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This 1966 Ford Mustang Fastback is a Pantera Pony
With a 1966 fastback in one hand and a legit 351 Cleveland from a Pantera in the other, Glen Martyn’s dream Mustang was 23 years in the making
No need to mince words here. Glen Martyn’s 1966 fastback is a truly unique custom build that we immediately knew was feature material the minute we saw it on display during the season-opening 2016 NHRA Winternationals at Pomona Raceway.
Glen brought the car to the race from his nearby home in LaVerne, California. We subsequently shot the undercarriage photos in an airport hanger that Glen rents at Brackett Field Airport, which is also right across the street from the legendary Pomona dragstrip. There, we also got a chance to chat with Glen about how the car came to be.
“I have owned the car for 23 years. Back then, I worked with a guy whose wife’s father bought the car new, and eventually, gave it to his daughter. She lost interest in it because the transmission had died, and it wasn’t economical for her to drive. I continued bugging them until they finally sold the car to me.”
“Two decades later, after my sons graduated from college, it was agreed among my family that it was my turn (hence the license plate MYTRN66) to start work on the Mustang. I bought the 351C from a guy who was going to put it in a 1971 Ranchero, but he ran out of money and sold it to me. It really is an original Cleveland from a 1972 Pantera. I was at the SEMA Show in 2012 when we met Lanny Trefz of LTR Racing Engines. Lanny said if we didn’t have a builder he would like to build the engine. He wanted to find out how much power a vintage Cleveland could make with today’s technology.”
“After a year and a half of fabrication, we were contracted by RPC Racing Power Company to show the car at the 2013 SEMA Show. At that point, it gave us 90 days to take the car from the rotisserie to completion. We met with everybody involved, and they all thought it would be great to have the car there. Gongora's Auto Body completed the body and paintwork in 32 days. Deluxe Interiors did most of the interior work while the car was being painted.”
“We were then 58 days to SEMA and worked seven days a week along with RRC Fabrication, who did all the body modifications like the door handles, the split rear bumper, installation of the TCI [Total Cost Involved] suspension and Wilwood brakes. When the car became a roller, it was all hands on deck. We finished the car the night before SEMA but were unable to start the engine due to some health issues with the engine builder. Luckily, he made a full recovery and the car was a hit at SEMA, even though it wasn’t yet running. After the show, I couldn’t wait to hear it run. When I did, it was truly a long-awaited dream to finally drive the car.”
After about two years with the completed project, Glen still loves driving and enjoying the car as much as he did in late 2013. “It handles beautifully,” he says. “It’s very impressive in the turns, the stroker Cleveland has great low-end torque, and pulls hard through the AOD transmission’s four gears. It’s also an ideal freeway cruiser where at 75 mph the engine is only turning 2,300 rpm.”
When Glen attends various car-oriented functions, he gets all sorts of interested questions about this unique fastback. “One thing many ask is what color it is. Many are amazed at the upholstery, and its rich leather look and smell, which is much unlike these cars were when new a half-century ago. They also often want to know if the engine is a real Cleveland, and they then want to hear it run.”
He sums it all up. “I love the car exactly like it is, and there isn’t anything on it that I would change.” Neither would we, Glen, neither would we.