Ben Hosking
October 15, 2015
Photos By: hoskingindustries.com.au

If you look past the potential problems associated with having four sons—like supremely busy weekend mornings taking them to sporting events, violent four-way sibling scuffles, squabbles over inheritance, and the very real threat of no one ever putting the toilet seat down—there is at least one potential upside for the four-son car-owning enthusiast: being able to share your hobby with them. Andrew Panda, a 43-year-old Sydneysider, even figured out a way to avoid the potential perils of post-mortem will wars. He’s decided to build each of them a car.

What you’re seeing printed on these pages is muscle car number two, with number one being a neatly restored 1964½ Mustang convertible that Andrew completed several years ago. He’s enjoyed plenty of miles in the convertible and wasn’t even thinking about building another car until a good friend of his made a fateful late-night phone call from California.

“It all started over a couple of beers with my mate who runs his own shop, Big Al’s Mustangs & Musclecars,” Andrew says. “I told him of my interest in buying a 1967 fastback. Unbeknownst to me, Al had traveled to the U.S. on a holiday and was keeping an eye out for me.” It just so happened that while driving through the California desert Al came across a 1967 under someone’s carport. “The owner said the car had belonged to his father who had died,” Andrew says. “It had been sitting there for the last seven years, which was evident by the amount of sand on the car.”

Photo Gallery

View Photo Gallery

While the owner declined any offers at the time for sentimental reasons, a few months later, Andrew received a call saying the owner was ready to sell. Negotiations were made and the car was shipped Down Under. Once the car arrived on Aussie shores, even close inspection revealed that the Mustang carried no more than a single 2-inch rust hole in the floorpan from where the air conditioner had been dripping for decades past; an excellent start to the project.

The Billet Specialties serpentine conversion keeps everything neat and tidy and close to the engine block, allowing extra room in the engine bay.

But what’s next for the fastback? With a relatively traditional restoration already under his belt, Andrew decided something wilder was in order this time around and inspiration was found in the work of the Ringbrothers. Indeed, around $20,000 in parts were ordered from the company during the course of the build, even if they had a hard time believing the would-be customer to begin with. “They wouldn’t take my money to start with,” Andrew says, still amused by the memory today. “It wasn't long after the economy went south, so I can understand their hesitation at making and shipping so much stuff on the strength of someone offering a credit card number. I had to get the bank involved to show I was serious.”

Andrew’s Mustang is covered in bespoke features that you’ll find nowhere else. The bodywork was completed by renowned Australian body man Justin Hills of Hills & Co. in Taree, New South Wales (NSW)—a shop famous for turning out impeccable customs. “Hills & Co. had the car for around 12 months,” Andrew says. “They were excellent to deal with and their work on the Mustang is amazing.”

The Showwheels KWC 013 forged hoops are wrapped in Khumo Ecsta SPT rubber. It looks a lot bigger in this shot but that’s “just” an 18x9 stuffed in the rear wheel opening.
The billet front fender vent is but one of many items ordered from Ringbrothers and used in other Ringbrothers Mustang builds.

Custom touches include the unique center rib in the side vents that has been so well executed that plenty of people have to ask if it was original. Then there are the shaved driprails and handles, modified bumpers, and custom side skirts fabricated from steel. Both the hood and the trunklids are carbon fiber and feature flawless finished surfaces on top and bottom.

Once the many body mods were complete, the car was lathered in a custom metallic green Glasurit finish that pays a little homage to Bullitt, while remaining totally custom as well as being understated and classy. By avoiding current paint trends, Andrew's modern/classic vibe should still look fresh years down the road.

This hand-formed center rib/strake breaks up the custom lower quarter-panel vent area and many think it is a factory styling piece.
Another distinct Ringbrothers item Andrew used on this build are these billet upper vent pieces that replace the stock flow-through ventilation bits.
LED taillights are finished off with billet Ringbrothers trim in a carbon-fiber taillight panel. The custom dark green hue plays well with the carbon-fiber material.
The carbon-fiber decklid was left bare carbon on the underside and again, is a tasteful mix with the gray leather and carpet in the fully detailed trunk (or boot as they say Down Under).
A smoothed custom dash painted body color is the base for the OE-style gauge cluster stuffed full of Auto Meter’s Cobalt gauges. The Cobalts feature a through-the-lens blue LED illumination for a modern feel that is easy on the eyes.
The custom console houses the Pioneer 7-inch DVD touch-screen, which is the centerpiece of the audio system. Further back, behind the B&M shifter you will find the billet power window controls.

“The hardest part of the build was probably the bodywork and getting the concept off the paper and into the fabricating,” Andrew says. “Choosing the color with family members was tricky too, as everyone had definite views on what color it should be.”

One area that didn’t come under so much discussion was the powertrain, where Andrew set his mind on a stroked Windsor. Built by Aaron Wiles, the 408ci small-block runs a tough forged bottom end, topped by ported aluminum heads and a beefy 950-cfm Holley Ultra HP carb. With a solid lifter cam, Andrew estimates the combo is making around 600 hp, which is plenty enough to spin those P285/40R18 hoops under the butt. “One of the things that still crosses my mind now that it’s finished is whether I should have tubbed the car,” Andrew says. “Should I have sacrificed the rear seat for wider wheels?”

Even without a tub job, Andrew has been able to fit a set of 18x9 forged KWC rims on the rear with a ton of backspacing, giving the look of a car with more room under there. In fact, the car boasts a purposefully low stance all around thanks to the RRS MacPherson strut setup at the front and the RRS three-link Watts assembly under the rear. Hiding behind the Showwheels KWC wheels is a matching RRS disc brake setup with twin-piston calipers and 13-inch rotors up front and 12½-inch rotors out back.

Photo Gallery

View Photo Gallery

Hills & Co’s phenomenal metalwork continues in the cabin, where it was decided to rip out the factory dash in favor of a shallower-profile, hand-formed steel unit. From this came the desire to fabricate a custom center console, complete with space for the Pioneer DVD touch-screen. A pair of Recaro buckets sit up front, with gray leather covering them, the rear bench, and the custom door trims—all completed by Trik Trim on the NSW mid-north coast. While Auto Meter gauges fill what's left of the original fascia, Andrew picked an aftermarket steering wheel that he felt was reminiscent of one from the new-generation Mustangs.

Not content with a quick car that looked pretty, Andrew went all the way and installed a full stereo system into the 47-year-old coupe. Starting with the Pioneer source unit, Focal splits provide sonic nirvana front and rear, with the front speakers neatly and almost invisibly housed behind custom kick panels. A Focal 11-inch subwoofer provides the low end from a custom enclosure behind the rear seat, ported into the cabin through the parcel tray. Like the rest of the car, the stereo install is pretty understated and designed for class, not the latest trends.

“Sharing the car and enjoyment with my four boys is all I have planned for it now,” Andrew says. “I love taking it out for a cruise and the occasional car show. Just before the photo shoot I was pulled over by the cops with my son in the car. I wondered what I'd done wrong, but it turned out they just wanted to have a look!”

So what of the other two cars for the other two sons? Andrew says his wife is keen on a Corvette next time around and car number four is still too far away. If this Mustang is anything to go by, you can bet the ’Vette will be one killer shark.

Photo Gallery

View Photo Gallery

Photo Gallery

View Photo Gallery

Photo Gallery

View Photo Gallery