Jim Smart
December 1, 2005
Photos By: Johnny Hunkins

Just look at what you can do with the slippery lines of a classic Mustang SportsRoof. This is the '69 Mustang SportsRoof Mach 1-born for performance. The slipstream greets the hood's leading edge, cruises above the cowl, and glides over the roofline. This enables the SportsRoof body to dance hand-in-hand with the air, passing through it with a minimum of resistance. And this is what made the '69-'70 Mustang SportsRoof a world-class winner in SCCA Trans Am competition, not to mention on the salt flats at Bonneville.

What is it that makes us love this Sports-Roof body so much? Is it the slippery styling that looks fast sitting still? is it the throaty roar of powerful engines that powered it all around the world? When we look at this body style, we hear the canted-valve Boss 302, hemi-head Boss 429, and the legendary 428 Cobra Jet. This body is all about power and great looks-that rare combination of elements that have made Ford a respected name for more than 100 years.

Anna Whetstine understands the passion a lot of us feel for the Mustang SportsRoof. She snapped this one up from a woman who had lost her husband a year earlier. He was the second owner and had owned the car for 20 years. Anna took special care of the Mustang, delivering it to Squeeg's Kustoms in Mesa, Arizona. The car's renaissance took two years.

Anna unofficially calls this color, which was mixed and applied by the folks at Squeeg's, "Dago Red" in honor of her Italian heritage. This is a color that changes as you walk around the car. It makes for endlessly entertaining visual stimulation. American Racing's 18-inch Torq-Thrust II wheels provide a striking contrast to the rich magenta finish.

Beneath the delicious topcoat is a well-engineered restomod as thoughtful under the surface as it is above. Beneath the bonnet is a powerful 351W small-block V-8 erected by The Engine Factory in New Jersey. Inside the built V-8 is an Elgin hydraulic roller camshaft with plenty of bump-a-tude for the Edelbrock Performer RPM heads. We're talking big 2.02/1.60-inch valves for deep breathing via the Edelbrock Pro-Flo induction system. This affords Anna reliability along with 350 hp and more than 400 lb-ft of torque. Anna appreciates an engine that does exactly what the builder said it would do. What's more, it passes Arizona's tough emissions program without complaint, thanks to the Edelbrock fuel-injection package.

Because this is a classic hybrid that affords us modern technology and sizzling vintage Mustang lines, you can expect even greater impressions beyond the revving, pulsing Ford V-8. Ford's AOD transmission has been beefed up inside using components from the 4R70W-the computer-controlled overdrive transmission first available in the '96 Mustang {{{GT}}}. We're talking big overdrive drum and clutches, and other attributes from The Transmission Center in Louisiana. It's called the A O Dominator, sporting a 2,{{{200}}}-rpm stall torque converter to get the engine into the power band before takeoff.

Aiding in jet propulsion is a 9-inch Ford rearend with 3.50 gears and a Detroit Locker. This is a nice combination of terrific gearing and torquey-twist to both 31-spline axles. This gearing affords Anna and her husband, Walter, good cruising gears, along with a good holeshot when the gas pedal meets the carpet.

On the ground are Baer disc brakes manufactured nearby in Phoenix. Baer binders look terrific through the spokes of those Torq-Thrust II wheels. Add to that their unequaled stopping power, and you have a great combination of whoa and wow. Wrapped around the Americans are Falken P225/40R18, front, and P255/40R18, rear. These sticky speed-rated radial tires allow the Mustang to both hook up and hang on when the heat gets hot.

You have to admire this Mustang for its beauty and wonderful simplicity. Its lines are clean and simple. The way it has been engineered complements the package. All in all, a glistening classic Mustang ride we could slip away in anytime.