Rob Reaser
September 1, 2003

Everyone loves secretive hardware, James Bond stuff-looks harmless but packs a punch.

Stealth cars are perhaps our favorite examples of the clandestine arts. You know, the ones that look like bone-stock granny-getters, yet have enough muscle under the hood to rip your head off?

Gotta love them.

William Blankenship of Valley Park, Missouri, certainly does. He owns a prime example of a Mustang Q ship, and we can be thankful William realized how special his '70 SportsRoof was before this uncommon Mustang forever lost its cover.

"The car was originally purchased for the purpose of using the engine, transmission, and rearend in a street rod," William confesses. "But when we found out how rare the car was, we decided it needed to be restored."

You may be thinking there's nothing special about a Sports-Roof, and you'd be correct if it weren't for the Q-code 428 Cobra Jet sitting in the engine bay. Of course, that in itself is not so unusual, either. It's when you place this legendary piston-thumper in an otherwise sedate package that the stealth factor ramps up quite a few notches.

William bought the car seven years ago after locating it through a St. Louis newspaper. He said it "was being stored in a locker, covered with car parts, barely able to be seen. It was wrecked, front and rear, but all the parts were there."

Upon closer examination, William realized it was worth the purchase price for the driveline alone. Other than the Cobra Jet V-8, the Mustang didn't have much going for it. The option list was short and sweet: rear wing, four-speed manual tranny, electric clock, Wide Oval tires, AM radio, tinted glass, and color-keyed racing mirrors. The original buyer even opted to stay with the standard steel wheels with corporate hubcaps.

For a big-block car built at the height of the musclecar madness, this was one Plain Jane momma-no doubt that's exactly what the original buyer had intended all along.

"From talking to two previous owners," says William, "most of this car's history was spent waiting for repairs, because every time someone got it running, it was wrecked shortly thereafter."

Once William wisely decided against scavenging the Cobra Jet engine, Top-Loader four-speed, and 3.25:1 open rear for a street rod project, the SportsRoof was instead treated to a body-off restoration. Everything except the transmission was rebuilt-and even that would have occurred had not a consulting technician said it wasn't necessary.

All told, William spent six years bringing this unusual combination of conservative appearance and wicked power back to life. Now the former street sleeper duels only on the show field. We're confident, however, that in a former life, this '70 SportsRoof slipped stealthily upon its boulevard victims, shutting them down at the end of the straights, leaving defeated rivals to beg the question, "Hey buddy, whatcha got in there?"