January 16, 2003

You've got to hand it to Larry Jacobs of Bountiful, Utah. He knows how to get attention at a car show. At a glance, this is a Silver Frost '66 Mustang GT fastback, not exactly a color that stands out like a bright red, orange, or yellow. What gets our attention is the more subtle stuff: the louvered Utah! license plates that proclaim "SOUPED," GT exhaust trumpets that are flush with the valance, those Vintage 45 five-spoke wheels, and the powerful 351W small-block V-8 underhood. These features, and others, conspire to make Larry's fastback the "souped" ride it is.

Larry's story dates back to 1997 when he asked a close friend if he knew where to find a '66 Mustang fastback for a restomod project. His buddy had one stuffed away in a storage shed. Larry admits the car was decidedly rough, which intimidated him, but it was void of rust. In Utah, where it snows a lot in the winter, finding a rust-free project car was something Larry didn't expect. He thought about it for a day or two, and hauled the car home.

Car projects begin with a lot of enthusiasm. It's the staying power over the life of a project that counts. Larry began his project with disassembly of the body and a trip to the media-blaster. Whenever we have a car body media-blasted, there is always the risk of distorted body panels from the micro-hammering of media against sheet steel. Larry's Mustang was no exception. His hood and other body panels were warped, which made bodywork more complex and time-consuming. He had to seek another hood and trunk lid to replace those damaged by the media-blaster.

Larry is yet another enthusiast who worked the body and handled the painting himself. None of it comes easily. Bodywork is undoubtedly the toughest aspect of automotive restoration. The formula for outstanding bodywork is rooted in time, labor, and materials. Larry worked each panel, blocking and sanding until surfaces were smooth. When he laid down the Silver Frost urethane finish, it became clear he had done the best job possible.

Underneath, Larry weaved his magic. In front, there are Total Control springs from Mustangs Plus. Five-leaf springs keep the fanny stable. Koni adjustable shocks make short work of handling. Vintage 45 wheels, wrapped in Pirelli P7000 radials, serve as guidance counselors for a wild and crazy Mustang negotiating the twisties.

Larry's performance plan included a powerful 351W small-block that produces a mind-bending 385 hp at 5,750 rpm. Peak torque comes in at 4,500 rpm. Where Larry's 351W really shines isn't necessarily power, but engineering. A single-wire Delco alternator eliminates the Autolite dynamo with an external regulator. A Sanden air-conditioning compressor mounted on the starboard side improves distributor access. Down low is an external power-steering pump located where we typically find an alternator. Each of these engineering changes was executed for improved access and service. A Tremec five-speed shuttles the go power to a Currie 9-inch with 3.70:1 gears and 31-spline axleshafts. Vintage Ford four-piston front disc brakes do a nice job. In back, Ford Explorer rear disc brakes bring the ride to a stop.

Inside, Larry kept his efforts conservative with a stock Pony interior, additional sound deadening, Moto Meter gauges, and a LeCarra steering wheel. Three-point safety belts are something most of us should be using. A fire extinguisher on board is life insurance should the unthinkable happen.

Larry's Silver Frost fastback project should serve as a lesson for those of us intimidated by overwhelming car projects. He tackled this project not by eating the entire elephant in one sitting, but with the tenacity of an IRS auditor--one step at a time, until the job was complete. Behold a splendid rollout.