Steve Baur
Former Editor, Modified Mustangs & Fords
April 10, 2012
Photos By: Drew Phillips

Ever since the new world (what we now call the USA) was discovered, people have wanted to venture westward to explore what this great continent had to offer. In the mid 1800s, it was the prospect of gold that brought droves of settlers to the West Coast, and later, it would be the allure of Hollywood as well as the wonderful climate that would attract even more people. Wanting to see what the Golden State had to offer, New Jersey's John Morgan packed his bags and headed to California to attend school.

A native of New Jersey, John grew up in the Garden State. When it came time to upgrade his wheels from Schwinn Stingray to something self-propelled, John used the money that he had saved while working at his parent's racquetball club, as well as pumping gas at the local service station, to buy his first car--the '67 Mustang GT you see here.

The superbly crisp and clean car looked very different back when John was racing it at Old Bridge Township's Raceway Park, or terrorizing the city streets. Back then, it was Dark Moss Green, and sported a 390ci engine and four-speed transmission. Within three years of purchasing the Mustang, John had bought two others, a '68 GT fastback, and another '67 fastback.

Though John would eventually part ways with the latter two, he has managed to hold onto his first car for 33 years.

"I was the second owner of the car, and it had a Holley carburetor but was otherwise stock," recalls John. With an obvious interest in automobiles, John enrolled in the vocational technical program at his school during his senior year. Utilizing the knowledge from his schooling and exercising his self-proclaimed "teacher's pet" status, John upgraded the Mustang with higher compression pistons, and a solid-lifter camshaft. He soon realized that adjusting the valves all of the time wasn't very fun.

"I ran it at the local track every now and then, but eventually got involved more in motorcross before moving out west for school," says John.

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While enrolled at the Golden State's University of California Irvine, John put his nose to the proverbial grindstone while his Mustang sat dormant in his parent's garage back East. John eventually shipped it out West by train, where it bounced around from garage to garage, but John simply couldn't let it go. After his parents moved to California, the fastback once again found residence in their garage for another 10 years before John finally put procrastination aside and pulled the trigger on it's restomodification.

Inspired by a local car show, John tried to make it the following year, but the project went long and John finally made it the year after that.

Though the Mustang had but 47,000 original miles on the odometer, John wasn't impressed with the stock power steering or handling capabilities--20–plus years of driving newer cars will do that to you. Despite the changes, the Mustang still wears its original, though modified, 390-based engine, Top Loader four-speed gearbox, and Ford 9-inch rear.

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After upgrading the engine, suspension, brakes, wheels, and tires, John opted for a complete color change when it came to the exterior of the car.

"My vision was to go with the classic Shelby white with blue stripes," recalls John. What set John's paint scheme apart from the traditional Wimbledon White and Blue Stripe look is the paint effects that were utilized.

John works for a chemical company that provides raw materials to paint companies. Just as he was getting ready to paint the Mustang, he was working with synthetic glass paint effects that were first used on electric guitars.

Where pearls give a soft luster using mica as a base, a synthetic glass provides a brighter and crisper look. John worked with the folks at TCP Global to utilize his Mustang as a testbed for using the glass effects in an automotive application. TCP handled the Mustang's makeover using a silver effect pigment in the white, and a blue effect in the blue. The result is a unique paintjob that will no doubt be replicated once the glass effects finally hit the automotive aftermarket.

Though John is rather ecstatic with the results of the Mustang's transformation thus far, especially with the suspension and steering updates, he has alluded to a rear disc brake upgrade in the near future. John is also quick to credit a number of people who have been instrumental in helping him in the completion of the build.

"Doug and Eric Horrdin from Global West were completely hands-on through thick and thin, and instrumental in the build," notes John. He also credits Duke Mao from MAAC Motorsports in Mission Viejo, California. "I couldn't have done it without his help." For this New Jersey transplant, and now, Canyon Lake Car Club member, it sounds like John found a number of golden opportunities out West.

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The Details

John Morgan's '67 Mustang Fastback

Engine

  • Ford 390 FE cast-iron block; 395 ci; machined, balanced, and blueprinted by Dougan Racing Engines, advised owner assembly
  • 4.080-inch bore
  • 3.78-inch stroke
  • Stock Ford crankshaft and connecting rods
  • Speed-Pro forged aluminum pistons
  • Comp Cams Xtreme Energy hydraulic flat tappet camshaft (PN 33-238-4), 262/270 at 0.050 duration, 0.513/0.520 valve lift, 110-degree LSA
  • Stock Ford cast-iron cylinder heads, three-angle valve job, port-matched and slight polish on the runners
  • Polished aluminum 428 Police Interceptor intake manifold
  • Quick Fuel Technologies 850-cfm carburetor
  • Factory Ford distributor modified by Stinger Electronics
  • 10.5:1 compression ratio
  • Estimated 465 hp/490 lb-ft of torque

Exhaust

  • Ford Performance Applications Tri-Y headers
  • 2-1/2-inch stainless steel pipes
  • MagnaFlow 2-1/2-inch mufflers

Transmission

  • Stock Ford Top Loader four-speed
  • Hurst Competition Plus shifter
  • 11.5-inch Centerforce clutch and steel flywheel

Rearend

  • Ford 9-inch axle housing
  • Traction-Lok differential
  • 28-spline axles
  • 3.00 gears

Suspension

  • Front: Global West double A-arms, Negative Roll kit, QA1 coilover adjustable shocks, Borgeson power steering box and pump
  • Rear: Global West five-leaf springs, Del-A-Lum bushings, QA1 adjustable shocks

Brakes

  • Front: Wilwood disc, SL-6 six-piston calipers, 13-inch rotors
  • Rear: Stock drum

Wheels

  • Front: Vintage Wheel Works 45, 17x8
  • Rear: Vintage Wheel Works 45, 17x9

Tires

  • Front: BFGoodrich g-Force Sport, P225/45ZR17
  • Rear: BFGoodrich g-Force Sport, P275/40ZR17

Interior

  • Original black vinyl upholstery, stock instruments with a Sun oil pressure gauge, Mastercraft 3-inch belts, Hurst shifter handle adapted to parking brake handle

Exterior

  • Custom PPG Deltron basecoat and DBC effect pigment, DCU urethane clear, paint and body by TCP Global (San Diego, CA)
  • John worked with the folks at TCP Global to utilize his Mustang as a testbed for using the glass effects in an automotive application. TCP handled the Mustang's makeover using a silver effect pigment in the white, and a blue effect in the blue.