Modified Mustangs & FordsFeatured Vehicles
1964 Ford Mustang Coupe - Daily Driven Classic
Taking on the daily commute since 1994
For most people, there comes a time when the daily driver must be replaced. Maybe the lease is up. Maybe it has become unreliable. Maybe it's just time for a change. In the case of Anaheim, California, resident Renee Breads, the daily driver was handed down to her daughter, Dyann, and later to her son, Clinton. So went the '87 Toyota Corolla, and Renee was now in need of a ride to work.
What she decided to replace the econocar with was something she fell in love with in high school. Though teenage romances may have come and gone, Renee's infatuation with Ford's Mustang was much longer lasting. After deciding on the original ponycar, Renee, and her husband, Clint, set out in search of the right Mustang.
A friend of theirs knew of one for sale, so they went and took a look at it. Though it was a running and driving car, it was pretty rough, wearing three different colors on its panels and having a worn out interior. Going on the "you don't buy the first one you look at" premise, Renee and Clint looked at quite a few others before coming back to the first one.
"It was pouring rain the night we bought her, and by the time we got home, the floor of the car was covered in water," Renee told us. "That's when we learned about rotting cowl vents." After a repaint, new cloth upholstery, a transmission rebuild, a disc brake upgrade, and a generator-to-alternator conversion, the 289-powered colt was ready to tackle the daily commute. That was 1994.
Renee drove the Mustang until 2009, with it needing little else other than basic maintenance. Originally an A/C-equipped car, the artificial breeze wasn't working, nor was the heat, but it was livable in their southern California climate.
"She kept a blanket in the car to throw over her legs when it got really cold," recalls Renee's husband, Clint. Eventually, the Pony grew tired, however.
"I'd have to put it into neutral at a light to keep it running, otherwise the car would stall," says Renee. The engine started overheating and the transmission eventually started slipping. The suspension was worn out as well. Renee parked the Mustang, commandeered Clint's car keys, and told him that she wasn't going to drive it until it was more dependable.
With dependability being a key part of the Mustang's overhaul, Clint did some research on a shop in Auburn, Washington, that specialized in late-model engine swaps. After many conversations with Bryan, the owner of The Mustang Shop, the car was shipped up north and into the staff's capable hands.
"An '08 Shelby GT that had been rolled came in on a flat-bed tow truck," Clint recalls. "The only salvageable things on it were the engine and transmission—just what I wanted. The Three-valve 4.6 had just 2,800 miles on it, and was backed by a five-speed manual transmission—Renee's Corolla was a stick shift, and she preferred to have one in the Mustang as well.
In order to fit the Modular engine, The Mustang Shop staff installed a Rod & Custom Motorsports independent front suspension, removed the shock towers, and added power rack-and-pinion steering. They also installed a new Painless Performance wiring kit—hiding most of it whenever possible—and smoothed out the engine bay. They also fitted the car with a new HVAC unit from Classic Auto Air.
Clint and Renee were planning on a complete repaint, so they had the Mustang Shop paint the engine bay for them with the drivetrain out of the car. When Renee and Clint bought the Mustang, it was yellow, with a black hood and white painted top. They eventually gave it a slick coat of white to even things out, and now it was two colors again, but not for long.
With a new and reliable drivetrain under the hood, the Mustang was put back into daily driver rotation in 2010 while more changes were made.
"We took the car to Fast Eddie's Speed shop to repair minor rust damage," Renee told us. "The staff there also built a custom center console and underdash panels to house the extra power ports, filled in the cowl panel and front license plate area, smoothed and tucked the bumpers, and modified the hood braces to clear the Three-Valve's engine cover.
"The grandkids and I Dynamat'ed the whole interior," Clint said. "The whole inside and trunk were silver at one point," Renee recalled.
With the body mods and other metal work completed, Renee and Clint turned to Pete Santini of Santini Paint and Body in Westminster, California. If the name sounds familiar, it may be because of Santini's work with Chip Foose and the Overhaulin' television show. Renee and Clint knew of Santini as he had given the Mustang its previous white paint job, as well laying a few coats on Clint's own project car.
White was not going to cut it this time around, and befitting a Mustang of this caliber, Renee and Clint went with the Corvette's Crystal Red Metallic Tintcoat from the '08 model.
"We saw an '08 Corvette at a car show—the sun was shining on it and we both loved it," Renee said. Though it is from the GM family, there's no denying how stunning it looks on the Mustang's metal, and the fact that it is a factory color makes it easily repairable in the event of a parking lot mishap or a rock chip from the daily commute.
The next stop for the Mustang was 714 Motorsports in Westminster for an interior makeover.
"Pete had recommended Alan and Chris at 714 Motorsports," said Renee, "and after meeting with them, Alan looked really familiar. We eventually found out that Alan had done the first upholstery job on the car. They did the current interior in a camel color to my design and modified the rear seat to give it a bucket seat look."
After many trips to Paul and the guys at Mustangs and Fast Fords in Orange County for parts and invaluable help, the car was finally finished. With electrical power ports for GPS and an iPod, as well as a modern powertrain and HVAC system, this Mustang is ready to be a daily driven classic again.
"I am now enjoying my car. It is so much fun to drive," Renee said. "The five-speed really increases the driving fun—this is exactly what I wanted. A reliable, comfortable, and classy car."
Renee Breads' '64½ Mustang Coupe
Ford 4.6L Three-Valve Modular V-8 from an '08 Shelby GT
Stock Ford internals
Tremec 3650 five-speed manual
Stock Ford clutch
Ford 8-inch rearend
Stock 28-spline axles
Stock Ford exhaust manifolds
2½-inch custom exhaust
Front: Rod & Custom Motorsports IFS and power rack-and-pinion steering
Rear: Stock leaf springs and shocks
Front: Wilwood disc, 11-inch rotors, four-piston calipers
Rear: Wilwood disc, 11-inch rotors, four-piston calipers
Front: Budnik Ice, 16x7, polished finish
Rear: Budnik Ice, 16x7, polished finish
Front: Yokohama YK580, P205/55R16
Rear: Yokohama YK580, P225/60R16
Custom tan leather upholstery by 714 Motorsports (Westminster, CA), Budnik Ice steering wheel, Auto Meter Pro Comp Ultra Lite instruments, Cerullo bucket seats, modified rear bench seat, custom console, Custom Auto Sound head unit, upholstered and carpeted trunk
'08 GM Crystal Red basecoat/clearcoat by Pete Santini (Westminster, CA), filled-in cowl vent, custom front grille, smoothed front valance, narrowed and smoothed rear bumper, all metal work by Fast Eddie's Race Car Fabrication (Orange, CA)