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.

Where Mark's 460 differs from the average stump puller is its Jon Kaase Racing-developed P51 Super Cobra Jet heads from Ford Racing Performance Parts. Please understand these heads are the result of six years of research and development work. The result has been in excess of 350 cfm airflow through generous intake ports. Heart-shaped chambers take advantage of the latest technology, with 72cc of volume and 2.250/1.760-inch valves. When you combine these heads with the right cam profile, induction, and scavenging, you have an unbeatable powerhouse of an engine. Ford Racing's Victor single-plane manifold, coupled with an 870-cfm AED carburetor, infuses solid logic into an already-terrific, street-muscle package.

One header brand we don't hear about enough is Ford Powertrain Applications (FPA). Mark's 460 enjoys the benefit of FPA headers that are ceramic-coated and engineered to work handsomely with the 385-series Ford fat-block. Because these headers are designed for the perfect fit of engine swaps like this, there's no hassle. They're easy to install and unaffected by speed bumps. MAC 2 1/2-inch mufflers afford Mark excellent scavenging while keeping plenty of low and mid-range torque.

Whenever you're building a big-block Mustang, it's challenging to choose just the right driveline. What do you want from your big-block powerhouse, and how are you going to get it? A big-shaft Top Loader will channel a 460's torque cleanly and reliably, and it feels good via a Hurst Competition Plus shifter. However, when you want to cruise the drag without wear and tear on your left leg and right wrist, the fluid smoothness of Ford's C6 transmission makes more sense, especially as you get older. This isn't about creature comforts, but more about how to cruise without having to shift. And when you want to shift, you can do it manually with a 1-2 upshift, barking Second, and getting attention. That's what people like to hear as you motor away from the Sonic drive-in.

Although Mark didn't have a say in axle selection, this Mustang's mission specialist fitted the car with exactly what's needed for Saturday night fun-a 3.70 Detroit Locker with 31-spline axles. When you flank these three-seven cogs with P275/40ZR18 Kumho skins wrapped around Eagle alloy 18-inch wheels, hookup is easy. Competition Engineering traction bars and Aldan coilovers prevent wheelhop.

In front, that same mission specialist dialed in a Total Control suspension system from Chris Alston's Chassisworks, also an Aldan adjustable coilover design that thrusts a classic rapid-transit machine into the 21st century. Behind the Eagle alloy wheels are Force 10 binders from Stainless Steel Brakes. Force 10s give you the option of both caliper color and rotor size, depending on need.

When it's time to take the wheel, Mark is surrounded by a wealth of imagination-a mix of factory box stock and raw fabrication skill. Those are Auto Meter Sport Comp instruments, as informational as a Boeing 747 flight deck. They're large, easy to read, and good-looking. Scat Pro Car bucket seats, with the rear seat upholstered to match, keep passengers cradled when the going gets rough.

It's easy to like and respect Mark and Anita Baxter's '67 Mustang street machine. It's a nice trip back to the displacement-crazed '60s and '70s, with an eye on modern technology that will keep this ride on a fast track for years to come.

The Details
'67 Mustang Fastback
Owner: Mark and Anita Baxter, Bend, OR

Engine
Ford 460ci 385-Series big-block V-8
Ford Racing Performance Parts E460 block
High nodular-iron crank
Forged flat-top pistons
Forged steel I-beam connecting rods
Front-sump oil pan
4.360-inch bore (with 0.030-inch overbore)
3.850-inch stroke
10.5:1 compression
FRPP Super Cobra Jet heads
FRPP cast-aluminum valve covers
FRPP/Edelbrock Victor single-plane intake manifold
AED 870-cfm carburetor
K&N air filter
Remote dual oil filters
MSD ignition
Saldena Racing cross-flow radiator
Spal 16-inch dual-electric fans

Transmission
California Performance C6
3,500-stall converter

Rearend
9-inch
3.70 gears
Detroit Locker differential
31-spline axles

Exhaust
Custom dual-exhaust system
2 1/2-inch-diameter tubing
FPA 460 swap headers

Suspension
Front: Total Control Products, Aldan coilovers, manual rack-and-pinion steering
Rear: Conventional leaf spring, Competition Engineering traction bars, Aldan coilover shocks

Brakes
Front: Stainless Steel Brakes Force 10 disc
Rear: Stainless Steel Brakes Force 10 disc

Wheels
Front: American Eagle Series 212, 17x8-inch
Rear: American Eagle Series 212, 18x10-inch

Tires
Front: Kumho Ecsta ASX, P225/45R17
Rear: Kumho Ecsta ASX, P275/40R18

Interior
Interior Décor Group in stainless and brushed aluminum, Scat Pro Car sport bucket seats, matching rear seat, Auto Meter Sport Comp instruments in custom instrument panel, B&M shifter, Alpine sound system

Exterior
Dark Toreador Red basecoat/clearcoat, ghost flames, Shelby fiberglass scoops, teardrop-style fiberglass hood, hood pins

Want Big-Block Performance?
Try Ford Racing's Super Cobra Jet M-6007-F460FT front-sump 460ci big-block.

• 10.5:1 compression (you're going to need octane)
• Forged steel connecting rods (M-6200-A75)
• Hydraulic flat-tappet camshaft (M-6250-C460)
• MSD billet distributor
• Jon Kaase-design Super Cobra Jet heads (M-6049-SCJA)
• Ford Racing Victor Jr. single-plane intake (N-9424-G429)
• Ford Racing two-bolt main block (M-6009-E460)
• Ford Racing high-flow water pump
• Custom-built long-block assembly ready to run
• Awesome street performance for under $7,000
• Weighs 665 pounds
• 38.75 inches high by 36.50 inches wide by 36 inches deep