Dale Amy
April 1, 2014
Photos By: Drew Phillips

We've all done it—or at least been tempted. Here's hoping your parents sat you down and warned you about the potential pitfalls of this type of questionable activity, giving you their hard-earned life insight on how this particular sin can often lead to disappointment, embarrassment, and maybe even humiliation. We're talking, of course, about the risky business of buying a collector car sight unseen. Larry Ashley did it, and the result nearly threatened the sanctity of his marriage. No, really.

Browsing the Internet one day back in 2006, Larry found a 1968 Mustang GT/CS coupe listed for sale. Larry lives in Ontario, California, and the eBay-listed pony was almost 500 miles away up in Sacramento. So, based purely on photos and the ad description, he contacted the seller, haggled a bit, and finally settled on a price. Now, it's always supposed to be a happy day when a new toy gets delivered, but not this time: "Ugh, the car was far worse than he described," Larry said. "Once it arrived, I was so bummed I just shoved it in my back yard and let it sit for four years till I got tired of hearing my wife complain about it."

The bizarre irony here is that Larry had bought this 1968 Mustang coupe for his wife, Lola, in order to replace a '67 Mustang that the couple had previously been forced to sell after Larry was laid off back in early 2005.

"I had to sell it to make the mortgage and the wife was all bummed out," Larry said. "She said [the '67] was part of the family and we should have never sold it. I promised her I would buy another car and build it far better than the '67."

So after that, uh, four-year delay, Larry finally got over his disappointment in the as-bought condition of his 1968 Mustang and set about acting on his spousal promise. In the meantime, he had taken a new position as marketing director for TMI Products, a seating and upholstery specialist whose extensive line of Mustang and early Bronco interior products may well be familiar to many readers. This new job also got Larry thinking that the forlorn old notchback might make a nice rolling showcase for TMI's hardware at the annual SEMA show in Las Vegas.

With one look at its highly detailed "Lobster Red" interior, you'll see that the black coupe performed its recent SEMA show role rather well. Along with TMI's vinyl and suede upholstery and door panels, other primary contributors to the interior's classy modern vibe are the company's "Sport R" buckets and full-length center console. Likewise, Dakota Digital's VHX-series instruments combine analog and digital displays with red backlighting and Silver Alloy gauge faces for a look that's modern without seeming out of place in a 45-year-old ride. The cabin is isolated by a full sound-deadening package from Quiet Ride Solutions, finished off with in-car entertainment from Custom Autosound and a color-matching billet steering wheel mounted on an Ididit tilt column.

No doubt a good portion of Larry's two-year restoration/restomodification involved having Gabe Bell get the 1968 Mustang notchback's body panels straight enough to not show any imperfections—even after shaving the door handles—under the unforgiving coats of PPG's Brilliant Black Crystal Clearcoat as shot by GC Customs, and contrasted by those unique, slashed red graphics. The rear view is distinct with its GT/CS treatment, while the snout has a "Street Style" apron from Mustangs Plus, and those somehow-sinister projector headlights by Spyder.

The chassis fully lives up to the look, with Global West's negative-roll coilover kit bolstered by a 1.125-inch Addco antisway bar. Out back are Grab-A-Trak four-leaf, reverse-eye leaf springs from Mustangs Plus, along with Addco's 0.875-inch rear bar. SSBC gets credit for the coupe's four-wheel, Tri Power discs that measure 13 inches in diameter up front and 11 in the rear. It all meets the pavement via Falken FK453 rubber on 18-inch TSW rims powdercoated in satin black.

Under the hood of the 1968 Mustang is a 302 beefed up with forged steel internals from Code 510. Induction is via a Holley 600-cfm 4150 atop a Street Dominator intake, while Doug Thorley short-tube headers do the exhausting work. Compared to the rest of the project, this engine room may seem a tad mild, possibly because this was supposed to be Lola's car, right? Well, maybe not: "I went too far with it," Larry says about the notchback's show condition, "and now she's scared to drive it. Now she wants my '69 Cougar. Maybe I've found the secret: Just tell the wife it's for her. Build a crazy car and she won't drive it and I will get what I wanted without the hassle."

Uh, maybe, Larry—at least until Lola reads this article…

The Details
Larry and Lola Ashley's 1968 Mustang GT/CS
Engine
302 cid
4340 forged crank
4340 forged H-beam rods
Holley Street Dominator aluminum intake
Holley 600-cfm 4150 carb
K&N Xstream filter
Pertronix ignition
By Code 510, Moreno Valley, CA
Transmission
Ford C4 three-speed automatic
2,500-stall converter
Rearend
Ford 9-inch axle
3.55 gears
Traction-Lok diff
28-spline axles
Exhaust
Doug Thorley short-tube headers, 15⁄8-inch primaries
Flowmaster American Thunder exhaust, stainless, 21⁄2-inch
Suspension
Front: Global West negative-roll coilover kit with tubular control arms, Viking double-adjustable shocks, Addco 11⁄8-inch antiroll bar
Rear: Mustangs Plus Grab-A-Trak 4-leaf reverse-eye leaf springs, Viking double-adjustable shocks Addco 7⁄8-inch antiroll bar
Brakes
Front: Stainless Steel Disc Brakes disc, drilled and slotted 13-inch rotors, Tri Power calipers
Rear: Stainless Steel Disc Brakes disc, drilled and slotted 11-inch rotors, Tri Power calipers
Wheels
Front: TSW, 18x8, +20mm offset, 5.25-inch backspace
Rear: TSW, 18x9.5, +20mm offset, 6-inch backspace
Tires
Front: Falken FK453, P255/35R18
Rear: Falken FK453, P265/35R18
Interior
TMI Products (Corona, CA) custom interior trimmed in Lobster Red vinyl and suede, TMI Sport R buckets, TMI Sport R center console; Neon Red carpet from Trim Parts; Ididit steering column; billet steering wheel; Dakota Digital VHX analog gauges, red backlit; Scott Drake chrome interior trim parts; Custom AutoSound audio; Quiet Ride Solutions sound deadening
Exterior
PPG Brilliant Black Crystal Pearlcoat by GC Customs; Body by Gabe Bell; Mustangs Plus Street Style front apron; shaved door handles; GT/CS rear lights, spoiler, and corners; satin black powdercoated bumpers; Eddie Motorsports hood hinges; Dynacorn stainless trim; Spyder Projector headlights