October 26, 2006

When is a Shelby not a Shelby? When it's built by Jerry Shelby (no relation to Carroll). Actually, Jerry is quick to give credit to Steve Greer for initially building (and painting) this fastback in his home garage in Carlsbad, New Mexico. Jerry built up the car considerably from there, adding a Flaming River steering box, Global West upper and lower A-arms with adjustable strut rods, and Baer four-wheel disc brakes at his hobby shop in Houston, Texas.

The result is one of the best modifieds on the planet, and the Best Modified {{{Mustang}}} at the 40th anniversary Mustang show in Nashville in April 2004. Your editors voted it this award two years ago and recently flew to Houston to take the pictures and gather the story.

When Jerry backed the '65 from his hobby garage, once again we were smitten with the Pecan Frost Metallic fastback. The original color is similar, called Prairie Bronze. A restomod is certainly not stock. Yet, except for the Halibrand 16-inch wheels and the Shelby scooped hood with Wimbledon White LeMans stripes, enthusiasts who don't spot the lowered suspension (2 inches up front and 1 inch in the rear) might mistake this hot ride for factory issue.

Greer found his dream fastback in a backyard, where kids were using it as a playhouse. First, he restored the Mustang as a 289-2V (C-code) original. As is so often the case today, Mustangs that are not K-codes, Bosses, Shelbys, or other legends, go the modified route.

Jerry likes both stock and modified. In his shop we spotted a beautiful '67 fastback with the 289 Hi-Po engine. There's no way he'd modify this K-code because it is so rare and has so much of what he calls "historical value." Production was "400-some" for the '67 Hi-Po versus "thousands" for the C-code 289-2V fastback. Jerry makes a lot of sense when he says the Hi-Po is a collector car, so it interests collectors. Collectors want a Mustang to be as original as possible.

In contrast, he says, "The people interested in my modified may be car enthusiasts and Mustang enthusiasts, but they are not collectors. The '65 is a really super-duper-looking and fast Mustang, but it's not a collector Mustang like the '67 K-code."

Jerry was looking for a modified '65-'66 fastback that was a "knock-out on the outside and high performance on the inside." Greer's for-sale pictures of this fastback looked "nice" on the Internet, but when Jerry saw the '65 in person, he says the Mustang knocked his socks off. Then, when he drove it, it blew him away.

Big-boy's toys command respect. You have to realize the danger that lurks at the tap of your right toe. "Some people recognize the engine under the hood is not a 289. Others don't," Jerry says. Looks can be deceiving. The Coast High Performance-built 408 (a bored and stroked 351 Windsor), fed by a 750 Holley double-pumper, produces about 475 hp, over 200 horses more than the K-code 289 Hi-Po. From a valve-cover standpoint, you can't tell the difference. The 408 is just a little wider.

Jerry congratulates Greer for the great looks under the hood. Moving the battery to the trunk, he believes, "opens up the engine and provides the perfect place for the MSD."