Geoff Stunkard
December 28, 2009

One of the most satisfying things about the musclecar and performance hobbies is that each individual can create, based on preference and opinion, the "ultimate machine." Perhaps that goal is a bone-stock restoration, while others may envision a flat-out street machine complete with blower, nitrous, and drag slicks. Regardless, it allows the owner to personalize the car to suit his or her needs. In the case seen here, it is a "her," and Susan Lehman has done an admirable job of changing this '67 GTA into a head-turning street modified.

Susan and her husband Lance live in northeastern Pennsylvania, and found the car in 1983 through an advertisement in a local auto newspaper. Subsequently, the fastback became part of the family as a rust-free survivor to complement Lance's own '67 coupe, a four-speed car he's owned since 1970. Over the course of the next several years, the automatic was changed in subtle but convincing fashion into a hybrid '60s-era "super 'Stang."

The basic idea in building this car as the ground-up restoration got underway was to add some of the features not found in '67, while retaining a solid all-FoMoCo look. Since the family's coupe was fairly Spartan in terms of equipment, they also decided to keep some of the creature comforts like the air conditioning in place; the car uses an A/C setup from an optioned '67 Cougar, except for the stock (polished) compressor.

Lance himself is responsible for the bodywork. The biggest departure from stock in this regard was the addition of a circa-'69 351 Windsor Shaker scoop/ram-air package, as well as the accompanying hood pins and an A&A Fiberglass front spoiler. Once satisfied with the outward appearance, the prepped panels were covered with a DuPont Chromabase/clearcoat combination of black, flame red, gold, and silver metallic hues, ably applied by Stan Swanson at Klapec Auto Body. Chrome air exchangers and side vents round out the "Grand Touring" look.

Suspension-wise, the car benefited from Koni shocks in front, coupled to a four-piston front disc-brake setup and a 15/16-inch Shelby front sway bar. The control arms were also lowered an inch, as per ol' Shel's specs. Meanwhile, heavy-duty Monroe shocks are in the rear, used in conjunction with a 3/4-inch Addco rear sway bar and Lakewood traction bars for better bite at every angle. Wheels are the factory-type Magnum 500s, shod in Goodyear Eagle ST rubber on all four corners.

For motivation, a suitable '70 351 Cleveland mill was found and became the basis for a mild reworking. The stock short-block now incorporates a Crane Max Velocity cam outfit, while the heads were port-matched, treated to a three-angle valve job, and filled with stainless steel valves. An Edelbrock intake supporting a 600-cfm Holley, plus a PerTronix ignition conversion kit and Walker/DynoMax exhaust system using the factory manifolds, rounds out the "go" end. For the "show," the engine bay incorporates many chrome and stainless pieces, as well as polished details to give onlookers pause when the bonnet is up.

In keeping with the GTA heritage, the car uses a C6 transmission coupled to a standard 351C 11-inch converter. Out in back is a Ford 9-inch nodular housing equipped with a Traction-Lok and 3.25 gearing. Inside, the interior was updated with seats from a '73 Mach 1, which have been redone using a cloth/vinyl covering incorporating the Ford Racing logo. In the dash is a 6,000-rpm factory GTA tach, and the car also has the nine-position Tilt-Away steering column. Upper and lower consoles and the fold-down backseat option add to the car's appeal, and rounding it out is a Pioneer sound system, complete with a hand-drilled rear panel to retain the factory-installation look.

For Susan, the car has been the perfect combination. While Lance certainly did most of the work, Susan gets the credit for its upkeep, doing all the little things that make show cars, well, what they are-show cars! The GTA is now driven about 1,000 miles a year, and rotates cruising chores with the '67 four-speed coupe. Guess who gets to drive when the fastback is out of the garage.