Mark Houlahan
Brand Manager, Mustang Monthly
December 19, 2006
Photos By: Johnny Hunkins

Thomas Edison was once quoted as saying, "Genius is 1-percent inspiration and 99-percent perspiration." Well it doesn't take a genius to see that the '67/'68 {Mustang fastback was the inspiration behind the all-new '05 Mustang redesign. With its aggressive grille opening, fastback roofline, and taillight panel, you can see the classic Mustang styling cues in every angle of the new car. It also doesn't take a genius (though it probably did take a whole lot of perspiration) to know when you have a hot new product such as the '05 Mustang, you want everyone in the performance aftermarket to get their hands on one as quickly as possible to develop parts and build feature cars.

The annual SEMA show is the place to debut a new product, and for the '04 SEMA show, people were lining up to get their hands on the few '05 Mustangs Ford was handing out. It probably didn't help that the '05 Mustang was also the official car of the show. Performance West Group (PWG) [www.performancewestgroup.com; (760) 630-0547], a company that builds "image vehicles" for manufacturers, was at the top of the list since their Mustang was being built for Ford's own display booth. when PWG's Larry Weiner saw the new Mustang for the first time, and learned the '67/'68 fastback was Ford's design inspiration, he knew he had to build a classic fastback "twin" to the '05 model for Ford's display.

PWG uses a transport service to shuffle their various cars around the country, and Larry knew their transport driver had a pulse on various cars available. So he asked the driver if he'd come across a fastback lately. less than an hour later, the driver called back with the location of one-the '67 fastback you see on these pages (after the culmination of nearly 10 months of nonstop work to prepare the car for the 2004 SEMA show). The fastback had lost its indoor storage and was sitting outside. Luckily, this was California, and the car had seen previous titling in Florida as well. Rust was minimal and very fixable. The fastback was as stripped of options as they come-six-cylinder, manual trans, manual brakes-that's it. Larry called the owner, a deal was made, and the car was transported back to PWG's facility. With a quick wash, a charge of the battery, and a bleeding of the brake system, they got the car to fire right up!

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But the story gets even more interesting. The running fastback was then transported all the way across the country to Stainless Steel Brakes (SSBC) in Clarence, New York, just outside of Buffalo. The fastback was actually "loaned" to SSBC so they could mock-up some new brake systems (also for the SEMA show). But before the fastback could be shipped back, Larry's cousin, Howard Brook, made a visit to SSBC (he lives five minutes away); he then called Larry to suggest that he build the car in his garage. Larry agreed, and Howard made room in his three-car garage by kicking out his Acura NSX, Jaguar XKE, and Corvette for some working room.

Three days later the '67 was a shell, and Howard was ready to make things happen. First, the body was sent to Ken Pezdek at Aero Collision just up the road in Lancaster, New York, for a full rotisserie-style prep and paint service. The color choice was DuPont Silver Pearl, matching the '05 being built back in California. To dress the body up and give the fastback a bit more image, a GT500 nose, hood, and scoops found there way onto the body, courtesy of Mustangs Plus, as did Mustangs Plus' own Restomod Ground Effects Kit.

While the paint guns were burying fiberglass and steel under the basecoat/clearcoat finish, Howard was on the phone ordering up the suspension and drivetrain parts to put the car back together. Within weeks parts were arriving daily. First, the 9-inch rear from Drivetrain Specialists arrived, then the Tremec five-speed. Later, Stainless Steel Brakes (of course) and Classic Tube brake and fuel lines showed up, along with Oasis custom wheel replicas of the original Hurst models from the '60s. The trickiest piece of the puzzle turned out to be finding a 4.6 Modular engine. Howard found one on eBay, sold by ELD Performance for $2,000. Brian Bossone of ELD even shipped Howard a blown engine as a mock-up to help with the installation of the Rod & Custom Motorsports Mustang II front end. Everything was coming together, or so Howard thought.