Modified Mustangs & Fords
1966 Ford Shelby Mustang GT350 - Dream Machine
Two Hundred Fifty Bucks And A Rebuilt 289 Are A Match Most Can Only Dream Of
Imagine being in the right place at the right time, but not knowing it. Imagine being a young man in need of a Mustang and finding the ultimate man's car for a paltry $250. That is just what happened to Faren LeJeune of Orlando, Florida, back in 1974. "In the fall of 1973, Rusty Burkett and me were looking for a project car," related Faren, " to build into a dragster. We found a GT350 near downtown Tampa, not running and in rough shape. We never did build a dragster, but I continued to check on the car every few weeks. [In] June of 1974, I totaled my '67 fastback and needed a home for the rebuilt engine. Very soon after the wreck an issue of the Pennysaver was published, and in it was a '66 GT350 Shelby. It was the same address! I quickly called and told them I'd be right over with the money."
Of course the project wasn't all sweetness and light, but Faren had a dream. According to Faren, the car was in pretty rough shape with some ripples in the rear quarters, as well as rust popping through the Ivy Green paint (and this was in '74!). Faren related to us that there was no shiny paint anywhere on the car. One thing it did have-almost all the "goodies" were present and accounted for. For instance, all five of the painted Magnums were on the car; the Shelby steering wheel, tach, and seatbelts were all where they should be; even the Shelby owner's manual was still in the glove box. Outside, no one had removed the side scoops or pilfered the hood. Underneath, the traction bars were still there in all their under-ride glory, as were the Koni shocks and factory disc brakes. Out back, the car even had the coveted 9-inch housing posting its original 3.89 open diff. however, there was one big hole in the engine bay and trans tunnel. The 289 HiPo and toploader four-speed were persona non grata. No problem for Faren, who quickly slipped his 289 and four-speed into place.
The car bumped around Orlando with Faren for the next 20 years until he decided to "freshen it up." Obviously, Faren's version of freshening is more than many do in a restoration. Dave Miller of Miller's custom classics in Orlando was tapped for the freshening, which included an R apron, having the front end set up to '65 specs, a Hurst shifter for the toploader, and a dual-reservoir master cylinder. New paint and LeMans stripes were applied to the outside, while the engine and engine bay received a fresh coat of color. Inside, new carpet, seat covers, and interior paint were slipped into place.
Faren rarely drives his dream machine now. it mostly sees the weekend jaunts and the occasional show. But whenever he wants to rekindle the dream, all he has to do is grab the keys, mount up, and haul-well, you know.