Richard Baldini III
March 13, 2012

It was then time for some gears—a new Tremec T-5Z five speed transmission with a Zoom clutch, Hurst short-throw shifter, and a Fidanza flywheel got us going for those long road trips. The single-traction rearend was not good for even tire wear, so we ordered a Currie 9-inch rearend packed with heavy-duty 31-spline axles, a Truetrac differential, and 3.50 gears. Now we get those pretty tire marks when exiting car shows. We mixed in a few engine tweaks; installing Edelbrock water and fuel pumps, a 100-amp alternator, a K&N filter, and a MagnaFlow exhaust. We also added in a Monte Carlo bar, a full export brace, and some Varishock double adjustable shocks with five-leaf Shelby rear springs.

We were ready for the open road, but man, the roads in New Orleans in August get mighty hot. So it looked like we needed a Vintage Air A/C system and a Northern aluminum radiator. I never thought I could love this car this much, but at 50 degrees, the mind thinks clearly. With the windows up and a cool breeze blowing, the engine noise has been silenced since installing Dynamat throughout the interior. We also installed a custom trunk enclosure for the 12-inch subwoofer and 1,100 watts of Alpine power, and added a CD player and eight speakers in the cockpit. Naturally, the door panels were changed to an MP Custom Products molded panel with aluminum inserts to make room for the 6-inch speakers in the doors. While at MP Custom Products, we also picked up an instrument cluster with a tachometer and updated white faces. We also threw in some Pony floor mats, brushed matte finish aluminum door handles and cranks, and a cruiser console.

The rack-and-pinion steering was upgraded to a Flaming River power setup. We then modified the headers, steering linkage supports, and, bam, steering with one hand and with one less turn.

For the paint and body, we added a Shelby fiberglass front valance, billet aluminum grilles, clear lenses, and LED lights throughout. We removed the antenna and shot a custom basecoat/clearcoat color of blue that can only be seen south of New Orleans in the saltiest of waters of the Gulf of Mexico.

While this story has been cleaned up drastically for purposes of decency, we can say that nothing is as easy as it seems, no one does it as good as you can, and there is no such thing as a "bolt-on." My father and I did nearly all of the work on this Mustang in our garage, having only taken it out only for the exhaust and frontend alignment. As much as having someone else do the work would have been great, the time working with my dad is something I will remember forever. I'm fortunate to have had the opportunity to collaborate with my father on a project so challenging and fulfilling.

Now there are many people to thank for advice. There were many phone calls late at night, I cried more times watching Overhaulin' than I would care to admit, we thumbed through magazines, and made many trips to UPS to send back wrong parts, but the journey continues.

I have read many of articles over the years that touched me in one way or another. The cars are always great, but sometimes the owner's story is what inspires me to take the next step. I hope that one day our story may inspire another father and son to commit to a project together. The ride is always the best part of the journey. Fortunately, these old cars always find a way to keep you coming back to the shop.