You can take the car away from the gearhead, but you can't take away his passion for wrenching. We met Greg Montoya of Camarillo, California, some time ago when he was flogging a late-model Fox-body Mustang. At the time, the only thing he cared about was optimizing his straight-line acceleration. In fact, it was Greg's car that inspired us to launch our own Fox Mustang project car several years ago, although we've never quite matched his car's performance.
Things have changed for Greg over the years. Between breaking engine components, buying a new home, and becoming a father, Greg's days of car crafting had to yield to the job called life. It was only after things recently began to settle down that the gearhead in him screamed to venture out once again, only this time Greg wanted something he could enjoy without the burdens of routine race car maintenance.
Greg wanted a '60s street machine, but it had to be a Ford, and a four-speed was a must. Greg liberated this '69 Mustang coupe from a little old lady in Thousand Oaks, California. Now, unlike most six-cylinder-driving wimps, this granny was one cool lady cruising in her '69 Mustang Coupe with a factory-optioned 351ci small-block Windsor, a four-speed Top Loader, and a 9-inch rearend. When Greg found it, the coupe had been sitting for nearly 10 years due to the original owner's frail condition. There was a touch of rust and the vinyl top was slightly weathered, but the body was perfectly straight.
After handing over $2,000 and pouring fuel into the carb, Greg easily fired up the lumbering 351 and brought it home. Within 200 miles of driving, he found that every seal in the drivetrain had deteriorated and it would have to be rebuilt. Despite Greg's original intention to keep everything factory stock, he rationalized the practicality of making use of some spare parts he had lying around from his former race car. Eight months later, Greg once again found himself behind the driver's seat of a potent muscle machine. Who says there are no second chances in life?
Car Craft Q&ACar Craft: How long have you had the Coupe and what made you choose it?Greg Montoya: Going on a little over a year now. I found it in the classifieds and especially liked it for its irregular qualities. I can't recall the last time I saw a '69 coupe optioned with a 351 and a Top Loader four-speed.
CC: Ever take it to the dragstrip?GM: Of course! It's not nearly as fast as my old drag car, but it's much more fun and my enthusiasm for the hobby has returned.
CC: What do you mean?GM: The drag car was fun, but it took way too much of a commitment, and the upkeep was astronomical. Now I can cruise wherever I want without having to use a trailer, I can still do the occasional blast down the quarter-mile, and I have a toy that I can enjoy with the entire family.
CC: Anticipate any future changes?GM: I'm going to redo the entire suspension and drop the car an inch or so. I may also take the time to reupholster the interior, but otherwise I'm pretty happy with the way the car turned out. OK, I lied, I'm already planning to add a little shot of nitrous to it.
The DetailsOwner: Greg MontoyaCar: '69 Mustang Coupe
Engine: 0.030-over 351 Windsor small-block
Heads: Aluminum Twisted Wedge, 2.02/1.60-inch intake/exhaust valves
Induction: Edelbrock RPM Performer, 750-cfm Holley double-pumper
Camshaft: Comp Cams Magnum 270 hydraulic, 224 degrees duration at 0.050 inch lift, 0.501-inch lift
Power: 400 hp at flywheel (est.)
Transmission: Factory four-speed Top Loader
Rearend: Ford 9-inch, 3.89:1 gears, 31-spline axles, Moser spool
Suspension: Stock, KYB shocks, front; Stock, KYB shocks, rear
Brakes: Stock 10-inch discs, front; stock 10.5-inch drums, rear
Wheels and tires: 15x4 Center Line Telstars with Kumho P165SR15 radials, front; 15x811/42 Center Line Telstars with BFGoodrich P255/60R15 Radial TAs, rear
Paint: Ford '01 Wind Star Blue with a handmade white vinyl top by Mike's AutoBody in Thousand Oaks, California
Best e.t.: 13.05 at 105 mph
Cost to build: $8,000