Jim Smart
July 1, 2005

Michael Breindal had a dream. It began with a '69 Mustang 302 SportsRoof a long time ago. He tells us, "It made me a popular guy with the girls at school. I began cruising and racing on Van Nuys Boulevard, then eventually road racing on Mulholland Drive." Michael adds that his Mustang SportsRoof was a very important part of his high school life. It gained him the respect of his peers, and was the foundation for his social life.

But then came adulthood, work, family, and responsibility. Youth faded away, as did the Mustang SportsRoof and the era. With midlife came old dreams and fantasies. Michael wanted to relive his '69 Mustang SportsRoof experience. Finding just the right one would be challenging for a lot of us, but for Michael, the search went like the smooth, tasty experience of eating a bowl of pudding. He found not only a Mustang Mach 1 SportsRoof, but a slippery 428 Cobra Jet flatback to boot. He tells us it was like coming home. He was able to put things on the car he couldn't afford as a teenager. He admits to getting carried away at times with a car project that took on a life of its own.

Because he wanted the brute performance of Ford's mightiest big-block, he had the 428 balanced and blueprinted. The C6 transmission was completely gone through and built for durability. Mustangs Etc. managed the rebuilding process from radiator to differential. Between those 17x9-inch Edelbrock wheels is Ford's 9-inch axle with 3.25:1 gears in a Limited-Slip package. You might expect Michael to have opted for 3.91:1 or 4.30:1 gears for Van Nuys Boulevard, but two things have changed in 35 years: Van Nuys Boulevard and Michael Breindel. Cruising Van Nuys is no longer permitted, and Michael understands the consequences of putting the pedal to the metal in 2005. Today, it's more about looking sharp and keeping people guessing.

Michael's 428 can handle the competition, but it really doesn't have to. That's a Blue Thunder dual-plane manifold beneath the Cobra Jet's shaker air cleaner. Because it is aluminum, it shaves a lot of weight off the front end. On top is a custom Holley 900-cfm carburetor. This enables the CJ to do exactly what Ford intended three decades ago-plenty of low-end grunt for just about any situation. What counts most is the torque.

Michael didn't allow his dream to get out of hand underneath. Factory single-piston front disc brakes provide plenty of stopping power. Rear drums do exactly what they're supposed to: assist the front disc brakes. Goodyear F1 speed-rated tires deliver the sticky persona Michael needs for aggressive driving. They hold the road nicely.

That is Ford's Silver Jade applied by Doug's Custom Paint & Body. We like the Rat Fink trick paint that takes us back to the '60s.

This car takes Michael back to an era he remembers fondly, and a time when he was certainly more carefree. It's why quite a few of us build exciting cars like this one-to relive our youth and groove back to a time we will always remember.