Jerry Heasley
January 19, 2014

Fadi Cherfane convinced Shelby American Motorsports to convert his 1970 Ford Mustang hardtop into a vintage Terlingua. I was staring at what appeared to be a 1970 Terlingua Mustang hardtop. But Shelby didn’t build Terlingua Mustangs in 1970, did they?

Fadi Cherfane, one of the premier collectors of late-model Shelby Mustangs (see “Shelby East” in the April 2013 issue), unraveled his unusual Terlingua coupe build starting with the story about his trip to the 2010 Shelby Bash, Shelby American’s annual get-together at the company’s Las Vegas headquarters.

“While my ’70 coupe was at The Bash, the aftermarket power steering rack failed,” Cherfane said. He turned to Shelby American for help and their Motorsports division installed a new Total Control rack and pinion, problem solved. But Cherfane had another idea. He asked Shelby American if they could convert his coupe into a Shelby. He figured, why not?

At first, Shelby American declined because Shelby did not build ’70 coupes, although Shelby De Mexico built them from ’67 to ’69. In the U.S., however, Shelby used SportsRoofs or convertibles as starting points for their G.T. 350s and G.T. 500s.

However, Cherfane could see a Terlingua connection because Shelby American used hardtops for the ’67 Terlingua Racing Team Trans-Am race cars. Cherfane’s coupe also shared space at the Mod Shop with Shelby’s ‘07 Terlingua prototype.

So Shelby American Motorsports, also known as the Mod Shop, installed a Terlingua package on Cherfane’s ’70 Mustang, adapting the Terlingua decals, stripes, upholstery stitching, and console embroidery—basically the entire package—to a vintage hardtop.

From the factory, this ’70 Mustang was born with an H-code 351 2V and few options. Strangely enough, it was originally a Grande, green with a black vinyl top. Cherfane performed the restoration and restomod work at his Elite Auto Service, a family run business in Pennsauken, New Jersey.

He also upped the performance for track duty, starting by boring and stroking the 351 Cleveland to 393 cubic inches. In place of the two-barrel heads, Cherfane chose four-barrel closed chamber versions fitted with stainless steel valves, screw-in studs with guide plates, and a competition valve job. Custom Ross pistons bumped the compression to 10.5:1. A Crane solid-lifter cam is on the racy side with 0.630-inch lift, but drivable on the street. The exhaust features F.P.A. headers with Jet Hot coating and custom 3-inch pipes with Dr. Gas X-pipe, SpinTech mufflers, and three-inch tail pipes.

Mixing old school with new, Cherfane added a functional Shaker scoop to the stock hood. The front chin spoiler is Boss 302, as are the rolled wheel lips to fit larger tires.

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Cherfane also replaced the original FMX transmission with a four-speed Top Loader. An aluminum drive shaft spins 3.50 gears in a 9-inch Traction-Lok rear end with 31-spline axles.

Stopping power comes from four-wheel SSBC disc brakes with powder-coated calipers fitted with SSBC brake lines.

Inside, Cherfane inserted custom gauges, a center console, Mach 1 seats, and a Classic Auto Air A/C system.

The front suspension is Total Control Products, including upper and lower control arms, coil-over shocks, and heavy-duty front and rear sway bars. To help transfer the power to the rear tires, Cherfane added CalTrac traction bars and split mono leaf springs.

Before leaving Las Vegas, Cherfane got a special signature on the passenger-side front fender. “Carroll was in Las Vegas for SEMA,” explains Cherfane, “and my ’70 Terlingua was in the Mod Shop, so he signed it.”

Before transporting his ’70 Terlingua coupe back to New Jersey, Cherfane wondered about the ’07 Terlingua prototype. Luckily, Shelby American was ready to sell 07TRT0001P. “I bought the Terlingua prototype and brought both of them home.”

Cherfane now owns the one and only ’70 Terlingua Mod Shop coupe and the prototype of the Gen 5 Shelby Terlingua.