Jerry Heasley
September 1, 2001

The '65-'66 Shelby theme has a no-nonsense racing character. Still, Daniel Plana has one that's unusual. It's pink. Daniel told us, "It's one of the few cars you can paint pink and get away with."

The color did attract us, but we discovered a truly stunning build. Once past the color, which actually is quite pleasing at a car show, the paint loses its shock value and the blue chip features shine through.

Daniel wanted a hot stance and got the look with a '65 hood, greatly modified with a '67 scoop, and bolstered by a '65 R-model front apron, strictly a racing part in Shelby lore. He modified the reproduction fiberglass hood, splitting the frame in five different spots. Then, his dad stood on it to get the curve out.

Another big styling tour de force is the taillight board. Daniel favored the more spectacular later-model Shelbys with their taillights gone sequential. Rather than simply add a '67 or a '68 rear board, Daniel used his flair to create what must be the ultimate fire-engine-red taillight. From an aluminum mold, he built a fiberglass housing equally spaced with nine bulbs. Three bulbs in the center don't blink and are flanked by three bulbs on either side, called dynamite sticks (from Tony Branda), which do blink.

The showy front end and rear end belie the extensive body preparation. Daniel bought a fastback with "bondo everywhere" and a floor reinforced with coffee cans. Even so, he paid four grand for a cosmetically nice car powered by a six-cylinder.

He drove the beast for a year and a half. Then, a Camaro violated its space and the car ended up impaled against the median. The insurance money catapulted Daniel into a major project. At the learning age of 17, he put in new floors, new framerails, and completely restored the undercarriage. Later, he installed new doors, new fenders, new quarter-panels, new wheelhouses, and new rocker panels.

Daniel was designing and building what had not been done before. The trunk lid is Meier Racing, but molded onto the fenders for just the right look. The flip-up rear spoiler adds muscle, but needed much more to fulfill the dream. Daniel sketched a big, wild rear wing and got the marvelous look he wanted by grafting together two Pontiac Fiero spoilers.

Daniel bought a 5.0L H.O. from a 1,700-mile wrecked '92 GT convertible. Except for a set of Edelbrock RPM Performer aluminum heads and 1.7:1 Crane Gold race rockers, the 5.0 was pretty much stock. Recently, he added a Paxton SN-83 with 7 pounds of boost.

While reading a Tony Branda ad, Daniel got an idea. Branda acquired a batch of the rare finned valve covers and plenum covers available on the '92 Shelby Mustangs from SAAC. With the Shelby lettering and a GT-40 intake, the engine is grand and so functional with a plethora of tubes feeding the cylinders. Up top is the plumbing for the intake, and to the side of the engine come the supercharger pipes, set off by an MSD 6AL spark box and Taylor 8mm hot pink wires. Barely visible are MAC long-tube headers. Daniel should have installed mufflers, but completely left them off.

The wheels have a vintage look-American Torque Thrust IIs-in a modern 17x8 size. Daniel overcame the 5/8-inch penalty imposed by Lincoln Versailles front discs by ordering his wheels with a 4.75-inch offset. The Yokohama's measure P235/40-17 up front and P244/40-17 in the back.

The suspension was the most trying part of this build. The six has a different front track, which means removing the whole front end, changing the springs, idler arms, steering box, tie-rod ends, and literally everything. Luckily, two V-8 Mustang parts cars were at Daniel's disposal.