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1966 Ford Mustang Fastback R-Model Clone - Best Laid Plans
This R-model clone took a right turn when it met Gateway Classic Mustangs
We’ve all had them: best laid plans. Whether it’s trying to get the yard done before going to the movies or swapping out that transmission before the next track event, things don’t always go as planned. But in some cases that’s a good thing. One of those cases that turned into a good thing is the ’66 Mustang fastback you see here owned by Steve Kreiger of St. Louis, Missouri.
Steve is a one of those car guys who likes a little bit of everything. While his main love is early Porsches, he’s also into Ford street rods and muscle cars. Steve toured the Shelby plant at LAX back in the ’60s when he was an aerospace engineer for Douglas (before it was McDonnell-Douglas). He always liked the look of the Shelby fastback and even owned a Mustang for a while, but he primarily bought that one because it had air conditioning and none of his Porsches did.
Steve will often catch a bug on a certain car and pursue it. In this case, he was looking for a ’65-’67 fastback, though he tells us he actually looked for a builder before the car. But we’re getting ahead of ourselves in our story. Steve was at a local Ford dealer’s car show with his longtime car pal, Wayne Coleman, and said, Nice car to his friend while pointing at a Mustang. They walked over and took a closer look.
"The car looked brand-new, like somebody really knew what they were doing when they built it," Steve tells us. He grabbed a business card off the wiper arm, thinking it was for sale, but it turned out to be a customer’s car for Gateway Classic Mustang and the card belonged to GCM’s Lonny Childress. Steve had already looked at more than a dozen shops (most of which told him the waiting list was two-years-long, and then still wouldn’t call when the work slot opened up), so he figured he’d stop by the GCM shop, and he liked what he saw. Now to find a car.
Steve did the same thing most of us do in the 21st century; he hopped on eBay in search of a Mustang. He found a ’66 fastback in Indiana and won the auction. When Steve went to pick up the car, he felt it wasn’t represented properly and would be in for more work than he had anticipated. Steve tore it down himself, but then dropped it off to GCM.
At 67 years old, Steve’s not the most spritely person these days, and years of AMA motorcycle racing and crashes have taken their toll on his hands as well, so having a competent shop to handle the things he could no longer do was extremely important to him. He also hadn’t built a car of his own in a long time and was out of touch concerning today’s technology and product contacts. Steve originally planned to build an R-model Shelby clone, with gutted interior, vented rear window, and all. However, after discussing the project with Lonny, it blossomed into a restomod.
"I plan to drive it and I want to turn the key and go anywhere I want in the United States," Steve explained.
When GCM started on the car, the floor was pretty eaten up, Steve says, needing a half dozen patches. That helped GCM decide to do a one-piece floor, the first one it did. Approximately 60 percent of all of the sheetmetal was replaced, and Steve was very pleased with GCM’s work on the body and paint. It was about this time that GCM was coming out with its own line of suspension systems under the Gateway Performance Suspension brand. Lonny felt Steve’s car would be a great candidate for the new coilover strut setup. With Steve’s approval, the fastback got the full complement of handling upgrades and actually became sort of a development car for GCM, seeing plenty of track testing during development. Of course, handling is nothing if you can’t get the car slowed for the next corner, so GCM made sure the fastback was ready to stop with a four-wheel-disc setup from Baer and then shod a sweet set of Billet Specialties wheels with sticky BFG g-Force T/A rubber.
"The car handles the same at 90 mph as it does at 60. It handles very well, and you don’t feel any crosswind; it just sticks to the road. I got the look I wanted--the early Shelby looks--with the performance and handling of today," Steve commented.
Steve’s Porsche mechanic offered to build the stroker engine for the Mustang, but the machinist didn’t follow the builder’s specs, and as such, the engine had issues right from the start. GCM fought the issue for a while, and with Steve’s blessing, opted to pull the engine and start over. It kept the Dart block and Scat reciprocating assembly and started anew with Roush parts. Since GCM usually builds its cars with Roush crate engines, it built Steve’s replacement 347 with crate-spec parts--parts GCM knew would work and make good power. The 347 was topped off with Roush CNC-ported AFR cylinder heads, a Roush-spec roller cam, and a full ACCEL DFI Gen 7 fuel injection system with Roush calibration.
