Jim Smart
May 1, 2008

Deep in the heart of Texas lives a passion for spirited, wide-open spaces, and a place to play with reckless abandon. That's what we like most about the Texas prairie-its openness and obvious freedom-the very calling that brought settlers to this region a couple hundred years ago.

Cruising through the Texas countryside is Robert Bulger, a physician who spends his time healing the sick, caring for the healthy, and nurturing his own positive mental attitude. That positive attitude comes from within. Having a '67 Mustang fastback on call doesn't hurt any. "I wanted a modern, state-of-the-art automobile that would perform, handle well, and stop like a race car," Robert says, "but I wanted a Mustang that looked stock on the outside."

At one point, he had plans for an Eleanor project, but because so many people were building them, he and car builder Steve Sanderson decided to ditch that idea and do something more conservative. They shaved the body's exterior, eliminating all Mustang ornamentation from the deck, hood, and fenders. You can't argue with the logic here. This Jet Black fastback is clearly a Mustang with a stealthy attitude, but it's not overbearing.

Robert grew up in Rochester, Minnesota, with a friend whose father was a Ford dealer. In those days, Robert watched the parade of new Mustangs we call classics today. It left a lasting impression that would accompany him for a lifetime. It was hard not to want to hang out around the dealer showroom and service department, taking in the sound of new Cobra Jets and Mustang GTs. One day, his buddy roared up in a new '70 Boss 302-the first he'd ever seen. Meanwhile, his brother's buddy had a '67 fastback, which Robert was even more taken with than the Boss 302. "It was the sexiest car I had ever seen," he says. Then, it was off to college, medical school, and other more pressing priorities for a young man with visions, hopes, and dreams. It would be a lifetime before he'd realize the dream before you here.

It wasn't until Robert met Steve Sanderson that an old memory roared to life in an instant. Steve showed him a hot Eleanor car he had built for a customer, which gave Robert a rush and the desire to build something like that himself. In fact, Robert believed he could build the car himself for less money. That assumption wound up costing him more.

Robert found this fastback in Arkansas-originally Wimbledon White in color, red interior, reshot in black. Because the car wasn't exactly what he wanted, he knew a full-scale car-building project lay ahead to build the car of his dreams. The car cost him $14,000 at the height of the Eleanor craze when he could have probably purchased a roller for six grand. He adds it just didn't matter because he wanted one so badly.

"So now I had a car, but for what?" he asked. There were all kinds of questions. Who would build the car? How to build the car? Having a budget of $60,000 to play with, Robert entrusted his fastback to a restoration shop in San Antonio. "Seemed like a nice [place]," Robert says. That is, until the restoration was well underway and the shop had no concept of budget. "I have since learned that the most reputable shops have some idea of what a restoration will cost," he says. "I learned this one the hard way."

It took the legal clout of a good attorney to rescue Robert's fastback from the unscrupulous shop. It was a costly experience-and a valuable lesson learned. That's when Robert put his fastback in Steve's care. Robert admits to feeling nervous when he turned his fastback over to yet another restoration shop, this time closer to home. He and Steve struck up a deal where Robert provided parts and Steve provided labor at an agreed-upon price. There were no surprises. Robert was very pleased with the outcome.

Inside, Robert's restomod fastback yields a nostalgic quality while offering all the features of modern transportation. Robert went all-Alpine with enough power to light his Plano, Texas, community. Big Alpine Type-R 10-inch subwoofers rock the joint along with Alpine 6x9 midrange speakers-quite the electrical load with a pair of Alpine amplifiers and an XM tuner. From the outside, would you even know it was all there? We didn't think so.

Cobra Daytona seating provides extraordinary comfort and security. The rest of the interior is black molded vinyl and brushed aluminum-striking features for 1967. That's a JME instrument cluster sporting Auto Meter Phantom instrumentation. A Moto-Lita classic British steering wheel looks and feels good. Steve Brinlee of JBS Interiors gets credit for the craftsmanship.