Donald Farr
Former Editor, Mustang Monthly
February 1, 2006
Photos By: Courtesy of DVS Restorations

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Mump_0602_07z 1968_ford_mustang_fastback FrontMump_0602_05z 1968_ford_mustang_fastback Rear
From the rear, the tailpipes spreading out from the center are the only hints that this is not your normal '68 Mustang fastback.
Mump_0602_04z 1968_ford_mustang_fastback Cobra_radiator
The radiator and electric cooling fan from a '99 Cobra fit nicely on the '68 Mustang's radiator support.
Mump_0602_03z 1968_ford_mustang_fastback Cobra_engine
The Ford Racing four-valve 4.6 Cobra engine tucks neatly into the '68 Mustang's engine compartment. The shock towers are '99 Cobra units grafted to the '68 unibody.
Mump_0602_06z 1968_ford_mustang_fastback Braking_system
The braking system is '99 Cobra, right down to the master cylinder.

David Stribling says he got the idea when he overheard a customer's wife talking to her husband: "Honey, I like your old Mustangs, but I prefer the ride and convenience of my new car."

That was Stribling's light bulb moment. Why not, Stribling thought, combine the vintage looks of a classic Mustang with the power, handling, and performance of a late-model Mustang? As the gears churned, Stribling sketched out his "Mustang in Black" project: a '68 Mustang fastback with a modern SVT Cobra drivetrain and underpinnings, right down to the ABS braking system and independent rear suspension.

As the owner of DVS Restorations in Crawfordsville, Indiana, Stribling is well-versed in vintage Mustangs. In fact, DVS specializes in concours Mustang restorations, so it seems strange that the company would embark on such a wild, restomod-like undertaking. But the restoration knowledge played right into Stribling's hands.

"It's not a restomod," Stribling states emphatically. "Restomods take advantage of aftermarket parts and outside engineering efforts. The Mustang in Black project was designed from the beginning to be a true hybrid vehicle using classic styling and the latest Ford engineering. Ford parts, old and new, were used wherever possible."

Stribling was strict in adhering to his objective of maintaining the '68 Mustang's external appearance, with no extra scoops or fender flares for the body or non-factory items in the interior. Unless you open the hood or peer underneath, you don't realize you're looking at anything other than a nice '68 fastback.

But pop the louvered hood and you're in for a treat. The '68 Mustang's engine compartment is crammed fender to fender with a '99 Cobra 4.6L four-valve powerplant, a 320hp monster obtained from Ford Racing Performance Parts; and modified shock towers. In keeping with the Ford-only theme, the engine remains stock-as if it needed more power anyway-right down to the 57mm throttle body, hoses, wiring, sensors, and fasteners. Scanning the engine bay, you'll spot other late-model clues, like the radiator and electric fan, plastic power distribution box, and brake master cylinder, all swiped from a '99 Cobra. The only non-Ford item is the Hotchkis caster/camber plate kit, which allows more adjustment than the factory setup. Otherwise, it's a '99 Cobra bolted to a '68 Mustang.

The exhaust system consists of '99 Cobra H-pipes and mufflers in conjunction with custom-bent tailpipes ending with '68 Mustang dual exhaust tips.