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."
What: '67 Ford Mustang fastback
Owner: Don Myers, seller of fine forklifts.
Hometown: Elk Grove, California, which we've never heard of.
Engine: An '83 351W block was freshened by Mike Parrish Automotive in Sacramento using pistons intended for a '95 Lightning engine with stock rods and crank. Edelbrock Performer aluminum heads with 1.90/1.60-inch valves top off the short-block to make 9.5:1.
Camshaft: Elgin "Pro Stock" series hydraulic flat-tappet with 224/234 degrees duration at 0.050 and 0.496/0.520-inch lift. Ford Racing 1.6:1 roller rockers transfer the grind to the valves.
Induction: An Edelbrock Performer RPM Air Gap mounts an Edelbrock 750-cfm carb, though Ron says EFI is coming next year.
Exhaust: Ron used a pair of JBA 151/48-inch shorty headers designed specifically for early Mustangs that offer excellent ground clearance. A custom X-pipe was fabbed using Dr. Gas components and Flowmaster Super 40 mufflers in 2 1/2-inch tube diameters.
Ignition: Spark is provided almost entirely by MSD, with a billet distributor, 6AL box, and Blaster coil. Plug wires, however, are 9mm cables from Ford Racing.
Power: 410 hp at 5,000 rpm and 420 lb-ft at 4,000 at the flywheel.
Transmission: Don managed to locate an N.O.S. '93 Mustang Cobra R gearbox, a Tremec 3550 five-speed with super alloy gearset and larger bearings. A McLeod scatter shield mounts it and contains the Luk 10.5-inch clutch setup, actuated with a hydraulic-release bearing.
Rearend: A Ford 9-inch housing from a Lincoln Versailles contains a Ford Traction-Lock limited-slip and 3.73:1 gears with 28-spline axles.
Suspension: Ron wanted to improve the handling, which was a Shelby hallmark back in the day, so Total Performance tubular control arms, strut rods, and 1-inch sway bar are combined with Lincoln Versailles spindles, Magna nitrogen shocks, and a Flaming River 16.0:1 steering box up front while Magna five-leaf "mid-eye" springs fitted with Global West Del-a-lum bushings and more Magna shocks steady the rear, along with Competition Engineering Slide-a-link bars for drag traction.
Brakes: A Lincoln Versailles donated its front and rear disc brakes to the cause, though Don says he may take braking up a notch in the near future.
Wheels and tires: To maintain the vibe while taking advantage of modern rubber, Vintage Wheel Works' 16x8 Vintage 45 wheels mount BFG KDW G-Force T/As in 225/55ZR16 up front and 245/50ZR16 in the rear.
Body: To create the proper look, Don went straight to Tony D. Branda Shelby Parts for a '67-style body kit and a 427 Shelby-style fiberglass hood. Mike Hollis at J&K Mustang in Sacramento installed the parts while straightening the flanks, while Kern Williams, also of J&K, laid down the '67 Ford Candy Apple Red paint and Wimbledon White stripes, using PPG products.
Interior: A set of Procar front seats add more support than the original flat buckets; Simpson four-point belts keep everyone snug. The Lecarra wheel is reminiscent of the ones Shelby used and the Auto Meter Phantom gauges in the stock dash bezel are a subtle but slick upgrade. In the back is a drop-in Fuel Safe fuel cell to replace the questionable stock tank.