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This Aviation-Themed 1967 Ford Mustang Is a Pilot’s Dream Come True
Everyone has a dream car that occupies a small slice of their brain.
Everyone has a dream car that occupies a small slice of their brain. Sometimes, it's as easy as going to a dealership and making payments on your dream car; other times, as in the case of Amy Himic, a commercial pilot for FedEx, it requires a bit more effort. As you can see, her dream car isn't something you can simply buy off the showroom floor. It had to be built from scratch, and she enlisted Larry and PJ Burchett at B Rod or Custom in Knoxville, Tennessee, to make her concept a reality.
First and foremost, she wanted a 1967 Ford Mustang with Eleanor styling, but she didn't want an outright Eleanor clone. A long list of ideas and a rusty piece of a Mustang were the starting points for this project, and it was up to B Rod or Custom to work out the details and get the car on the road. An aviation theme was an important aspect of the build for Amy, and as the project went into motion, the creative juices began to flow. An Eric Brockmeyer illustration helped the involved parties visualize the car.
The first of many steps included gutting the original Mustang floorpan and unibody structure and replacing it with a brand-new platform that B Rod or Custom designed. The new chassis platform consists of a full frame to replace the flimsy unibody, a new front suspension arrangement to get rid of the bulky shock towers, and wider wheeltubs out back for obvious reasons.
A G-Machine front suspension system from Chris Alston Chassisworks features tubular control arms, Varishock coilovers, and a big sway bar to keep things level. The new front end also features provisions for rack-and-pinion steering. B Rod or Custom called upon Chris Alston Chassisworks again for the rear suspension, which features a canted four-link rear setup with another pair of Varishock coilovers. These components attach to a Fab 9 rearend housing that is packing Strange internals and a 4.11:1 gearset.
Braking power comes from a set of Wilwood disc brakes, featuring 14-inch drilled-and-slotted rotors with six-piston calipers up front and four-piston calipers out back. Amy's Mustang rolls on a set of American Racing Shelby wheels and Nitto 555 tires for a nice combination of style and performance. Staggered sizing gives the car an aggressive look, with 17x8-inch fronts matched with 245/40R17 tires and 18x11-inch rears sporting 285/40R18 rubber.
Another part of Amy's dream-car criteria was horsepower—and plenty of it. Lucky for her, Larry was able to source a lightly used 4.6L mod motor and T56 six-speed transmission from another local builder. It was a fresh build from Ford Racing, but Amy wanted a little more grunt under the hood, so a Kenne Bell supercharger was installed to cram 10 pounds of boost into the DOHC engine. Boost is limited because of the engine's compression ratio, but if Amy wants to get serious, the bottom end can be swapped for boost-ready components and the supercharger pulleys can be changed for upward of 25 pounds of boost.
In its current configuration, the mod motor sends 404 hp and 376 lb-ft of torque to the rear tires. Scott Bowen at In Tune Motor Sports gave the engine a conservative tune on his Mustang Dyno to be safe on 92-octane pump gas. The DOHC mod motor makes a beautiful noise, thanks to custom headers, 3-inch exhaust, and Magnaflow mufflers.
The wow factor of Amy's Mustang stems from the GT500 styling, mixed with a number of body modifications and a candy-apple-red paint job that accentuates the exaggerated curves and crisp lines. Although there are kits to turn a regular Mustang into an Eleanor clone, the crew at B Rod or Custom felt it was best to start from scratch after seeing the fit and finish of the fiberglass kit components. The shop built the front fenders, hood, front bumper, decklid, and spoilers from scratch. Other body modifications, such as the functional quarter-panel vents and peaked roof, tend to blend into the surroundings as subtle reminders that this isn't your average Mustang.
Larry and PJ Burchett, along with Randy Pratt and David Travis, spent countless hours perfecting the body, going through multiple stages of primer until finally laying down the Axalta Hot Hues Candy Apple Effect paint. A tinted sealer was used in conjunction with the beautiful basecoat, which is buried in clearcoat that has been sanded and buffed to perfection. Gray stripes and blacked-out trim finish off the body, while Redline Lumtronix headlights, a custom Alumicraft grille, and Aviatrix emblems add even more personality to this eye-catching Mustang.
Inside, you'll find a custom interior, stitched by Steve Holcomb at Pro Auto Custom Interiors in Knoxville, Tennessee. Black leather with red stitching offers clean and tasteful lines, while the Classic Instruments gauges and Helicopter joystick shifter handle bring the aviation theme full circle. A custom console houses the power-window switches, the controls to the Vintage Air Gen IV A/C system, and the Pioneer Double-DIN multimedia receiver. Amy grips a Billet Specialties steering wheel, which mounts to an ididit tilt column.
There is no question that Amy Himic's dream car was not easily attained. It wasn't bought at a dealership and it wasn't assembled from a kit. This is truly a custom Mustang with hidden details in every square inch of the build. The car is an attention-getter, as most folks recognize it as an Eleanor car, but it doesn't take long to figure out it isn't just another GT500 clone. It was a long road, but Amy is now the proud owner of a hand-sculpted dream car, which is ready to carve corners and hit the open road.