"It was an expensive mistake and I don’t blame my Porsche mechanic. I’d take any of my Porsches to him in a heartbeat, and hold no ill will," Steve tells us.
While GCM was wrapping up Steve’s Mustang and getting it ready for its debut (the Mustang has been to SEMA and all of the major anniversary Mustang shows, MCA nationals, and others), he found out his car pal Wayne had been diagnosed with cancer. Even though his own Mustang was finished and ready for him to enjoy, Steve banded together with several friends to see to it that Wayne’s ’37 Ford five-window coupe would be finished in time for the annual Street Rod Nationals in Kentucky.
Through the two-month thrash, Wayne did his treatments, while his friends put his car back together and saw to it that Wayne could drive his own car through the front gates at the Kentucky Expo Center. Sadly, Wayne passed shortly before he could see his friend’s Mustang on these pages. "Wayne knew everyone in town and helped me locate parts and sources for my Mustang build," Steve explained.
Steve hasn’t had too much time to drive it since he’s not retired yet (there are some more of those best laid plans). But he stops in to the GCM shop and visits from time to time to see what the guys are building next.
"I really like their Bullitt Mustang they’re building now. If I ever sell my ’66, I think I want them to build me one of those." There are more of Steve’s best laid plans in action. Only time will tell if they work out again for this car enthusiast.
The DetailsSteve Kreiger’s ’66 Mustang fastback R-Model Clone
- 347ci stroker
- 4.030-inch bore
- 3.400-inch stroke
- Dart iron block
- Scat billet steel crankshaft
- Scat 4340 steel forged H-beam connect- ing rods
- Wiseco forged pistons
- Wiseco plasma-moly rings
- Roush/AFR aluminum cylinder heads, CNC ported
- 2.02-inch intake, 1.60-inch exhaust valves
- Roush profile hydraulic roller camshaft
- Scorpion 1.6:1 roller rockers
- 716-inch studs with Comp Cams guideplates
- ACCEL aluminum intake
- ACCEL DFI Gen 7 EFI system
- ACCEL 750-cfm throttle body
- Billet Specialties oval air cleaner
- Ford Racing aluminum valve covers
- ACCEL DFI dual sync distributor and E-coil
- ACCEL 300+ plug wires
- Be Cool aluminum radiator
- Billet Specialties serpentine system
- Engine built by McLain’s Automotive, Cuba, Missouri
- Tremec TKO-500 five-speed manual
- Keisler conversion kit
- Hydraulic release bearing
- Hurst shifter with Keisler knob
- Ford 9-inch housing, narrowed 1 inch per side
- Traction-Lok differential
- 3.50 gears
- 28-spline axles
- JBA mid-length headers, 158-inch primaries, 2-inch collectors
- MagnaFlow mufflers
- MagnaFlow 2-inch axle-back system
- Front: Gateway Performance Suspension Street Performer strut kit, Koni single adjustable coilover struts, Gateway Performance Suspension power rack-and-pinion steering
- Rear: Gateway Performance Suspension 3-Link with Watts Link, Afco coilover shocks
- Front: Baer Racing disc, 13-inch slotted rotors, two-piston calipers
- Rear: Baer Racing disc, 10.5-inch slotted rotors, single-piston calipers
- Front: Billet Specialties Dagger, 17x8, 4-inch offset
- Rear: Billet Specialties Dagger, 17x8, 4-inch offset
- Front: BFGoodrich g-Force T/A KDW, P245/40R17
- Rear: BFGoodrich g-Force T/A KDW, P255/40R17
- Black interior with Scat Procar bucket seats, Billet Specialties Indy steering wheel, JME instrument cluster with Auto Meter gauges, Custom Autosound stereo, Teamtech five-point restraints, rear seat delete, R-model rollbar, dashpad delete, Vintage Air A/C system
- Wimbledon White basecoat/clearcoat finish with Guardsman Blue stripes using DuPont Chroma paint system; paint by Gateway Classic Mustang, Bourbon, Missouri; Shelby-style fiberglass hood; R-model front valance; Shelby-style quarter-windows; Shelby-style lower quarter scoops; custom GT 347 rocker stripes