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1967 Ford Mustang GT Fastback - This Time
On the second time around with his ’67 fastback, Bryan Adams builds the Mustang he always wanted
Let’s get this clear straight away: The Bryan Adams who built and owns the gorgeous red ’67 Mustang fastback in this story is not that Bryan Adams. This one is from Kansas, not Canada. And he wasn’t even born yet in the summer of 1969, let alone recalls playing in a garage band at the time.
Nevertheless, this Bryan Adams has made his creative mark, albeit in an entirely different genre—the world of classic Mustangs.
Adams bought the car way back in 1991 as the replacement for a ’67 coupe with a 289 that was totaled by a drunk driver—a circumstance that must have undoubtedly “cut like a knife” for the young enthusiast. Technically, there was an ’82 Mustang GT that bridged the gap between the two cars, but it was definitely a placeholder until a suitable replacement classic Mustang was located.
Another coupe that was affordable and easy to modify was what Adams was looking for when he spotting a local ad for the Fastback. It was admittedly rough, but was advertised as an authentic GT. Not surprisingly, he was skeptical—only about 5 percent of the more than 472,000 Mustangs built in 1967 were GT/GTA models.
“I had looked at plenty of cars with my dad that were claimed to be GTs but weren’t,” says Adams. “When I realized it was a real GT, I decided to hold off on the search for a coupe and build the fastback.”
It was an admittedly rough starting point. Adams purchased it from the second owner, who had himself purchased it for his daughter. She turned her nose up at the dilapidated condition, so dear-old dad threw a “for sale” sign in the window. It was a fairly basic A-code car with the Top Loader four-speed, along with factory power steering, power front disc brakes, air conditioning and the fold-down rear seat. It was also an original red fastback with a black interior. Nice attributes, every one of them.
“At first, because it was a real GT, I was reluctant to make modifications,” he says. “I finally decided to only make changes that could be reversed.”
In 1992, Adams—with his father’s help mostly on the bodywork and paint—rebuilt the car to mostly stock condition. It was an admirable result for an at-home restoration, and the car looked great.
“The paint and bodywork really turned out well and I temporarily fixed the cowl vents with those plastic inserts to top the leaks into the interior,” he says. “I built the car as fast as I could, because I was using my father’s garage and tools. With my car in pieces, his cars had to sit outside—something he was understandably not thrilled about.”
For more than 15 years, Adams enjoyed the car as it was, while yearning for upgrades that would give it a more contemporary driving experience. After taking another college degree in 2008, his graduation present—with the blessing of his wife Pandora—would be another restoration, but with a Pro Touring twist that would infuse those more modern elements.
“For the second time around, I had more money, more skills, and my own garage and tools,” he says. “I completely went through the car again and there is little that remains from the 1992 re-do.”
There was also an unfortunate twist in his plan, after he farmed out the bodywork and paint to a local shop. Upon agreeing to a price, the shop media-blasted the car and called Adams to say the cost would be doubled because of the corrosion issues they found after stripping the body.
“I just didn’t have the kind of money they wanted, so I paid them for the media blasting and took the body shell home,” says Adams. “The experience actually reinforced in me the importance of trying to do things yourself, so I picked up where the body shop left off, and started cutting out all of the rusted and rotted metal.”
Not being a proficient welder, Adams practiced on scrap metal so that he wouldn’t warp the new sheet metal for his cancerous ponycar. He also saved the more visible components for later, working first on the floorpans, battery tray apron, and cowl to perfect his technique. After that, it was the quarter-panels and more. The body is essentially stock, apart from the Shelby-style hood and lower front valance. That’s just fine, because it’s difficult to improve on the sensuous styling of the factory Fastback. When it came to laying down the red paint, Adams turned again to his father.
“I think I got to be a pretty good welder and really enjoyed it,” he says. “I still get excited when I lay down a good bead.”
While the car’s exterior was left more or less as Ford originally intended, Adams got more creative under the hood, filling holes, smoothing the firewall, and hiding wiring. All of the regulators, relays, solenoids, and more are tucked away in the passenger-side fenderwell. He also moved the battery to the trunk, and sprayed the engine compartment flat black and the engine body color. And in a clear demonstration of his newfound enthusiasm—and perhaps even a little cockiness—for welding, Adams fastened a custom one-piece export brace by welding together a couple of aftermarket braces.
After he finally put down his welding gun, Adams turned to the car’s driveability features, swapping the vague factory steering system for a modern rack-and-pinion setup. He didn’t go as far as replacing the front suspension with one of the strut kits that are becoming so popular with Mustang Pro Touring builders, but he still upgraded it to provide a firmer and more direct feel that complements the more responsive steering system.
