Mark Houlahan
Tech Editor, Mustang Monthly
November 23, 2006

Step By Step

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"The public can have any color it wants, so long as it's black." While it was never proven that Henry Ford said these immortal words, most any Ford fan can quote the famous line about ordering a Model T.

There's an entire generation separating Henry Ford and the amiable Bud Brutsman, but you could just about attribute the same quote to Bud as well, who is known for his all-black attire, and now, his black '69 SportsRoof that brings a grin to his face and a gleam to his eye every time the car is mentioned.

The SportsRoof, dubbed Blackened (a song from the metal group Metallica, for those trivia buffs at home), became a project for the crew at Year One, who wanted to get Bud behind the wheel of a musclecar of his own after helping so many people realize their automotive dreams through his hit show Overhaulin'. But we're getting ahead of ourselves here. Let's go back in time a bit.

Bud grew up in a Ford household. He remembers his father purchasing a '65 Mustang. "I practically grew up in the back seat of that car," he says.

In 1985, Bud was 15 when his father surprised him with a '69 Mach 1 for Christmas. From the Brutsman's living-room window, it appeared to be a nice-looking car, but Bud's smile and elation quickly turned to a frown and dismay as he went outside and walked around the other side of the Mustang. "It looked like it had been hit in the right-side door by a freight train. I was crushed. My father bought it as a father/son project to fix up as my first car, but the last thing I wanted was to work on a car all summer. I was kind of a rambunctious kid back then, and I didn't appreciate what my father had done for me." Hindsight is always 20/20, isn't it?

So, here we are today. Bud is a successful producer of many TV shows and can buy or build any car he wants. When talking with Kevin King, president of Year One, Bud thought of several cars he would like to build, but his thoughts kept going back to the SportsRoof, wishing he had built that car back in 1985. He had grown to appreciate the body style even more and really wanted a Mustang. Bud let the Year One people search for a decent body to start with, and once one was found, Project Manager Phil Brewer and his crew got to work. Many conference calls and face-to-face meetings ensued as the overall aspect of the car came together.

As do the majority of our readers, Bud wanted the classic styling of the SportsRoof he remembered, but with the power and convenience of a modern-day supercar. The Year One staff, culling their knowledge from building the Boss Hoss project, spec'd a 4.6 modular engine with a Kenne Bell supercharger for motivation, which was assembled and dyno tuned by Tim Matherly at MV Performance in Statham, Georgia.

Brewer knew Los Angeles traffic could be brutal on the clutch leg. And since Bud often spends his commute time on his cell phone (he actually carries extra cell-phone batteries with him), the Year One crew opted to put a 4R70W four-speed automatic box in the tunnel, expertly built by MV Performance as well. We asked Bud if he regretted the auto box, and he told us the car has so much power he's happy the automatic is there to "keep him in line."