Jeff Ford
March 1, 2004

Youth. The thing I like about YO club owners is they are not crusty, old curmudgeons like most of the rest of us. They are not set in their ways, don't look at new ideas with jaded skepticism, and they do it their way. Their way includes big stereos, loud graphics, and a total lack of regard for "the way things used to be." These teens have no problem modifying the classics, as they have no fond memories of AM radios or power steering. So, gleefully, they mod their vintage Fords and make the rest of us go "heeey." Sometimes this enthusiasm breeds a ragged-edge mod with graphics and wild colors, like the '66 hardtop Mustang we saw at the Silver Springs show in 2003. That hardtop was Viper Blue with florescent yellow stripes and a mean stance. Or it can be of a more subtle hue, like A. J. Chesney's '66 hardtop shown here.

Back in 2001, fifteen-year-old A. J. bought the hardtop from a fellow who lived less than a mile from his high school. It was pretty much all original with a 289 4V, a four-speed, and an odd feature-the paint was originally a factory '67 color called Dark Moss Green. At first, A. J. was "just gonna paint it and keep it as original as possible." But somewhere that plan went out the window, and the creation you see before you came to the forefront.

First up was safety. So the old worn suspension was ditched on the, then nicknamed, Green Mule. New suspension pieces were secured, and, with the help of his dad Tim, they lowered the car and added variable-rate Eibach front coils, KYB shocks, a negative wedge kit to complement the 131/44-inch upper-control-arm relocation. For better handling, a beefy 1-inch front sway bar with urethane bushings was added. Stopping power was taken care of via Granada front disc brakes. To add to the surefootedness, the original 14-inch styled steel wheels were ditched in favor of a set of Torq-Thrust IIs in a hefty 17x8-inch size. Wrapped around these cool wheels are Bridgestone P235/45-17 ZR Potenzas.

Next, the Chenesys set about getting the body right. It was sent off and stripped. upon its return, A.J., Tim, and Joey Graham dove into the bodywork. While scuffing, filling, and sanding, they added a fiberglass hood with '67 Shelby scoop, an "R" apron with chin spoiler, as well as a Mustangs Plus fiberglass decklid with spoiler. The Chesneys also added '68 Shelby taillights and deleted all the badging. After all that, the car was sent to Whites Body Shop. Ernie White laid down the Sonic Blue and pearl white paint.

The interior was next with some subtle and serious mods. Since A. J. is one tall dude, they dropped the seat pans 131/44 inches to give him some headroom. An eight-point roll cage was added, as well as five-point harnesses, to keep the front seat passengers safe. The rear seat was deleted, and two 10-inch subwoofers were added to pump up the Sony deck in the dash.

For now, A. J. is leaving the engine as is. An Edelbrock carb, a set of headers, and a Flowmaster exhaust are the only real mods. But future plans call for a 351 Windsor with some serious go. Though originally nicknamed the Green Mule, A.J.'s friends have begun to call it the Blue Mule. we'd have to say, we'd bet most any of them would trade their present rides for ownership of A. J.'s stallion, 'cause this Mule definitely has some kick to it now.