Jim Smart
October 1, 2002

Bruce Shibley is a pretty sharp guy, and we'll tell you why. While he was in college, he became obsessed with finding a powerful American V-8 convertible. Originally, he wasn't thinking about a Mustang. In fact, he didn't have anything specific in mind. His desire was sparked by memories of cruising with his buddies in high school. Among those memories were classic Mustangs. Bruce knew that he liked Mustangs. Living in California at the time, where 20-25 percent of all new Mustangs have been sold for approaching 40 years, there were a lot of them to choose from.

Cruising the classifieds and chasing down leads for nearly a year, Bruce never gave up. He finally spotted his dream pick on a Los Angeles freeway. Lucky for him, there was a "For Sale" sign in the window and an attractive woman at the wheel. He politely waved her off the freeway, struck a deal, and took this '67 Mustang convertible home. That was 20 years ago. In the beginning, Bruce had himself a bread-and-butter "C" code 289-2V convertible. When the original 289 gave up, Bruce built a warmed-up small-block with a mechanical camshaft and a Top Loader four-speed transmission. A 9-inch rearend soon followed. Better brakes and a solid suspension improved the driving experience. Bruce tells us, "This car has always been a ton of fun. It was a regular daily driver during college, a summer beach cruiser, a winter skimobile at Tahoe, and then ultimately a backup and 'someday project' car when I relocated to the Pacific Northwest."

It was Bruce's wife, Camille, who prompted him to think about the car's future. The well-worn drop-top was consuming valuable garage space (and dust) with no apparent direction. The more Bruce thought about it, the more he realized he really didn't like driving the car. Its dated technology and traditional classic Mustang shortcomings made it challenging at best. He liked the way the car looked. He just couldn't see driving it the way it was. A goal was born--to keep the features he admired and dump the adversities he didn't. He stripped his Mustang down to the shell and set a new plan in motion. The body was chemically dipped and stripped to bare steel. New Start Auto Works of Vancouver, Washington, massaged the steel and laid down the rich, black finish.

To say New Start did just the bodywork wouldn't be fair. These talented folks also custom-fabricated those inner fenders when the shock towers were removed to make way for a Mustang II front suspension with rack-and-pinion steering. Coilover shocks and tubular control arms round out the street-rod frontend. Because Bruce wanted his Mustang's underpinnings to last, he had everything powdercoated. Powdercoated surfaces clean up easily and they endure the punishing world underneath. Huge 11-inch GM vented front disc brakes and larger Ford rear drum brakes give Bruce blazing stop-action performance. Instead of a carbureted small-block, Bruce went to the late-model Mustang parts bin and found a 9,000-mile '93 5.0L GT40 Cobra V-8/five-speed combo from a crash recovery.

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Ceramic-coated “shorty” headers help scavenge the gasses. Bruce plumbed the exhaust system, fitting it with Flowmaster Deltaflow mufflers. Sixty-seven quad-dual exhaust tips give the car a stealthy appearance.

Where the flywheel meets the World Class T5 transmission is a McLeod clutch. A 9-inch Ford differential with Traction-Lok and 3.50:1 gears affords Bruce the mechanical advantage from a dead stop. When he slips the T5 into Overdrive, revs come down to a tolerable 1,800 rpm at 70 mph. Not bad for an old Mustang. Because stock Mustang clutch and brake-pedal pivot bushings are the pits, Torrington bearings (the bomb!) were installed at the clutch and brake-pedal pivot point for superb reliability and smooth operation. This modification makes light work of hydraulic clutch driving.

Bruce created a custom-made hood lock using a key-type cabinet lock. No one knows it’s there but Bruce. Inside, the stock AM radio remains, but Bruce is never without good vibes. A hidden AM/FM cassette stereo with a six-CD changer is married to a powerful amplifier and subwoofer. Painless wiring ties it all together with a minimum of fuss.

This is a Mustang that gets us supercharged about restomod because it takes an already exciting ride and makes it a dream cruiser without any of the disadvantages of dated technology. Study this Mustang closely, and you’ll quickly understand why Bruce was driven to achieve an extraordinary level of excellence in a ’67 that only could have been done his way.