We love stories like the one Luis tells about his car. It is a story of dedication and commitment to seeing a project through and enjoying the results afterward. Luis and his brothers grew up with Mustangs in the garage—their father owned a 1969 Sportsroof. As incentive to finish school, their mother promised each of them a gift of $2,000 to be given upon graduation. This carrot, rather than stick, approach worked, and each of the three brothers finished school and was given the funds to buy a car. It is no surprise that each one purchased a Mustang. Victor, the oldest, bought a 1968 coupe, Andy bought the 1966 fastback we ran in our Oct. 2012 issue, and Luis bought this 1968 California Special.
Luis describes the car as "beat-up," which partially explains why it took him six years to build the car. One other reason is that his daughter, Alissa, was born not long after purchasing it. Because the car was just a shell, Luis had a long battle fixing body panels and locating parts to put the car back together. In spite of these challenges, Luis persevered, building the entire car in a carport. "I did everything but the paint, rollbar, and upholstery with help from my friends and brothers," Luis says. Though it took a while to finish it, Luis cites the inspiration he got from his father that kept him working. "I guess we wanted to make our father proud. He passed away in 1986. He taught us never to give up."
Who: Luis Garcia
What: 1968 Ford Mustang California Special
Where: Lakewood, CA
Engine: Luis built a strong 393ci engine using a 1974 351 Windsor block. The crank and rods are from Scat, and the pistons are from Probe. Total Seal rings and Clevite bearings round out the bottom end. He installed a great-sounding Isky solid roller cam, the specs of which he chose not to divulge. He chose AFR's awesome 205cc Renegade Race cylinder heads, which he had ported and built with Isky valvesprings and titanium retainers. The compression ratio is 11.0:1.
Induction: With the potential to flow lots of air through his small-block, Luis opted for Edelbrock's Victor, Jr. intake and a big, 980-cfm Pro Systems carburetor. An Aeromotive A1000 fuel pump keeps up with the thirsty engine.
Ignition: Keeping things simple but effective, Luis installed an MSD Pro Billet distributor and wires. The coil is from Crane, and he's using NGK spark plugs.
Exhaust: Hooker's Super Comp headers scavenge the exhaust, routing down to a pair of Dynomax Race Bullet mufflers. Trust us, this car sounds incredible!
Transmission: Luis says he's four-speed only, and an automatic has no place in his car, which we think is pretty cool. He found a Top Loader trans, outfitted it with a Hurst shifter and put it together with Centerforce's Dual Friction clutch and flywheel. Since these pictures were taken, Luis changed to a fast-shifting Long V-Gate shifter.
Rearend: Out back is a Currie 9-inch built with 31-spline Currie axles and steep 4.57:1 gears on an Eaton Detroit Locker differential.
Chassis/Suspension: Overkill Fabrication of West Covina, CA, built the eight-point rollcage out of mild steel. The front suspension is stock, but Luis installed six-cylinder springs. Out back, he bolted in a set of Calvert Racing Split monoleaf springs and CalTracs bars with Del-A-Lum bushings from Global West. The front and rear shocks are from Calvert Racing. The front brakes are stock, and the rear drums are from an Econoline van.
Paint/Body: The body is all stock, except for the fiberglass hood. To clean the lines up a bit, Luis deleted the cowl vent and antenna. All State Auto Body in North Hollywood, CA, painted the car.
At the Track: On the eighth-mile track at Irwindale, Luis has recently made a best-ever 7.08 pass at 98 mph. He says he's not stopping until he drops into the 6s.
Owner Note: "My son, Adrian, was recently born, and I will hand this car down to him. That way, he will always have a connection to me. I never had that with my dad."