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A long-awaited homecoming for influencer Relph Bangsil’s 1969 Ford Mustang

A long-awaited homecoming for influencer Relph Bangsil’s 1969 Ford Mustang


When Ford Philippines invited members of the media to try out the all-new Ford Mustang and Bronco in Pampanga, an eye-catching classic slipped into our convoy of Ford Everests.

“Hey, that Mustang wants to convoy with us,” said our lead car driver over the radio. “He’s one of us,” I replied. That’s because the light green 1969 Mustang coupe that joined us on the North Luzon Expressway had a very familiar face behind the wheel – influencer Reph Bangsil, who has long been a fan of classic Fords. He finally took his pony car out on the open road after a considerable restoration.

Inquirer Mobility had an exclusive interview with this rising online star on why this Mustang will never leave his collection.

Manifesting it

Reph has made a name for himself for offering simple and informative content on all things automotive, complete with a twinkle in his eyes and a thousand-megawatt smile.

Starting out as a host for a mainstream motoring publication, he ventured out on his own and built a sizeable following on Facebook, Instagram, TikTok and YouTube. Among the things he talks about are his project cars, which include this 55-year-old Mustang packing a 200 cubic-inch straight-six and a 3-speed manual gearbox.

Reph said he got his classic pony car from an executive of a brand that he works with, who saw his post on a Mustang online group.

“The truth is, I couldn’t afford one at the time, but I just wanted to manifest and see if meron ba akong makikita na [I could find one with] potential,” he said.

“True enough, he messaged me, he offered me his Mustang, said it was fully restored, gave an amount and I knew in my mind that I couldn’t afford it,” Reph added. “But at least I knew that this guy was someone I could eventually go to.”

After selling a few of his other project cars, Reph finally got the Mustang he longed for.

Getting it going again

Reph said just getting the car to Clark was a journey in itself.

“The car, when I bought it, was fully restored,” he said. “Ang problema [The problem] is that it’s a restoration that’s OK when you start it every now and then.”

That’s why Reph had pretty much every mechanical and electrical item worked on, including overhauling the engine and installing a modern Ford alternator, a three-row aluminum radiator (that is still run by the original clutch fan) and a new air-conditioning system.

Reph also noted that the driving experience is an “acquired taste.”

“It was a fast car in the ‘60s, but a Toyota Vios could easily overtake me now,” he said. “And if you go on the highway at around 80 km/h, that’s pushing the car to the limit. It’s a fun car to look at, but to drive, it is kind of a hassle. It steers like a boat.”

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And as one of the media people who tried out the all-new Ford Mustang at Clark International Speedway, Reph said the difference was like night and day.

“The amount of grip that car has is amazing, but in some ways, it’s still very similar to the first one,” he said. “It still has that muscly rumble. It’s naturally-aspirated. It still gives homage to what it was before.”

Dream come true

There was a special reason that Reph worked hard to drive his Mustang to Clark – it had been imported through Subic by a U.S. serviceman in the 1960s before it arrived in Clark.

The United States operated a large naval base in Subic and an air base in Clark from the end of Second World War in 1945 until the Philippine Senate rejected the presence of foreign forces on local soil in 1991.

“I’m a very nostalgic and sentimental man,” he said. “Having the car here makes me feel like I went back in time. It’s the closest way that you could do that, especially with these cars.”

Reph added that the drive, although stressful and tiring at times, was a dream come true.

“I have all the photos to prove that the cars here were like this, so I’m very, very happy,” he said.