Mark Houlahan
Tech Editor, Mustang Monthly
November 23, 2006

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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."

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With the drivetrain settled, talks continued on suspension. Knowing how well the Boss Hoss handled with its Martz front subframe and tubular control arms, one was ordered for Bud's project as well. Out back, a Unique Performance coilover and torque-arm setup got the nod. To round out the suspension package, Bud asked his good friend Chip Foose to fire up the CNC machines at Foose Design for some killer, one-off wheels.

At the Year One Experience earlier this year, Blackened was treated to some no-holds-barred track time at Road Atlanta where it ran 147mph down the backstretch. Bud says the car was firm and tractable the whole time with this suspension setup.

The interior wasn't neglected on Blackened, either. Cobra Misano buckets in black leather, a custom two-seater-style package tray, and a full Alpine DVD system with navigation were installed. While the idea of using an '05 dash was toyed around with for a while, Brewer ended up designing a custom dash bezel (which you can find in the Year One catalog now) to hold the brace of Auto Meters. The '05 Mustang's automatic shifter did make it into the final design, though.

Blackened has a sinister-looking outward appearance, but if you look closely you'll see it isn't just the black topcoat and satin black striping. Take a look at those sidescoops. Chip Foose tweaked them when he was in town for an event, with nothing more than a few strips of electrical tape. Then Brewer and his crew fabricated the revised scoops for the car. Foose also revised the front lower apron for a one-of-a-kind look, while Brewer and his body guys tucked the bumpers, added rocker extensions, and modified the hoodscoop. These are all subtle touches that add up to one slick-looking exterior.

Bud is emphatic about his love for the car. He says he wouldn't change a thing on it, and he's extremely satisfied with the work everyone did at Year One. When we asked him what the black clothes, cars, and so on meant, he told us, "Black is a powerful color in any medium. I do so much live television where we wear what is called 'stage black' to blend in, that it just kind of stuck. Now I like everything black, and that's why we did Blackened and its triple-black finish. I had dinner with Jay Leno when I first had the car back in L.A., and he loved it. My celebrity friends say it looks like me. It's perfect!"

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Bud hasn't had much time to appreciate his new baby, however. After being in L.A. for a short time, Blackened made the trip back to Year One (stopping off at the Barrett-Jackson auction in Arizona) for some tweaking and show prep. The SportsRoof later went on to a Barrett-Jackson event in Miami, and other Year One-sponsored venues. The car was most recently seen at the MCA 30th Anniversary show in Birmingham in September. Soon it will be back at Bud's California home for good.

Probably the most amazing part of this story is that not only does Bud still own his original '69, but his father still has his '65 as well. Even Bud's brother has a '67 Mustang.

Now, 22 years later, on their dad's 60th birthday, the father and two sons met and discussed the six Mustangs they own between them, and that father/son project is finally underway. Bud says his original Mach 1 will retain its Gulfstream Aqua finish when completed. But we have to wonder, don't we?

Tales From The Dark Ride
Standing next to Blackened as I talked to Bud, it began to sink in just how "black" this SportsRoof is. Even the chrome and stainless trim have been powdercoated black. Except for the lick of brilliant polished aluminum coming from the Foose Design wheels, this baby is just, well, black. It looks as if it could be Knight Rider on steroids. Even more amazing is that when I asked Bud to move the car for our photo shoot, he reached into his leather-jacket pocket and tossed me the keys with a nonchalant, "Here ya go, Houlahan, move it yourself. Do whatever you need for your pictures." Now mind you, this was maybe the third time I had met the man in black, and he didn't know me from Adam, but I wasn't going to stand there and argue the point. I had the keys to one of my favorite body style and year Mustangs, with 500 hp waiting for me at the twist of the key.

Slipping into the Cobra seats, I surveyed the landscape in front of me. Because of the all-black interior, I felt almost claustrophobic, but once I fired the mod motor and let it settle into a nice, staccato idle, there was no turning back. Dropping the shifter into gear, the rear of the SportsRoof squatted lightly under load as if it were ready to shred pavement, and it did just that. ("Throttle's a little touchy," I later said with a grin to Bud.)

