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Mustang Girl Monday: Sisters Carly Kelley and Leah Philbert and Their Family of Mustangs


The Kelly girls pretty much grew up being dragged to car shows around Western Montana, spending a lot of time in the back seat of their parents Owen and Linda Kelley’s ’66 Mustang fastback, ’66 7-Litre Galaxie, and ’67 G.T. 500. Older daughter Carly got her first Mustang at the age of 12 years old. Her father convinced her mother that they should get their girls early Mustangs so when they became adults they would be able to join them on car show trips. Carly’s dad bought a ’65 Mustang coupe that his father had found in southern California and sold to his nephew. It was a nicely equipped car with a Pony Interior, air conditioning, console, vinyl top, wire wheel covers, power steering and a C-code 289, and had been repainted from its original Honey Gold to what appeared to be Lime Gold Metallic, and was badly faded. Carly picked out a Chrysler Candy Apple Red paint, and over the course of the next few years her father painted it in their home garage and changed the interior color from Honey Gold and Parchment to all White. She started driving it as soon as she got her license at 15 years old, driving it a lot through high school and surprisingly never doing any damage to it! When the lucky girl turned 16, she fell in love with her dad’s low-mileage ’88 GT with a five-speed, and convinced him to sell it to her, so she could save the ’65 coupe for going to car shows, and also so she wouldn’t have to share it with her younger sister Leah, who was soon going to get her license!

Leah is 2 1/2 years younger than Carly, and when she was about 13 years-old, father Owen started looking for another ’65 or ’66 coupe that was similarly equipped to her sister’s car, and came across, in his words, “a pretty nice little ’65 fastback. It didn’t have as much equipment as Carly’s coupe, but it was a C-code 289, power steering, automatic transmission car and it was in good enough shape that it wouldn’t need to be painted before Leah could start driving it.” He did have the front seats recovered, but other than that all it really needed was some basic maintenance. It’s Phoenician Yellow with a black standard interior. She drove it that way for about 10 years but it’s now in need of a new paintjob, so it will soon be Cayman Green with black metallic Lemans stripes.

Leah also had an appreciation for the Fox-body cars and had fallen in love with a Calypso Green LX Hatchback with the GT ground effects and an aftermarket hood that was running around town. The car changed hands several times over the course of a couple years, always between people the family knew, which drove Leah nuts because they just weren’t in the position to buy another car every time it was being sold. Owen told us, “A year or so after the last time it changed hands, I saw it sitting at a shop with a for sale sign in it again. My wife and I bought it and put it in our garage when Leah was at school. We waited for her to wander into the garage for some reason and see it, and when she did she was pretty excited! We told Leah we’d make her the same deal as Carly if she really wanted the car.” Leah got married a couple years ago and she and her husband Nate had her ’65 at the wedding to drive off in.

As for Owen’s Ford proclivities? He bought his first Mustang when he was just 14, before he even had a license, a ’66 convertible, Emberglow with a Parchment interior (which he sadly totaled when he was a senior in high school). At 17, he bought a ’65 fastback, and then another early fastback, a ’66, when he was 19. He still has the ’66. Owen goes on to say, “My wife Linda and I got married when we were 21, and about 1 1/2 years later we bought the ’67 G.T.500 that we still have. Then we started our family and we didn’t buy any other cars for a while. In fact we sold our ’65 fastback which had been completely customized with Shelby parts and fender flares a couple years before Carly was born. In 1989 when Carly would have been about three years old and Leah was only about six months old, we bought our ’66 7-Litre Galaxie, which we still have. There have been quite a few cars that have come and gone in that time—a ’69 Mach I, a ’65 GT K-code fastback, a ’67 Cougar, a bunch of the Fox-body GTs, a ’98 Cobra, and finally a 2007 G.T. 500 so we’d have a ’67 and an ’07 GT500.”




Each week Team Mustang Girls features a different woman and her Mustang (and in this case, their entire family’s collection of Mustangs!). Check out the past featured ladies from Mustang Girl Monday and submit your own Mustang story at TeamMustangGirls.com.


Check out our previous Mustang Girl Mondays!

Tina MacGregor: 1965 Mustang coupe
Kady Holloway: 2015 Mustang
Natasha “Mustang” Marie: GT500 Shelby
Becky Watson: 1965 Mustang
Brianna Waters: 1968 Mustang
Paige Seaman: 1969 Mustang
Karli Space: 2003 Mach 1
Carly Jo Ellingson: 1970 Ford Mustang
Nikki Frost: 2013 Mustang GT
Nancy Perez: 1965 Mustang

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