It really doesn't matter where your brand loyalty lies. If you dig musclecars, you'd have a Shelby Mustang. Even if your dream garage is full of Hemi cars or Camaros and Chevelles, you'd reserve a spot for a striped fastback, so long as it had ol' Shel's treatment. And even if you refuse to admit that you secretly lust for one, you absolutely can't deny that you'd look cool and be envied driving virtually any street on the planet in a Shelby-tagged Mustang.
Here's the rub: You can't afford one. And even if you could, you'd probably get ulcers wheeling it on public roads, because even Carroll's "continuation cars" don't hold the prestige and mystique of an original. This is where regular guys throw in the towel and start looking for a fastback with Torq-Thrusts, but hard-core motorheads aren't so easily discouraged. The solution: If you can't buy it, build it.
Yeah, some years back when the first musclecar clones surfaced they were scorned without mercy, but that was when deceit was part of the program. Today most of us recognize that the only way to have the coolest of musclecars-regardless of flavor-for regular road enjoyment is to create one from more pedestrian stock. It's the route Don Myers took after scoring a fairly clean '67 fastback roller. He could have cleaned it up and had a nice car, but he wanted the ultimate: The '67 GT500.
Thanks to abundant parts reproductions, locating the hardware was easy; the trick was actually getting it done. This wasn't Don's first car project. He'd been wrenching since high school in the late '60s starting with a '55 Chevy. "I assembled the engine in my bedroom as I acquired parts. Later I had a '56 Chevy with a 327/four-speed combo and then sold it in 1971 to buy a '67 Z/28."
Despite the early Bow Tie influence, Don admits to a long-standing admiration of Mustang fastbacks, and naturally, there's that Shelby appeal. The catalyst was a neighbor's '65 coupe project that was intended for a teenage daughter. Don got involved and enjoyed it enough to sell off the off-road Jeep he'd just finished-the last of several four-by projects that had taken his wrench time for years.
The Mustang wasn't in Don's hands for much more than a week before the teardown began. The initial idea was to simply make the car mechanically sound and cosmetically sharp, but that was short lived. Soon it was stripped to a sheetmetal shell and suspended from a rotisserie in Don's garage, where nearly all of the work was done. That was back in the late '90s...and the car has only been done for about a year. "You know, you start a project and life just happens, so it gets sidelined here and there," says Don, relating that during those years he crossed the half-century mark and became a granddad.
But there's no regret there. Despite all the prompting from friends to "just get it done," Don maintained his commitment to doing it right the first time around; clearly the mark of one who's turned wrenches before. The payoff has been big. The car isn't simply stunning, but it runs and drives like a champ. And proving once and for all that the whole cloning thing is a non-issue these days, the '67 managed to take Third in a recent California concours event, despite its lack of pedigree and Don's insistence that it's "just a hot rod I built for fun."