November 1, 2009

Wrenching on hot Mustangs is all in a day's work for industrious custom-car shops, and yet proprietors of such businesses are sometimes surprisingly devoid of standout wheels in their personal lives. For some it's by choice. After a long day at the "office," it's time to do something else. For others, the lack of a max effort machine is all about sacrificing personal desires for the good of the business, i.e. disposable income and time that would otherwise be spent on a car is put back into the business with investments in equipment, buildings, and more. What we have in this latter case is more along the lines of deferred pleasure, for rest assured the majority of this group will eventually reward themselves.

Shop owners like Langley, British Columbia's Brett Halbert take a slightly different approach. For this group, keeping a hot car in the stable at all times is a given, inevitably splitting time between duty as a rolling business card and serving as the object of the owner's affection. In the case of Brett, we have a guy who lives, eats, and breathes the car thing, so personal passion is clearly the overwhelming driver. That said, one can't deny that his highly detailed '85 GT is testament to the workmanship turned out of his digs at Creationz Speed and Sound. Good thing Brett's wife, Heidi, shares the infatuation with Ford's ponycar, for to say that his life is completely dominated is an understatement.

A blank canvas began with what could easily be considered the ultimate carbureted car of the Fox-era, a five-speed '85 GT, which was quickly stripped to the bone. Brett soon turned to buddy Steve Kohls for a stunning topcoat using House of Kolor products in a three-stage process, including a gold basecoat, followed by Candy Red, then finished with plenty of clear. The results are electric, but they aren't left to stand on their own. The T-top body style makes for wind-in-your-face fun, while 20-inch Foose Nitrous hoops look generally monstrous on a car originally shod with 15s. If a full-scale Hot Wheels model comes to mind, it isn't surprising.

Looks can be deceiving however, as you'd be mistaken to think Brett treats his pride and joy like a trailer queen. On the contrary, it's a frequent summer driver, and also tears up the quarter-mile at nearby Mission Raceway on a regular basis. Brett tells us the car has been painted for a number of years now, but the current drivetrain and other systems are all new.

Peeking under the hood frankly demonstrates how much things have changed since 1985. At the time, enthusiasts were crying the blues with the last of the factory Holley four-barrels, downright fearful that the advent of EFI the following year would spell the end for bolt-on performance. Even many of the automotive scribes of the day forecast doom and gloom-and weren't we all dead wrong!