In 1970, Ron Mintle took a road trip in his new 1970 Lotus Élan behind the ‘Iron Curtain’ through the Eastern Bloc countries. At 2 a.m. in Czechoslovakia, Mintle was woken by the pounding fists of Soviet Army soldiers on his hotel room door. He was unlucky to have entered the Czechoslovak Socialist Republic two days before the student uprisings on the second anniversary of the 1968 Warsaw Pact Invasion. They placed him with other Westerners in protective custody to prevent adverse publicity of Westerners being harmed during the action.
Mintle’s biggest fear was not about his life, he said, but rather for the Lotus. Luckily, it was still where he left it, with a heavy coat of dust.
In 1971, Mintle went into a Hollywood Chrysler Plymouth dealership. He immediately fell in love with a blue Barracuda convertible that was on display on the spotlighted turntable. He had just purchased the Lotus, and was about to buy his first home and couldn’t justify buying another car. On the third trip to the dealer it had already been sold.
In 1976, while driving, he saw another identical blue ’71 ‘Cuda convertible for sale. He immediately called the listed number, asking, “Did you buy this car in June of 1971 in Hollywood?”
“Yes, how did you know?” the owner asked. Mintle knew he had found that very same car of his dreams again. It was his for $2,200.
He learned it was valuable when a Plymouth sales manager offered him $10,000 for it. It was one of only 87; year 1971, 383 ‘Cuda convertibles made, and the only one factory painted the rare Glacial Metallic Blue. It’s a totally unique, exciting, and powerful 70s muscle car!
Mintle fully restored the convertible at 120,000 miles and again at 250,000 miles. With the recent restoration to its original factory configuration, it looks as good as it did on the showroom floor.
Mintle was driving the ‘Cuda when he met a friend and his girlfriend for drinks. The girlfriend brought a young lady named Beverley along. Ron and Beverley started seeing each other and have now been married for 21 years.
In the early 1990s, Ron and Bev took a drive through the northern reaches of San Diego County. They saw Gopher Canyon and Old Castle Road and were intrigued, so they explored.
They purchased an orange grove in Valley Center. Bankers told them that building the house they wanted was too expensive of an investment for the area. Asking the banker where they could build, he replied, “Bonsall or Fallbrook.”
The Mintles’ purchased a house in Rolling Hills Estates in 1997. The covenants, conditions and restrictions (CC&R’s) required every car to have space in a garage. The garage had room for seven. The security guard asked them what they were going to do with the seven-car garage. Ron replied, “Don’t worry; I sold two of the cars.”
The couple moved into their current Fallbrook home in 2002, and built “The Barn,” a two-story high-bay garage, which can hold up to 12 cars.
The Fallbrook Vintage Car Club is fortunate to hold their annual June barbeque at the Mintles’ home.
The Fallbrook Vintage Car Club (FVCC) is always open to guests and new members. To receive more information about the car club, send an email to: [email protected].
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