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1968 Ford Mustang - Double Life
Built for show, Dan Woods’ trailer queen is right at home as a drag queen
The Top Loader four-speed was also tossed into the junk pile. In its place, a Tremec TKO five-speed assumed the shifting duties, while a custom aluminum 3.5-inch driveshaft from Hartman Driveline Co. in Reading, Pennsylvania, transferred the power to the Ford 9-inch rear. Dan and good friend, Dave Holzer, of H&H Racing rebuilt the rear using a Richmond Gear 4.11:1 ring-and-pinion set with a traction lock, and Moser Engineering axles. The last custom touch came with the addition of the 5-inch front, and 8.5-inch rear Weld Wheels wrapped in BF Goodrich Drag Radials.
With safety in mind, he also installed an eight-point rollbar purchased from S&W Race cars in Spring City, Pennsylvania, while Mikes Upholstery (Limerick, Pennsylvania) sewed the cloth onto the JAZ racing seats. Dan also replaced the tired carpet and refurbished every part in the interior. He also figured that if he started showing the car, judges would want to see inside the trunk, so he covered the trunk floor and sides.
“I made covers that fit over the tail panel, and covered them with the same cloth used in the cabin. I made a mirror-finish stainless plate that separates the trunk from the cabin, and then made a red vinyl running horse for the center of it,” he explains. “I guess you could say, I did it my way,” Dan proudly notes. “I did most of the work myself. Everything on this car was stripped, primed, and repainted with very little farmed out, except for the machine work to the engine, and the actual paintwork.”
In May of 1998, exactly three years after he started the rebuild of the GT, he was able to drive it to his first cruise night. The car turned a lot of heads and drew quite a large crowd.
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You might think at this point, mission accomplished, car is done, end of story! Well, not quite. Dan spent the next few years going to cruise nights, indoor and outdoor car shows, and any other event that was car-related. In the process, he racked up numerous Best of Show, and Best Mustang trophies. However, he candidly admits, “I won over 50 awards; after 12 years of car shows and cruise nights, I grew tired of the same thing over and over again and got bored with the whole street scene.”
That all changed when he was at a car show at Maple Grove Raceway with his new bride, Amanda. That night, the 422 All Stars Nostalgia Super Stocks had a race there. In attendance were Dink Bishop and Fred Henderson, two individuals that Dan had met many years prior. They filled him in on the race series while he soaked up the excitement. He recalls telling his wife, “The car shows and cruise nights we go to are a bunch of crap. This is a real cruise night right here!”
With full encouragement from his wife, Dan decided to go racing with the GT. This was an easier task for him because much of the work was already done. The 428ci engine was solid, so only a few changes were made. Hudson Performance (Gilbertsville, Pennsylvania) was instrumental in helping him replace the 406 Tri-power setup with an Edelbrock Victor 427 intake and a reworked 750 cfm Holley carburetor. The Tremec was also swapped. In its place, a worked C-4 automatic transmission built by Ron Edwards of Performance Transmissions (Lancaster, Pennsylvania) now shifted the ’68. Weld Draglite wheels and Hoosier ET street DOT slicks at the back, along with Weld ProStars, also with Hoosier ET street DOT slicks at the front gave the car a nostalgic look.
Looking back, he recalls, “I registered for Pinks All Out in May 2010 at Maple Grove Raceway. Because of the lack of time after making all these changes, the car was never tested, so I was going into this race cold. The last time I raced was in September 1975.” The first run was an 11.72 and the second an 11.69. Saturday was the big day, and he ran an 11.63, which was followed by an 11.61. Somewhat disappointed, he adds, “The last run was on Pinks creator, Rich Christensen’s arm drop. We have the video of this run. As soon as his shoulders moved, the front of the Mustang was in the air. He thought I jumped, but he was told I didn’t. We didn’t make the all-out 16, but we were close to it though.” Dan completed the 2010 season in 16th place running with the 422 All Stars.
He made numerous changes during the off-season, which included an engine overhaul, refinements to the suspension, the addition of Hoosier drag tires at all four corners, and improvements to the 9-inch rear. Graphics were also a requirement when racing with the 422 All Stars, so Dan had Brian Hirthler at 4Star Lettering in Green Lane, Pennsylvania, do the artwork. While all of this was taking place, Dan was also in the process of recovering from prostate cancer surgery. 2011 saw a repeat of the previous year. He finished 16th in points. In 2012, however, additional changes were made to improve consistency and he ended up seventh in points with a 10.95 pass as a personal best.
With the entire show scene behind him, racing has become his focus. Dan’s wife, Amanda, likes to say that, “His trailer queen has now become a drag queen.”
Dan and Amanda Woods’ ’68 Mustang GT
Ford production 428ci big-block (462ci total)
Mahle connecting rods
Scat forged-steel crankshaft
Mahle forged pistons
Erson camshaft, 0.595-inch lift, 0.295 duration at 0.050
Edelbrock aluminum heads, port matched, Ferrea 2.150-inch intake/1.660-inch exhaust valves, PBM Performance products springs
Dove roller rocker arms and shafts
Edelbrock Victor 427 aluminum intake
Holley 750-cfm Double Pumper HP four-barrel (modified)
MSD Pro-Billet distributor
11.5:1 compression ratio
Ford C4 three-speed automatic, Built by Ron Edwards, Lancaster, PA
Winters Sidewinder shifter
5,200-rpm stall converter
Ford 9-inch, built by Dave Holzer of H&H Racing, Boyertown, PA
Richmond 4:11 gears
Hooker Super Competition headers, (modified)
Front: Calvert Racing 90/10 shocks and strut rod bearings, Moog coils
Rear: Calvert Racing adjustable shocks, Ed Quay Race Cars ladder bar
Front: Stock Ford disc brakes
Rear: Stock Ford drum
Front: Weld Pro Star, 15X4, 2.5-inch offset
Rear: Weld Draglite, 15X8, 4-inch offset
Front: Hoosier Drag, 26x4.5-15
Rear: Hoosier Drag, 28x10-15
Stock Ford interior, Jaz front racing seats, Auto Meter gauges, RCI five-way racing harness, eight-point rollbar
PPG basecoat/clearcoat Highland Green, applied by Dave Runion, Street Visions (Graterford, PA); hoodpins; tri-bar headlamps; Boss 429 hoodscoop