Modified Mustangs & Fords
1968 Ford Mustang Coupe - The Last Fling
Building one last custom car, a 1968 Ford Mustang Coupe
Originally equipped with a 289 2V, a factory three-speed transmission, and a single exhaust, this poor Pony had its share of rust and the interior was completely ragged out. The National Parts Depot catalog provided everything necessary for a new interior, while TMI Products got the call for the aftermarket door panels. The engine, which had been rebuilt previously at an unknown date, was still strong with good vacuum and no leaks, so a makeover was done with a dress-up kit that sports an Edelbrock intake and a Holley 600-cfm four-barrel. A dual exhaust conversion with Flowmasters and a set of Pypes round oval exhaust tips provided better breathing for the engine along with an oh-so-pleasant sound. The rims are 17x8 MB Old School hoops, which are patterned after the American Racing vintage Torque Thrust-type wheels. American Racing spinners with the Ford emblem provide the finishing touch, while Riken Raptor P245/45ZR17 tires provide plenty of sure footing.
Of course, the thing that sets this car apart is the nose job that this 'Stang received. Norman incorporated some standard aftermarket parts such as a Shelby-style hood, which he reworked, but for the average car enthusiast, it's a look that makes people take second and even third looks—especially if they're not really familiar with early model Mustangs.
"I saw that Ford was trying to make new Mustangs look like old cars," Norman said. "I had really fallen in love with the '08 Shelby GT500 grille, so I thought I'd adopt that theme with a different twist. It took a lot of time figuring out how I would do it. I bought a '67 Shelby fiberglass nose, did some cutting, added some sections, and used some fiberglass to mold it the way I wanted it. I know I had that nosepiece on and off the car more than a half a dozen times. Once I had it where I wanted it, I bought some new '68 model bumpers and then painted them to match."
Out back, Norman used a Shelby-style rear decklid with a ribbed aluminum rear taillight valance and a pair of flush-fit '94 Saturn rear marker lights. A basecoat/clearcoat combination of Martin-Senour Viper Red was used, along with accent colors in Lexus Champagne helps set the car apart even further.
"I didn't do it as a Shelby, as a clone, or even as a tribute," Norman said afterwards. "I purposely didn't ask anyone to help me, because I wanted to do it myself. The only help I had was getting the windshield back in it. That was the extent of it. I really thank my family for going along with me, and allowing me some peace of mind so I could be busy and be happy doing it. It was fun doing it—and I did it my way!"
Out back, Norman used a Shelby-style rear decklid with a ribbed aluminum rear taillight valance and a pair of flush-fit '94 Saturn rear marker lights
Norman Rodgers' '68 Ford Mustang Coupe
- Ford 289 V-8
- Stock heads
- Stock cam
- Edelbrock Performer intake manifold
- Holley 600-cfm four-barrel carburetor
- Accel ignition
- Cobra engine dress-up kit
- Stock three-speed manual with custom shifter
- Stock 8-inch with 3.25 gears
- Dual 2-1/4-inch pipes
- Flowmaster mufflers, Pypes oval tips
- Front: Grab-A-Trak coil springs
- Rear: Stock leaf springs with air shocks
- Front: Stock drum
- Rear: Stock drum
- Front: MB Old School, 17x8, Accent Color and American Racing spinners
- Rear: MB Old School, 17x8, Accent Color and American Racing spinners
- Front: Riken Raptor, P245/45ZR17
- Rear: Riken Raptor, P245/45ZR17
- TMI upholstery kit with custom trim, parchment red and red cruiser console, metal door and quarter-panels covered with matching vinyl, Custom Auto Sound AM/FM with satellite radio and four speakers, Grant steering wheel, and owner-built custom trunk enclosure
- Modified Shelby hood with custom '67 front fascia, '08 Shelby GT500 grille, custom lower front valance with foglights, functional front fender vents from an '08 Buick Lucerne, flush-fit marker lights, '68 Mustang front bumper, Shelby decklid with ribbed taillight valance and flush-fit Saturn marker lights, vinyl underhood graphic