Joe Greeves
July 25, 2012

Like that one beautiful vase that prompts your spouse to redecorate your home, the new engine prompted a critical look at the rest of the car. Johnny recalls, "The motor was so nice, I wanted to make the rest of the car match!" It was at that point that the old wedding proverb kicked in and, with cost taking a back seat to creating great art, a serious restoration began. Johnny stripped the car down to individual pieces and began redoing everything. Subframe connectors were added to stiffen the unibody and thanks to his metal bending skills, Johnny created a five-point rollbar for additional rigidity. Because family trips with his wife and daughter were important, he made the door and center bars of the cage removable for comfort. He chose Caltracs traction bars to augment the factory leaf springs and KYB shocks to stabilize the narrowed Ford 9-inch. The set of 2-1/2-inch-drop spindles from Fatman Fabrications brought the front end down, but the 1-inch Eaton lowering springs proved just a little too much. Returning to stock height versions gave him the perfect stance.

"This one has become the best in a long line, thanks to the combination of experience and a little extra disposable income that comes with maturity!" What are the future plans? His latest ride will soon receive a set of rear discs to match the 11-inch Wilwood four-piston calipers up front, front suspension upgrades are also on the list, and an elaborate stereo system will provide a second sound source whenever the engine is quiet. In the meantime, the car has become a regular on the show circuit, bringing home trophies on the weekend and acting as an occasional driver during the week. Sounds like this wedding turned out just fine! Special thanks goes to Stan Miller, Kevin Harbin, Chuck, and Cory for their help in creating Johnny's dream car.

Very few changes were made to the body because the beautiful original lines of the Mustang were what attracted Johnny to the car in the first place. He even dispensed with the rear wing and louvers. The entire unibody was carefully seam-sealed to eliminate fumes and minimize noise. Then he followed up with Dynamat sound insulation covering every inch of the interior. The trunk floor was dropped in order to recess the 15-gallon fuel cell and hold the Red Top Optima battery. Externally, the one departure from stock was the cowl induction hood from Hoods.com, which added an appropriately aggressive look. The Mustang now moves on a set of Rocket Racing five-spoke chrome wheels that have a vintage flair, similar to the classic five-spoke Cragar wheels. Using 17x7 versions up front and 18x10s in the rear, the Mach 1 benefits from sticky, Nitto NT555 high performance street tires, 45-series up front and 40-series rubber in the rear.

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The final exterior touch was the paint, and Johnny wanted a specific shade that was somewhere between Candy Apple Red and Candy Brandywine. Although Deep City Customs provided several samples, it wasn't until Johnny was shopping with his daughter, Shelby, that he found the perfect shade. The local sporting goods store had a skateboard helmet with exactly the right color. Johnny bought the helmet, brought it to the painter and Deep City owner, Chuck Grieff, got it right the first time. The Mustang was sprayed with four coats of gold basecoat, seven coats of candy, and four coats of clear, creating the distinctive custom-mixed shade of Candy Brandywine you see here. A black stripe was added down the middle for a personal touch.

The interior was already in good shape, with Johnny deciding to reupholster the original seats with a black vinyl Mach 1 package. He outfitted the woodgrain dash with an aftermarket set of Auto Meter Ultra Lite gauges to monitor underhood activity. Although the rollbar adds lots of structural rigidity, it does not intrude and the interior is quite comfortable. An elaborate stereo system is already underway, with the JVC head unit acting as the source that will soon power a multiple speaker set up.

Although the six-year, part-time project may be complete, it might never be finished. Johnny smiles when he says he has never owned a vehicle that was "done," always looking upon them as works in progress.

"This one has become the best in a long line, thanks to the combination of experience and a little extra disposable income that comes with maturity!" What are the future plans? His latest ride will soon receive a set of rear discs to match the 11-inch Wilwood 4-piston calipers up front, front suspension upgrades are also on the list, and an elaborate stereo system will provide a second sound source whenever the engine is quiet. In the meantime, the car has become a regular on the show circuit, bringing home trophies on the weekend and acting as an occasional driver during the week. Sounds like this wedding turned out just fine! Special thanks goes to Stan Miller, Kevin Harbin, Chuck, and Cory for their help in creating Johnny's dream car.