Mark Houlahan
Tech Editor, Mustang Monthly
February 23, 2012
Photos By: Doug Sonders

For many of us, retirement is a far off dream that we use to help us make it through the week at the office. However, for the fortunate few, retirement can come much earlier in life, where it can truly be appreciated. We’d all certainly like to retire at an age where we can still work out in the garage and enjoy our classic Mustang hobby right? One such lucky guy is George Lynch of Dallas, Texas. If you follow the NBA at all, his name might sound familiar to you. Fresh out of the University of North Carolina, where he led the Tar Heels to an NCAA title in 1993, Lynch joined the Los Angeles Lakers. For the next 12 years, he played for the Lakers, the 76ers, and the Hornets before retiring in 2005.

As a retirement present to himself, Lynch wanted to build an Eleanor Mustang (this was 2005 after all and the whole E-car thing was in full swing). Lynch reached out to Brian Dean at Ultimate Customs in Dulles, Virginia, for the build. Lynch actually played high school hoops with Brian’s little brother at Flint Hill School outside of Washington, D.C., and got to know the Dean family well. Dean had already built a high-end Suburban and a Mercedes or two for Lynch over the years. Matter of fact, Lynch was Dean’s first customer. Living in Dallas at the time, Lynch got an eyeful of the Eleanors being built by Unique Performance and wanted to build one as a retirement gift to himself. After some discussion, Dean talked Lynch out of the standard E-car build for something that looked more traditional.

"No way would I build him a car that someone could pull up to him at a light with the same thing," Dean tells us. Dean's plan called for a traditional, but smoothed look that had modern power and amenities, and drove and handled like a modern car too. "I was inspired by the recently built Fast Forward Fastback by Troy Trepanier—a very clean, 'hot-rod-style' muscle car. My vision was to build George a modern, classic driver," Dean explained. "Modern equipment, classic style and reliable driveability; it also had to have a wow factor about it everywhere you looked and not be a trailer queen," he added.

Lynch found a fastback on eBay that was represented as restored and a solid car. Unfortunately, when the fastback was delivered to Dean’s shop, it was far from how it was represented. Dean pressed on with the project and disassembled the fastback and had it media blasted. What came back from the media blaster was far less of a Mustang than what the shop started with. While it might have been better to start with a Dynacorn body, you have to remember this was 2005 and there was no such thing. So out came the welders and nearly 30 panels were cut out and replaced on the fastback, some having to be hand formed by Dean’s lead fabricator, Mike Gerber. Gerber was also responsible for the custom scoops and front valance, flush fitting the taillights, and filling the cowl vents.

By the time 2007 had rolled around, the body was in pristine shape with the body powdercoated and ready for final bodywork and paint. The underside was sprayed with Line-X bed liner material, and all suspension and drivetrain parts had been test fitted as well. 2008 was the beginning of the economy’s downturn and Dean’s shop was hit especially hard, causing Dean to close his doors. He didn’t want to fail Lynch and vowed to finish the project on his own.

"I decided to see the project through and keep my commitment to the owner of the car, and not let the project die and give him back a non-completed car," Dean says. Dean called upon his pal Jason Huber at G-Force Design Concepts in Chambersburg, Pennsylvania, to handle the final bodywork, paint, and installation of the Roush 402IR engine and AOD transmission. A paint rendering was made by Nelson Michael of Hagerstown, Maryland, for Lynch to approve.

Dean took delivery of the painted and running fastback in the spring of 2010 for him to handle all of the fit and finish aspects, as well as the interior. Dean’s good friend, Chris Torney, had just opened a custom audio and interior shop, CAS Design in Sterling, Virginia. Dean delivered the car to Torney to build a custom interior that reflected a modern feel, yet still had embodied the Mustang’s classic styling. CAS Design fabricated a one-piece molded fiberglass headliner and covered the interior panels in a mix of Alcantara and leather. A custom console, speaker enclosures, and more were made for the car as well. At 6-feet, 8-inches, Lynch needed more leg room than the typical Mustang owner, so the seats were moved back 2 inches to accommodate Lynch.

Other interior upgrades include Nu-Relic power windows, and a JME gauge cluster with Auto Meter carbon-fiber gauges. Audio starts with a Kenwood double-DIN receiver at the front of the custom console sending Lynch’s favorite tunes through a bevy of JL Audio amps to Focal speakers and JL subs. A Vintage Air Gen IV system keeps Lynch comfortable in the Texas heat. In April 2011, Dean wrapped the project and delivered the car to Lynch.

"This car was definitely the biggest project that I have ever taken on and took six years to complete. George was the most patient and understanding customer I have ever dealt with in my more than 15 years in the custom car business," Dean reflected. No matter how you look at the project, from Lynch to Dean and the other shops that helped Dean pull it all together, those involved certainly pulled off a slam-dunk!

"My vision was to build George a modern, classic driver," Dean explained. "Modern equipment, classic style and reliable driveability; it also had to have a wow factor about it everywhere you looked and not be a trailer queen."

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