Jim Smart
October 11, 2013

At 19, Southern California's Veronica Selleck bought a '66 Mustang hardtop from the original owner. When you've owned a classic Mustang for over 30 years, it becomes a member of the family—and a keeper. Veronica's husband, Doug, knew he could restore Veronica's Mustang to factory original condition or he could build it into a down-low rocket ship for driving and show.

He chose the latter.

Veronica's '66 was originally Sauterne Gold and equipped like thousands of other Mustangs with a C-code 289, Cruise-O-Matic transmission, and black standard interior. Doug thought, Why build something like everyone else? Instead, he chose to build a one-of-a-kind.

When Doug went to work on the car, he took it all the way down to the shell and had it soda blasted. The body was in remarkable condition with no rust or accident damage. Despite that good fortune, the project took a turn for the worse when Doug experienced rough moments with the first body shop. He battled with them until he finally had to find someone else who could finish the bodywork and apply the PPG Velocity Red Metallic paint, a Mazda RX-8 color.

Underneath, Doug installed custom 1x3-inch subframe connectors and removed the shock towers to make room for a Heidt's front end package with tubular control arms, heavy-duty antisway bar, Flaming River rack-and-pinion steering, and Wilwood disc brakes. He also opted for custom under-ride traction bars and a narrowed Ford 9-inch rear end with 3.50:1 Traction-Lok gears and Wilwood discs. Master Power provides the power-assisted dual braking system hydraulics. On the ground are timeless American Racing Torq-Thrust II 17-inch five-spoke wheels wrapped in Kumho radials.

Once you start eyeballing this ride, you can't stop because it is eye candy from bumper to bumper. The interior incorporates a Flaming River tilt column with a Grant custom leather-wrapped steering wheel. The door panels are custom leather-clad pieces by Ron Mangus, designed to resemble molded Interior Décor Group panels. Yes, it's a true 2+2 hardtop with bucket seats front and rear. Mid-ship is a custom console with tachometer and power window switches. Front and center is a RetroSound system with a hidden power antenna and amp. An electric trunk release pops the deck. Doug tells us the only conventional lighting is the headlights. The rest are LED for cool special effects when the sun goes down. A Vintage Air climate control system allows year-round comfort.

Instead of building an engine from scratch, Doug looked to Ford Racing for a BOSS 427 short-block ready for home garage assembly. Doug topped his powerhouse with Edelbrock components, including E-205 cylinder heads, Performer RPM dual-plane manifold, and 800-cfm carburetor. MSD lights the mixture with a billet distributor, wires, and a Blaster coil tied to a 6AL box. In the valley is a Comp Cams hydraulic roller cam with .513-inch lift and 1.6:1 roller rockers. The front dress on this 427 stroker is all custom made. Doug estimates that his Ford Racing/Edelbrock crate 427 makes 550-600 horsepower.

Behind the 427W is Ford's old-school three-speed C4 Cruise-O-Matic fitted with a B&M 2,200 rpm stall converter designed to quickly get the engine into its powerband. Deep cooling comes from a finned aluminum transmission pan.

Other than bodywork and paint, the Sellecks' Mustang hardtop was built entirely in the family's two-car garage. Doug tells us he enjoyed the time spent putting the car together. Most of all, he gratefully acknowledges Veronica for giving him her Mustang to play with.

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