“The car drives and steers so much better than it ever did before—it’s much more fun,” says Adams. “Frankly, it was one of the things about the car I didn’t like after the last restoration. Even with the factory power steering system rebuilt, the car just felt very sloppy.”
Driveability was also bolstered in the car by replacing the old Top Loader with a more-modern World Class T-5 five-speed, which not only offers the benefit of overdrive for easier highway cruising, but the hydraulically actuated diaphragm-type clutch used with it is much easier to live with daily. It backs an approximately 425-horsepower Windsor that started life as a 302 and was stroked to 327 cubic inches.
During the body’s restoration, Adams incorporated sound-deadening and thermal-barrier materials, which made a noticeable improvement on the car’s overall refinement.
“It is much quieter and cooler on the road,” he says. “It’s amazing what a few modern upgrades can do to drastically improve the driving experience of a classic car.”
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Modern amenities abound in the interior, too, from the upgraded air conditioning system to a modern sound system—which may or may not blast rocker Bryan Adams’ music from time to time. Aluminum trim throughout also gives it a more contemporary look and feel, but not at the expensive of the cabin’s classic aesthetic.
Adams is quick to acknowledge his family for putting up with the missed sports events and other sacrifices while he toiled in the garage, but now that the car is finished and on the road, everyone enjoys the driving fun and attention the car attracts.
“This is the car I always wanted,” he says. “It took a while, but I wouldn’t trade the experience for anything.”
That’s it. The story of a man, his vision and his determination—told “straight from the heart.”
|Vehicle:||1967 Ford Mustang Fastback|
|Ford Racing Windsor-type 302 (“B50” block) stroked to 327 cubic inches|
|Probe main girdle with ARP main studs|
|Scat 4340 forged steel crankshaft with chamfered oil holes|
|Scat 4340 forged steel connecting rods|
|Ross forged aluminum pistons with Twisted Wedge valve reliefs|
|Total Seal ductile iron piston rings|
|10:1 compression ratio|
|Trick Flow Twisted Wedge aluminum cylinder heads with 61cc combustion chambers and 170cc intake runners|
|Manley 2.02-inch intake valves and 1.60-inch exhaust valves|
|Trick Flow double-coil valvesprings with 1.460-inch OD and 125-pound spring seat load (at 1.800-inch installed height)|
|Comp Cams roller rocker arms with 1.6:1 ratio|
|Comp Cams Extreme Energy XE274 hydraulic roller camshaft; 0.555-inch intake/0.565-inch exhaust lift; 224/232 degrees duration|
|Edelbrock Performer RPM Air Gap aluminum intake manifold|
|Edelbrock AVS Thunder 650-cfm four-barrel carburetor|
|Mallory Unilite distributor with mechanical advance and optical trigger|
|Mallory Hyfire 6AL programmable ignition|
|Horsepower: 425 at 5,800 rpm (estimated)|
|Torque: 385 lb-ft at 4,900 rpm (estimated)|
|Tremec World Class T5 five-speed manual|
|Billet steel flywheel|
|Centerforce dual-friction clutch|
|Currie 3.80-ratio ring and pinion|
|Moser 28-spline axles|
|Ford Racing ceramic-coated headers with 15⁄8-inch primaries and 21⁄2-inch collectors|
|Aluminized 21⁄2-inch exhaust system|
|Flowmaster 40-series mufflers|
|Front: Opentracker Racing Products roller spring perches and upper control arms; cut-down Mustang GT coil springs; adjustable strut rods with Heim joint, Edelbrock IAS shocks, ’68 Mustang lower control arms and 11⁄8-inch stabilizer bar with poly bushings and endlinks|
|Rear: 4.5-leaf mid-eye springs with Edelbrock IAS shocks|
|Randall’s Rack and Pinion conversion kit|
|GM-Saginaw power steering pump|
|Front: Kelsey-Hayes discs with 11-inch vented rotors and four-piston calipers|
|Rear: Factory Mustang GT drums with upgraded shoes|
|Front: MB Wheels “Old School,” 17 x 8-inch|
|Rear: MB Wheels “Old School,” 17 x 9.5-inch|
|Front: BFGoodrich TA KD, 225/45R17|
|Rear: BFGoodrich TA KD, 275/40R17|
|Owner-restored and modified, with re-trimmed ’86 Pontiac Fiero seats; Billet Specialties “Outlaw” steering wheel; Auto Meter instruments installed in a Mustang Deluxe gauge panel; Kenwood head unit with Alpine amp and Infinity speakers; Ididit tilting steering column; Shelby-style center console; aluminum console and dash inserts; Second Skin sound deadening throughout; interior painted flat black|
|Stock body except for Shelby-style hood from Tony Branda, rocker trim removed and holes filled, ’93 Mustang Performance Red PPG basecoat/clearcoat sprayed by Jeff Adams|