Wayne Cook
September 2, 2010
Photos By: Tracy Stocker

Brian Gibbs of Odenville, Alabama, had been looking for a classic Mustang to restore for a long time, with a particular interest in the fastback model. However, months and months of searching failed to turn up a car that a busy family man could afford. This '69 SportsRoof was spotted by one of his friends while driving down an Alabama back road after Gibbs had essentially given up on his search for a suitable car. This particular example was an original six-cylinder version of the very desirable body style and in seriously rough condition. There was an issue with the fuel tank, so the previous owner had rigged up the car to run from a gas can situated under the hood. This gives you an idea of just how bad the car was. Rusty panels seemed to be everywhere on the car and there was plenty of bodywork required on the useable panels. Even in light of these considerable challenges Brian decided to go forward with the project and a purchase price was worked out for $1,200. He was enthused by his good fortune in finding a complete classic Mustang for that price. Even though the car needed major repairs in almost every category, he was undaunted by the size of the job before him. You see, Brian is a metal fabricator by trade and he felt confident in his ability to tackle the comprehensive repair project. He also felt that, given his low investment going in, he had little to lose and a whole lot to gain.

Once he got the project home he began methodically replacing one panel at a time. Rusty fenders, wheelhouses, and floorpans were all renewed using his extensive experience in both steel fabrication and welding. Because funds were limited, Brian, his wife, and family stripped the body down to bare metal themselves at home in preparation for a first-class paintjob. When the panel replacement and stripping were complete they chose SVP Unlimited of Odenville, to handle the finish bodywork and accomplish the paint application.

During the course of all this reconstruction there was plenty of time to think about the powertrain. A stock restoration of the 250ci six-cylinder engine and three-speed manual transmission wasn't what Brian had in mind. More power and better gearing were at the top of his priority list and he decided to go with the new-for-1969 351 Windsor engine to repower the car. To complement the more powerful engine a Tremec TKO-500 transmission, featuring closely spaced gear ratios, as well as overdrive, was employed. To finalize his powertrain upgrades a late-model Ford 8.8-inch axle with a Traction-Lok differential was included in the plans.

With the paint and bodywork completed Brian set about the task of reassembling the car and installing the engine, resulting in the car you see here. Brian says that, with both work and family to attend to, it took a while to bring his plans to fruition and indeed this project has taken more than five years. Most of the huge volume of work was accomplished on weekends or during other spare time, and as he aptly put it, "The time and money required was never easy to come by with a teenage daughter in the house." Say no more, Brian, because we agree. With the hectic pace of life these days there never seems to be enough time to work on all of the great classic Ford projects that we love.

The Details


Brian Gibbs' '69 Mustang SportsRoof
Engine
  • 351 Windsor (358ci displacement)
  • 4.040-inch bore
  • 3.50-inch stroke
  • Stock crankshaft
  • TRW forged cast-aluminum pistons
  • 9.5:1 compression ratio
  • ARP rod bolts
  • ARP head bolts
  • Edelbrock Performer RPM aluminum cylinder heads
  • 2.02-inch intake, 1.60-inch exhaust valves
  • Edelbrock Performer RPM aluminum intake manifold
  • Edelbrock Performer RPM camshaft, 0.496/0.520 lift, 224/234 duration at 0.050-inch, 110-degree lobe separation
  • Barry Grant 725-cfm Road Demon four-barrel carburetor
  • Pertronix Ignition
  • Holley fuel pump
  • Ford Racing valve covers and air cleaner assembly
  • Short-block constructed by Engine Rebuilders of Trussville, Alabama
  • Engine owner-assembled and installed

Transmission

  • Tremec TKO-500 five-speed manual
  • Ford Racing 11-inch clutch

Rearend

  • Ford 8.8-inch axle housing
  • Traction-Lok differential
  • 3.55 gears
  • Stock 28-spline axles

Exhaust

  • Hedman long-tube ceramic-coated headers
  • 2 1/2-inch aluminized dual exhaust
  • DynoMax Turbo mufflers

Suspension

  • Front: Stock Mustang, KYB gas shocks, 1-inch diameter front antisway bar
  • Rear: Five leaf springs, KYB gas shocks

Brakes

  • Front: '68 Galaxie disc, 11-inch rotor, single-piston caliper
  • Rear: Stock '94-'04 Mustang disc, 10.5-inch rotor, single piston caliper

Wheels

  • Front: '01 Mustang Bullitt replica, black center, 17x8
  • Rear: '01 Mustang Bullitt replica, black center, 18x10

Tires

  • Front: BFGoodrich G-Force T/A KDW, P245/40R17
  • Rear: BFGoodrich G-Force T/A KDW, P285/40R18

Interior

  • Owner-restored black vinyl interior, Grant steering wheel, SCAT Racing bucket seats, vintage Sun 5-inch tachometer, upholstery and headliner by Dale's Trim in Leeds, Alabama

Exterior

  • Ford Silver Frost Metallic paint ('95 Mustang color); paint and bodywork completed at SVP Unlimited of Odenville, Alabama; Cobra Jet/Mach 1 hoodscoop; molded in GT rear-valance panel; billet fuel door; shaved antenna and emblems

Photo Gallery

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