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Wide Ride: A Custom 1967 Widebody Mustang Fastback
Dad’s ’67: One man’s 30-year effort to restore his father’s 1967 fastback
To paraphrase an old saying, Mustang ownership is paved with good intentions. We’ve seen countless Mustangs sitting and languishing over the decades. From the famous “son that never came home from Vietnam” story to the more common “it’s not for sale and I’m going to restore it someday”—we’ve heard them all. More often than not the stories have merit and the owners mean well, but time doesn’t stand still or wait for anyone and before you know it the Mustang is so far gone it’s practically not worth saving.
Richard Flores of San Antonio, Texas, can certainly relate. He’s the person responsible for taking action on the Flores family fastback you see here. Richard’s father purchased the car in 1969 from the original owner and it has been in the Flores family ever since. His father used the fastback as a daily driver to get to and from trade school, since the family sedan saw duty as his wife’s daily driver to her job. Like most of these stories go, the car broke down sometime in 1976 or 1977 and it was parked. First it sat curbside in front of the Flores home in San Antonio. Later it would be pushed into the front yard adjacent the driveway, and finally it was moved into the Flores’ one-car garage, away from prying eyes.
During the years it sat at the curb (and even in the front yard), countless well-intentioned enthusiasts rang the doorbell or left notes on the fastback with questions of selling. “I give a lot of credit to my father (and mother), despite the occasional shortfalls financially, for never selling the car. Even after Gone in 60 Seconds with the increase in interested buyers, not once did they waiver. I was away in Austin for college, and whenever we would talk on the phone they would tell me how many serious offers they had received,” Richard remembers. Of course the father and son team meant well and tried to get it running a few times, with the last big effort in 1982. “We zeroed in on the problem and found the voltage regulator to be bad. For whatever reason, we never bought a new one, and the effort to breathe new life into the fastback never materialized.”
The reason many of these languishing Mustangs finally see the light of day are, of course, the memories. For Richard it was the memories he held close of “driving” the fastback at the age of seven. Sitting in the passenger seat, left hand on the four-speed, and rowing to the next gear when his dad said “now” as he pushed in the clutch. Other memories include Richard sitting on his father’s lap and steering the fastback down the road while his dad handled the pedal work and the shifter. Of course, not all the memories were good; one in particular still amazes Richard to this day. “I remember the Mustang dropping the driveshaft from the rear diff on a highway off ramp. Didn’t know it then, but now I realize how lucky dad and I were that it didn’t fall from the other end! I guess that’s why I had a driveshaft loop installed during the build process.”
Also like most restorations, as things moved along the scope of the project grew. Richard brought the fastback to Muscle Rod Shop, owned by Steve Enochs, also in San Antonio. The project started as a basic restoration of Richard’s dad’s ’67 fastback with the usual rust repair bits like floors, battery apron, and so on, and the fastback was just about ready for paint when Steve put an interesting idea in front of Richard—turning the fastback into a widebody build! “We did drawings and mockups and it was readily apparent that the new widebody idea was fantastic. The car was cut apart and the modifications were made. This process included widening not just the quarters but the entire length of the body. On Richard’s car, the grille and headlight area is stock width, but each fender begins to flare out immediately behind each headlight. From there clear to the tailpanel each side of the body was split and widened, culminating in a total of six inches added at the tailpanel. The roof is stock, but the fenders, doors, quarters, and tailpanel are significantly wider,” Steve explained of the process to get the look you see here.
Muscle Rod Shop also raised the wheel arches up into the body line. This gives a “slammed” look without ruining the ride quality. On this fastback build the rears were raised five inches. Add in the dropped rockers and channeled suspension for that “in the weeds” look without resorting to short suspension rates or air suspension. Additional custom metal work performed by Steve’s brother Brandon includes handmade steel front and rear valances and a custom hood. Once the all metal mods were finished the body was expertly prepped by Muscle Rod Shop’s Lorenzo Perez, and then finished off in House of Kolor Cinnamon Pearl base/clear by Muscle Rod Shop’s painter Jaime Ramos. “427R call-outs on the white side stripe with the subtle Longhorn graphic add personal touches. The color of the car was selected due to its similarity to UT Orange,” Steve says.
Richard’s fastback was one unreal looking monster at this point, but of course it needed all the right boxes checked to turn it into a true masterpiece. To that end calls were made to some of the best drivetrain and suspension/brake/wheel companies out there. First call went to Roush for one of its famous 427R small-block crate engines, which is backed by a Tremec T-56 six-speed that is mated to the Roush mill via a Quicktime bellhousing that hides a McLeod clutch. A fully built Fab 9 9-inch housing with a helical geared posi unit wrapped in 3.89 gears is found out back. FPA headers and MagnaFlow pipes/mufflers snake through all of this to exit the fumes at the rear. The entire drivetrain was put in the capable hands of Jeff Enochs at Muscle Rod Shop.
Suspension-wise the fastback wears the full TCP catalog, including its front tubular coilover setup with rack-and-pinion conversion, while out back TCP’s famous G-Bar triangulated four-link with coilovers keeps the rear ably following wherever the front is steered. At all four corners you’ll find Baer brakes (14-inch slotted/drilled rotors with six-piston calipers boosted by a Hydratech hydraulic-assist unit) covered with Boze Lateral G hoops wrapped in Nitto Invo rubber—P245/40R18 fronts and P315/35R20 rears.
After his mom passed away from cancer in 1996 and his dad was getting on into retirement, Richard attempted to have the fastback restored by his dad’s 67th birthday; however, it would be another ten years, for his dad’s 77th birthday, before the fastback was finally done. The build itself took Muscle Rod Shop two years to complete and was ready to go home in 2015. “We are blessed to have dad still with us despite developing dementia before the reveal date in August of 2015. Dad was now living with us when Steve (Enochs) and I brought the car home. We parked the car in the driveway on the other side of a closed garage door. To ‘reveal’ the car to dad, we activated the garage door opener, and as the door slowly opened and dad saw the car he emphatically said, ‘Wow! That’s a ’67 fastback!’ Holding back the tears, I replied, ‘Dad, that’s YOUR ’67 fastback,’” Richard stated.
Since that reveal in 2015 Richard has put about 1,100 miles on it hitting cruises and shows, but his best time behind the wheel these days is when he takes his dad for a drive in it. “When we’re driving around, I can see in his eyes as distant memories come to the forefront of his mind. He doesn’t say much, but I can only imagine what he’s thinking. I find myself saying nothing to him so as not to disturb his moment of reminiscing. As his dementia progresses, I often wonder if there will come a time when he will forget who I am, or my wife, or his grandson. But I think with complete certainty that dad will always remember his 1967 Mustang fastback. And to honor him, I had the custom license plates on HIS car read, ‘DADS67.’”