Jim Smart
January 1, 1999

Some say 1967 was the year for the restomod. Why? Because it was a splendid year for hot Trans-Am Mustang performance. That attitude found its way to showrooms everywhere, where Ford sold more Mustang hardtops than convertibles or fastbacks. There was a reason. How could you not feel inspired by the roar of screaming 289 small-blocks blasting their way around Sebring, Road America, Watkins Glen, and other legendary road courses? And those 289s did their screaming between the shock towers of '67 Mustang coupes. Today, those cars have yet another advantage--they're plentiful and cheap. They were born to be restomods.

Chuck Wiltens of San Francisco understands the emotions that come with a 1967 Mustang coupe. It thrills. It excites. It’s in the company of some of the best-looking Mustangs ever conceived. Lower it. Scoop it. Spoil it. Shave it. Then fill the wheelwells with rubber and billet aluminum. Dip it in a sizzling color like 1988 Ford Festiva Brite Red and you have an immediate formula for dazzling optical performance. The car rocks from any angle. Chuck went with Centerline Telstar 16x7-inch wheels in front followed by 16x8-inch spinners in back, all wrapped with Yokohama P225/50VR16s front and P245/50VR16s aft. Underneath, KYB gas shocks stabilize the ride with the help of Maier Racing 620-pound coils at the front and Magna five-leaf, reverse-eye leafs from Mustangs Plus in back. A 1-inch sway bar up front keeps the body stable during those apexes, while a big 1-1/16-inch rear sway bar keeps the keister positioned.

Talk about a close shave--note the absence of drip rails and door handles (Chuck opens the doors electronically) for a clean appearance. That’s a Maier Racing deck lid originally designed for the 1968 California Special, in combination with a 1967 Mustang deluxe tail panel. A pop-open gas cap rounds out the finned rear. "I bought the car in February 1977 for $1,800 when everyone wanted Camaros," Chuck tells us. Some time later, the Mustang was totaled in an accident and given up for dead by everyone but Chuck and his friend, Tim Bell. They grafted in fresh sheetmetal and trued the body, allowing the car to survive to see a dreamy new life as a tasteful modified.

Photo Gallery

View Photo Gallery

S&S Machine in Hayward, California, built the 289, utilizing the stock rods (shotpeened and polished for added strength); a Crane Blazer camshaft tied to a dual-roller timing set; 1.6:1 ratio rocker arms beneath the Edelbrock finned, aluminum valve covers; and a single-plane Edelbrock Torker intake with 600-cfm carb. An Autolite dual-point Hi-Po distributor, fitted with a Pertronix ignition retrofit, fires the mixture. Underneath are Midas big-block mufflers fitted to 2-1/2-inch pipes for a rich sound. In an age of five-speed performance, Chuck elected to fit his Mustang with the tried-and-proven Ford Top Loader four-speed with Hurst shifter.

A full, padded rollcage protects the interior, which is outfitted with Recaro LS bucket seats covered by San Leandro Auto Upholstery. The rear seat is upholstered to match the fronts. A five-point harness keeps Chuck in place. It takes more than a sparse amount of hair on your chest to pull off a restomod like this. What’s more, it takes a heck of a guy to give credit where credit is due. Chuck thanks Tim Bell, Nick Perusina, and his son Philip for their undying efforts on the project. We could go on and on about Chuck’s 1967 restomod, but we’ll give you that honor with the images pressed across these pages. When you’re finished, we’re convinced you’ll always remember 1967 as the year of the restomod.