the Mustang didn’t last long.

Dad has his eye on a Trans Am, and three months later it was gone.

“Needless to say, my son Ethan at 7 at the time, he was really upset about it, didn’t want me to sell it, told my wife Lisa and I, someday I’m going to get that car back dad, and we were just like, ok whatever, it’s a 7-year old talking,” recalls Bob.

Bob sold the Mustang to a guy in Lake Geneva who told him he had big plans for the car.

So Bob, of course, kept track of the car’s fate.

“I’m always looking at cars, whether they’re for sale or not, on Craigslist, Marketplace, I’m always looking and it drives my wife nuts,” says Bob with a chuckle.

About a year later, now with a different paint job, the car sold to someone in Waukesha.

A few years after that, it was for sale again.

This time a man in Stevens Point bought the Mustang.

And then, just as Ethan was entering high school, the car was back on the market.

“So then Ethan started reaching out to the individual and he’s like that’s my dad’s old car, you want this much for it, it’s not worth that much, I’ll pay you this for it, nope, nope, nope, spring came, car went, went further north up to Black River Falls,” explains Bob.

Ethan, still dreaming of buying the car back with his own money, tracked down the new owner and again made his plea.

“The kid said absolutely, says I will sell it to you,” says Bob.

“I was actually at work and the first thing I did was I took a screen shot of it and I sent it to my dad, I’m like this is the guy who owns the Mustang, I think we got to get it,” recalls Ethan.

“You have got to be kidding me, he’s going to sell you that car, he’s like dad he’ll sell me the car and I’m like, let’s go get it,” says Bob of his conversation with Ethan.

Last fall, Bob and Ethan made the trip to Black River Falls to get the Mustang, ten years after Bob had sold it.

“He was grinning from ear to ear, he goes dad, this car is coming home,” says Bob of the road trip north.

The years though, had taken a toll and the Mustang needed quite a bit of work.

Ethan, had a plan.

“He was real adamant about doing a father-son project, he wanted to do a father-son project, I’m like, I am down,” says Bob with a smile.

This past year, father and son got busy, doing some engine work, installing that new exhaust system, and making sure the Mustang returned to its original color.

Just last month, it was finally time for Ethan to get behind the wheel.

“Wow, like now I can drive it, I used to be sitting next to my dad in the passenger seat while he gets to drive it, it kind of felt weird because I was now the one driving and he was in the passenger seat,” says Ethan with a big grin.

And now, as the car’s current owner, Ethan will stay in the driver’s seat regarding its future, with one special consideration for his car-happy father.

“I told him if you sell it, I want first crack at it, I will buy it back,” says Bob.

“He will get first crack at it, I will let him buy it back if I ever do sell it,” says Ethan. To be determined?,” I ask. “Yeah, to be determined,” says Ethan with a chuckle.

Now that he has his Mustang, Ethan says he’d like to buy another one in a couple of years, this time a Shelby.

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Jeff Alexander introduces us to a Kimberly dad, his son, and their car