Modified Mustangs & Fords
1968 Ford Mustang Fastback - Serious As A Heart Attack
Health issues and surgery on both car and owner couldn’t stop the completion of this ’68 Mustang
What does it take to get a die-hard Chevy guy get into Mustangs? All it took for Terra Bella, California's Ray Moss was a phone call. Ray, a self-employed electrical contractor received a call many years ago to come check out an electrical issue at Ron Peter's home. As Ray would come to find out, Ron owned a little Mustang shop called Stang-A-Holics, and the two have been friends ever since.
"Ron built his first Mustang, a G.T. 350; his was more custom and I wanted to build a more stock one," Ray recalled. One day, Ray received a call from Ron, who had located a Mustang for him at the Mustang Ranch in Fresno, California. The two of them drove there and checked the car out, and Ray instantly fell in love with the fastback.
"My wife about had a heart attack when I bought it." Ray told us. That wouldn't have been good for a number of reasons, as you'll read about later.
For $7,000, Ray's dark blue fastback was a running and driving car, but it did have an obvious repaint and some body damage. He drove it for about six months, dressed up the engine, and decided to clean the body filler out and paint it. If there's anything to know about old cars, it's that projects can quickly spiral out of control, especially when it comes to bodywork. Ray ended up stripping the car down to the shell, and eventually uncovered the dirty truth—the car was two separate cars at one point.
"After realizing that the car had already been repaired once, my son, Scot, talked me into converting it into a '67 G.T. 350 Shelby, my dream car," Ray noted. Ray also told us that it was a good choice in the end, and we agree.
Ray enlisted the help of neighbor and friend, Sam Mills, to sort out the bodywork and modify the Jim Reeves Shelby fiberglass components from Stang-A-Holics. Sam painstakingly tightened up the gaps and evened them out all over the car. Remarkably, Sam also painted this pristine Pony in his backyard under a makeshift tent. For the paint scheme, Ray once again relied on his son's creative input—Scot is a graphic designer for Disney during the day. Scot and Ray both agreed on the silver metallic that made Scot's Audi look so good, and Scot made the call on the dark gray stripes. "We constantly get compliments on those," Ray noted.
In keeping with the great bodywork, fit and finish, Ray used stainless steel fasteners throughout the build, and went so far as to grind the heads smooth and repolish them, and then orient them the same within a given area.
For the engine, Ray went to Mark Jeffrey at Trans Am Racing. Ray had seen one of the company's engine builds in a magazine and was duly impressed with its 500hp output. With that in mind, Ray had them assemble a stout 347ci mill replete with aluminum cylinder heads and intake.
As you'll see from the details side bar, the suspension and braking systems were also modified to perform at modern levels. And these days, Ray is performing at a higher level, too. This was Ray's first ground-up build, and throughout the six-year journey, there were a number of personal health issues that threatened both Ray's life, as well as the completion of the project.
"Over that time, I had four heart attacks, two knee replacements, repaired tendons on both ankles and my right elbow," Ray noted. "As well, my friend and neighbor, Sam Mills, who painted the car, had a leg removed from the knee down due to a blood clot, and he had two heart attacks as well. We both thought the car was going to be a jinx. My wife often says that ‘she's getting a new man pieces at a time.'" The same could be said for the Mustang.
Though Sam mills passed away about a year ago, these days, both Mustang and owner are in solid shape. The 72-years-young Ray Moss has been attending numerous car shows with his club, the Rollin Relics Car Club—we're not sure if that refers to the owners or the cars—and has brought home a number of trophies as a result.
Those trophies would not be possible without the great support that Ray received from his family and friends.
"I would like to thank all those who were essential to the car's completion, and most importantly, my wife, Marrianna, for all of her love and support throughout this time-consuming project and for all of the long hours she spends on the road with me going to car shows."
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Ray Moss' '68 Mustang Fastback
Cast-iron Ford 302 block, 347 ci built by Trans Am Racing (Gardena, CA)
4340 forged steel H-beam connecting rods with ARP bolts
4340 forged steel crankshaft
Edelbrock Victor Jr aluminum cylinder heads, fully ported, thermal barrier coated
Edelbrock Victor aluminum intake manifold
Barry Grant 850-cfm Mighty Demon carburetor
Trans Am Racing cog drive
10:1 compression ratio
Hooker Super Competition long-tube headers
Custom 3-inch exhaust
3-inch electric cutouts
Exhaust fabricated by Elroy Newberry (Visalia, CA)
C4 automatic built by B&B Transmission (Porterville, CA)
ITC torque converter, 2,500-rpm stall speed
B&M Hammer Shifter
Ford 9-Inch, powdercoated
Front: Heidts Mustang II-style, Heidts rack-and-pinion power steering
Rear: Mustangs Plus leaf springs, KYB shocks, Tony Branda under ride traction bars
Front: Wilwood disc, four-piston calipers, 12-inch cross-drilled and slotted rotors
Rear: Wilwood disc, four-piston calipers, 12-inch cross-drilled and slotted rotors
Front: American Racing VN450 Hopster, 17x7, polished finish
Rear: American Racing VN450 Hopster, 17x8, polished finish
Front: Kumho Ecsta Supra, P215/45ZR17
Rear: Kumho Ecsta Supra, P255/45ZR17
Restored black leather upholstery, Scat ProCar bucket seats, Simpson Racing harnesses, Lecarra Moto-Lita-style steering wheel, four-point rollbar, Cobra floor mats, fire extinguisher, Pioneer stereo components
Dupont Audi Silver and Charcoal Gray paint by Sam Mills; fiberglass front air fascia, spoiler, functional sidescoops ducted to rear brakes, trunk lid, corner extensions and taillight panel; smoothed rear bumper; removed front marker lights
Wife, Marrianna Moss; Son and daughter-in-law, Scot and Deeann Moss; Daughter and son-in-law, Becky and Robert Flores; grandsons Eric Moss and Mikal Sanchez; Tod Terry; Jim Spivey; Sam Mills; Ron Peter; Mark Jeffrey; B&B Transmission; and Carroll and Cleo Shelby for signing the glovebox