Mark Houlahan
Brand Manager, Mustang Monthly
February 25, 2011
Photos By: Bill Erdman

Growing up with a father who's a "gearhead" or simply likes classic cars can have a lasting effect on you-most notable of which are the memories of the cars dear, old Dad brought home all the time. Case in point is Andrew Actman of Demarest, New Jersey. His late father, Richard, was an avid car collector; always looking for the next great car to add to his collection. A true car guy, Andrew's dad had a little bit of everything, including a Delorean, a '57 Chevy Bel Air, and a '57 Thunderbird in the garage, but he wanted something special. He wanted a Shelby Mustang G.T. 350 clone; something that looked classic Mustang, but had the oats to back it up and handle more on par with its modern counterpart. Andrew's dad searched out for a Mustang shop to build him just such a clone, but the final product wasn't exactly what Andrew's father wanted. The DSS 331 small-block stroker engine ran great, and the car looked like a Shelby clone, but the bodywork wasn't that great and some of the parts choices were questionable. But Andrew's father added the '66 fastback to his collection and moved on.

In June 2006, Andrew's father was diagnosed with cancer. Unfortunately, it was only August of that year when he passed. Andrew was in charge of his father's estate and was handling the sale of property, cars, and those other little details no one wants to think about, but someone has to handle. As Andrew reluctantly sold off his father's cars, he saw something in the Mustang. Sure it was a little rough and needed a good shop to really make it shine, but like we said in the opening sentence, Andrew had those memories of his father and the fastback, which kept coming back. Andrew knew right then and there he wanted to keep the fastback, his father's last project, and build it right, in honor of his father.

At first, Andrew just wanted to fix the body/paint issues and maybe put a few Eleanor touches on it. As he started his research in earnest, it seemed as soon as he would mention the "E-word" to a shop, the price came back north of six figures. Just as Andrew was beginning to have second thoughts about the Mustang, he found Chimera Customs in Palm Harbor, Florida (www.chimeracustoms.com), through its ad in the DuPont Registry. After a phone call to PJ Davis, Chimera Customs' owner, Andrew knew he found the right place to make the Mustang right and he had it shipped down for the crew at Chimera Customs to get started on the repaint and fixing a few little issues.

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As Andrew tells us, "One thing led to another; just paint turned into interior, sound system, new wheels, and tires and 18 months later, you have my Mustang seen here." So strong was the emotional attachment Andrew had with his late father's fastback that he had PJ find an artist to recreate his father's signature on the glovebox, like when Carroll Shelby signs a glovebox in a Shelby Mustang. As the project wrapped up Andrew had a plaque made for the car in honor of his father. It states, In Memory of Richard "Big Rick" Actman, The Last Car, and that's exactly what Andrew calls his fastback now-Big Rick.

The Details
Andrew Actman's '66 Mustang Fastback "Big Rick"

Engine

  • DSS 331ci Pro Bullet
  • Level 10 CNC 5.0L Block
  • 4.030-inch bore
  • 3.250-inch stroke
  • DSS billet main support system
  • Ford Racing aluminum heads
  • Polished aluminum dual-plane intake
  • Holley four-barrel carburetor
  • Concept One serpentine pulley conversion
  • Ford Racing air cleaner and valve covers
  • Mallory Unilite distributor
  • MSD 8.5mm spark plug wires
  • Coolflex cooling hoses
  • Northern aluminum radiator

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Transmission

  • C4 three-speed automatic
  • Custom stall speed torque converter

Rearend

  • Ford 8-inch housing
  • Traction-Lok differential
  • 28-spline axles
  • 3.70 gears