Having an automatic-equipped Mustang for my daily driver, also with a stall converter, I was completely at home behind the wheel with the power and shifting of the car. After making some spirited laps around the Road Atlanta property (unfortunately, it was late in the day and track access was closed), I found a location to photograph the car before the light was completely gone. When we were done, it was time to return the car to Bud, but he was nowhere in sight. What a shame, I had to drive the black beast around a little while longer until I bumped into the guys from Year One and they tucked Blackened in for the night.

This baby has it all-looks, power, handling, and brakes. If I could only get used to seeing out the mail-slot back window. Oh yeah, and have about 150 grand to build my own.

Two-Wheeled Wonders
At the time of our photo shoot, Year One was in the final stages of planning and announcing its Year One BikeWorks division. To show off their latest creation, the crew from BikeWorks built Bud a custom motorcycle to match Blackened. He's shown here on his new ride with David Gravely, Year One's new product development manager standing behind him. Behind Blackened is (L to R) Chip Foose; Phil Brewer, Year One's creative director; and Kevin King, Year One's president.

Each BikeWorks creation starts off with a KustomWerks softtail frame with a 5-inch backbone stretch. To that BikeWorks adds a 96-inch S&S engine rated at 100 hp, a Prowler six-speed transmission, custom Year One-designed body work and trim, a stainless exhaust, billet wheels, and a headlight with integrated gauges. The bikes all receive a musclecar-themed paint job, and even feature air ride and a 250-series rear tire. You can check out more photos and options at or contact BikeWorks at (800) YEARONE.

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The Details
'69 Mustang SportsRoof
Owner: Bud Brutsman, Burbank, CA

'04 4.6 "Terminator" Cobra iron block
Forged steel crank
Steel H-beam rods
3.55-inch bore, 3.55-inch stroke
Aluminum heads
Four valves per cylinder, 37mm intake, 30mm exhaust
MSD DIS-4 coil-on-plug ignition
Custom throttle body mount
Custom Year One air-filter housing
Accufab throttle body
FAST XFI engine management with 60-lb/hr injectors
ARP fasteners
Canton oil pan
Moroso remote oil filter
Kenne Belle supercharger
Metco X-10 supercharger drive system
520 hp, 600 lb-ft of torque, tuned by MV Performance

4R70W four-speed automatic overdrive, built by MV Performance, Statham, Georgia
Precision Industries 3,500-rpm stall converter
Be-Cool transmission cooler
Baumann Electronic Shift Controls, TCS Controller

Currie 9-inch
Detroit Tru-Trac
3.90 gears

Custom built by Year One with Stainless Works components

Front: Martz tubular front subframe, Martz spindles, Flaming River rack-and-pinion steering, Martz swaybar, QA1 10-400 springs, QA1 coilover shocksRear: Unique Performance rear suspension system, horizontally mounted QA1 coilover shocks, QA1 10-200 springs, torque arm, subframe connectors

Front: Stainless Steel Brakes Force-10, 13-inch disc, Year One engraved calipers
Rear: Stainless Steel Brakes Force-10, 14-inch disc, Year One engraved calipersCustom hydroboost assist

Front: Foose Design, 19x8
Rear: Foose Design, 20x10

Front: BFGoodrich G-Force T/A, P245/35ZR19
Rear: BFGoodrich G-Force T/A, P285/30ZR20

Cobra Misano black leather buckets, Year One gauge panel insert with Auto Meter Sport Comp gauges, custom console with '05 Mustang automatic shifter, Vintage Air heat/cool system, Alpine AM/FM/DVD audio system with navigation, Boston Acoustics amplifiers, component speakers, and subwoofers

Black basecoat/clearcoat with satin black stripes, painted by Year One's Steve Jones; sheetmetal modifications including tucked bumpers, modified quarter-panel scoops, rocker extensions, custom front valance and hoodscoop performed by Year One's Kevin Gooch; exterior trim powdercoated black, final fit and finish performed by Jimmy Kerlin