Is it real? “I just tell them it’s my version of a retro-tribute to a car that was built as sort of a Pro Street or street machine back in the day. Or something like that.” That was the explanation offered by Luis Garcia when we pressed him about the look of this ’66 Mustang. He got it right, no doubt—we just wanted to know why. “I wanted to build a street/strip car, then take it a few steps further.”
Those few steps included the addition of his favorite Mustang features, like the genuine Shelby steering wheel, dash-mounted tach, and Hertz rent-a-racer graphics. We like all of that, but it was the noise from the engine that turned our heads—that faint clickety-clack from deep inside that goes with the rowdy idle only a solid roller can deliver. It took the car from potential fluff to “hey, what’s that?”
“This car should run 11.80s,” Luis says. “Right now, we’re just driving it and enjoying it, but we are going to take to the eighth-mile track and run it.”
The “we” is Luis and his brother, Andy, who is the actual owner of the car. “If I was interviewing my brother about this car,” Luis says, “he would say I own it, bankrolled it, and drive it, but my brother did the work.” The car was purchased in 1993 from a South Central Los Angeles Recycler. It was in primer with a 289 and a four-speed, something considered rare even then. It sat in that primer for 17 years before Luis decided to build the car. It did a few years on the bad-paint shop circuit before finally landing at All State in North Hollywood, where the car was painted right. When we met Luis at Car Craft’s cruise night at the Automobile Driving Museum, he hadn’t yet completed the interior, and the paint was likely still soft. Look for this car at Irwindale Raceway on Thursday nights in Southern California.
Who: Andy and Luis Garcia
What: ’66 Mustang Fastback
Where: South Gate, CA
Engine: The 302 was stroked to 347 inches using a Scat rotator and was assembled by L&R in Santa Fe Springs, CA. It has a nice set of ported 185 AFR heads and a killer Isky solid-lifter camshaft with 0.540 lift and 254 duration at 0.050 that works well with the 11.0:1 compression ratio. Luis guesstimated about 450 hp from the combination. That’s a 780-cfm carburetor modified by Pro Systems on top of the Edelbrock Victor Jr. intake. The headers are 15⁄8 Hooker Super Comps. The muffs are from Dynomax.
Fuel: You get a peek at the drop-in Fuel Safe from the back of the car. There is an Aeromotive A1000 fuel pump inside.
Transmission: The Mustang still has the original Top Loader. Luis added a Centerforce clutch and a Lakewood bellhousing in preparation for the racetrack.
Rearend: The 9-inch has 4.11:1 gears with a Detroit Locker and Currie axles.
Ignition: The car has an MSD 6AL2 digital ignition box plugged into a Pro Billet distributor. The box is adjustable for timing curves and rev limits, Luis just hasn’t adjusted anything yet.
Jungle Gym: Casey at Overkill Fabrication in La Verne, CA, built the six-point ’cage and finished the fab work to get the car on the road.
Cool: Luis used an internally regulated alternator from a ’95 Mustang and added March pulleys to make it work.
Suspension: It sits right because of the Total Control Products coilovers in the front, and hooks right because of the Calvert Racing monoleaf springs and CalTracs bars in the back. The shocks are Rancho 9000s. We won’t know the settings till the guys get to the track.
Paint: Those aren’t decals. The guys at All State Auto Body in North Hollywood, CA, blocked the car and laid down the Raven Black and the gold Hertz striping. The hood is from Dynacorn, and the trick front apron is from Mustangs Plus. The quarter-windows are Plexiglas. Trick!
Inside: It’s mostly stock in there with the addition of the down bars and Shelby parts. Luis went to a SoCal Shelby forum to pick up the NOS tach and steering wheel. He didn’t disclose the price. The radio-delete panel is from an early ’65 Mustang.
Wheels/Tires: The Weld Magnum Pro wheels can be ordered in anodized gold. These are 15x31⁄2 in the front and 15x7 in the rear. The skinny 26x15 rubber is from Mickey Thompson, as are the P255/60R15 ET Street Radials.
Brakes: Wilwood makes the bolt-on 11-inch-disc-brake kit for Mustangs. The rear retains the stock drums.
Thanks: This car is a member of the Garcia family. Thanks to Jose, Danny, Rod, Victor, Andy, Coral, Ovido, Alissa, Ivette, Sonia, Mom, and Dad.