Jim Smart
May 1, 2004

What's your favorite Mustang? Could it be a '69 Mach 1 with a 428 Cobra Jet? Candyapple Red, naturally. Few of us can deny dreaming about owning a '67-'68 Shelby GT500 or a '65-'66 K-GT convertible. All would be terrific examples of the breed to own and enjoy, and each would be an ego trip.

Linda Tovar had her heart set on a classic Ford convertible. But that isn't what she and her husband, George, wound up with. Sometimes our dream cars become reality cars-the ones we can find and afford. The Tovars' dream ride turned out to be a '67 Mustang fastback, painted modern Laser Red and certainly nicer than anything they ever dreamed of driving with the top down. In fact, fastbacks are pulling down greater sums of money and interest than convertibles these days. Enthusiasts love them, especially in the wake of the Gone In 60 Seconds remake. The only people the Tovars have to shake from their back bumper are enthusiasts eager to buy. But, please understand, this fastback isn't for sale.

The Tovars' '67 is nothing like the Eleanor fastback from Gone In 60 Seconds. You won't find the wild and hairy fiberglass panels, huge wheels, side exhaust tips, and Total Control handling package. And that's OK with the Tovars. They love the '96 Mustang Laser Red finish, applied by Mike's Auto Body in Stockton, California. At first glance, this is a conservative ride. But under the surface, it makes a bolder statement. The Tovars did take a conservative approach with the rolling stock: 16-inch Vintage 45 five-spoke wheels wrapped in P225/50R16 Nitto skins. Underhood is a powerful 289ci small-block sporting a Comp Cams 270 camshaft, an Edelbrock Air Gap intake manifold and 600-cfm carburetor, Hedman headers, and an MSD ignition. Behind the 289 is Ford's ever-reliable C4 three-speed automatic transmission, professionally rebuilt and tuned by A-1 Transmissions in Stockton.

At first glance, the Tovars' fastback has a nice, refrigerator-white interior. Closer inspection reveals a custom, all-leather white interior. They didn't opt for Recaro bucket seats. Instead, they had J.C. Custom Interiors of Manteca, California, clad the stock Mustang interior in white leather with a custom pattern that complements Ford's original efforts. The Mustang's stock bucket seats really shine, with comfortable upholstery and a look unmatched. That's a LeCarra steering wheel, which looks great and feels good in your hands. We like the ididit tilt steering column as well, which is easy to install and use. Rod Doors door panels, also clad in white leather, give the Tovars' Mustang an elegant demeanor. George took the stock Mustang instrument panel and installed Auto Meter instrumentation.

George and Linda didn't build a classic Mustang fastback for show only. They take the wheel with great regularity, going to shows and cruise events to take full advantage of the eye-wash this slippery steed has to offer.