VIRGINIA BEACH, Va. (WAVY) – Joe Gaskill, who grew up in the Bow Creek section of Virginia Beach, spent countless hours with his dad, Joe Sr., restoring a beloved 1966 Ford Mustang Fastback.

1966 Ford Mustang Fastback, circa 1985 (Photo Courtesy: Joe Gaskill)

“It was a five-year restoration to bring it back to its original state,” Gaskill said. “We repainted it, put in a new interior, and pretty much everything to bring it back as new as possible.”

Time marched on, and in 1986, Gaskill decided to sell the car. For years, he regretted letting go of his first auto love.

His father passed away in 2012, and ten years after that, and 36 years after initially selling the car, Gaskill, now 59, initiated a search for his long-lost auto love.

On Dec. 10, he turned to the Lost Muscle Cars Facebook page. There, a former owner can enter all the details of a beloved muscle car that was sold or given away years ago.

The operator of the page then sets off on a mission to find the current owner, and if there’s a connection, he facilitates the matchmaking process for the owner and former owner.

A week after starting his search, Gaskill saw the car that he sold in 1986. It was in the hands of an owner in Portsmouth who agreed to sell it back to him.

Because the Facebook-generated connection was an emotional experience for Gaskill, he decided to bring along his wife, who is also a Mustang enthusiast.

“She could tell by my reaction it was probably a good idea to give me permission to repurchase the car,” Gaskill said.

The coveted Mustang Fastback was delivered to his home Christmas Eve.

After inspecting it, Gaskill told family and friends it appeared time had stood still when looking at the inside and outside of the car. All of the features, including the black paint his father applied to the car, and the coveted Pony interior, were still in place.

But under the hood, there was a different, but favorable, story.

“Apparently they did something to the engine because it is a lot more powerful than it was when I owned it,” Gaskill said. “This car used to be a three-speed; now it’s a four-speed.”

The car is the 289-4V, V-8, 4-speed, with Positraction, disc breaks, and a Pony interior.

When Gaskill bought the car in 1981, it was worth about $4,500. Today, as is, it’s worth about $30,000.

Gaskill has plans to give it new paint job and install air conditioning. His 18-year-old son is also in love with the car.

“It was very surreal to see my son drive the car that I owned when I was his age,” said Gaskill, beaming with pride.

Gaskill said when it comes to something you love, think twice before you let go.

“I was fortunate enough to find this car back,” Gaskill said, “and I hope others will do the same because it’s a wonderful feeling to get something back that you love so much.”