Jim Smart
March 1, 2008

Do you remember when Mustang convertibles were more valuable than fastbacks? These days, the slippery legendary fastback roofline-created by Ford stylist Gale Halderman and made famous by Hollywood-gets more attention than Britney Spears and Paris Hilton combined.

This Dark Torreador Red '67 fastback had Mark Baxter's attention when it came up for sale in Texas on eBay. And because fastbacks are hot and getting hotter, there was a bidding frenzy for this one, with Mark being the successful bidder. He flew to Texas, stunned at the bigness of both the Lone Star State and this Mustang's ginormous persona. It was big, with a Ford Racing 460ci fat-block crate engine rated at 550 hp and 546 lb-ft of torque without breaking a sweat. Mark found something we don't see often enough-a ready-made Mustang fastback rocket ship that needed only his personal nuances. Cash on the table, title and keys in hand, Mark wrapped up the deal and headed home to Oregon.

What makes Mark's story unusual is he didn't build this car himself. He purchased a Mustang to drive and enjoy. "I was stunned at the quality of workmanship with this car," he says. "It was built by a gentleman in California and sold to a guy in Dallas, who sold it to me." Mark feels positive about his own personal touches-new wheels and tires, with future plans that include additional Shelby fiberglass and a repaint.

Mark has been building a '66 Mustang fastback for some time now. At the time of our shoot, it was freshly painted and headed toward completion. An overwhelming urge to drive a finished Mustang led him to eBay in search of something he could drive right away. This isn't a Mustang you drive with fuel economy in mind. It's a streetable rumpity-rump-rump slingshot of a Mustang that roars with an attitude and rocks the planet with the kind of torque only displacement and stroke can yield. For the gentleman who built the car to begin with, this was easy to accomplish. Ford Racing Performance Parts set him up with a 460ci big-block crate engine known as the 460 "Super Cobra Jet" for less than seven grand. Mind you, that's a complete engine assembly sporting everything you need to achieve turnkey performance.

Ford's 429/460ci 385-Series big-block bears a striking similarity to the 289/302ci small-block architecturally. It is virtually an upsized small-block Ford. Where it differs is in its poly-angle valve heads, which resemble those of the big-block Chevrolet and corporate cousin 351ci Cleveland/Midland. Canted valves were a design approach developed for NASCAR racing first by Chevrolet. There, it was the "mystery motor" Bow-Tie boys campaigned in the mid-'60s that became the production big-block Chevy from 1965 on. At Ford, this concept manifested itself as the Lincoln 429/460ci big-block, first appearing in 1968 to replace the outdated MEL large-block.

At the time, there was a wealth of unrealized potential in what became a sleepy luxury-car engine. Ford channeled this engine into big cars and heavy-duty trucks. It made mountains of torque and didn't have to work hard doing it. What's more, it was a rugged, fiercely reliable V-8 engine. It wasn't until later that enthusiasts realized this engine's great potential, and that's what the 460 Super Cobra Jet crate is all about.