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

Step By Step

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Mump_0602_14z 1968_ford_mustang_fastback Switches
Wherever possible, Stribling adapted vintage to modern. A NOS speed control switch, shown here under the dash to the left of the '68 GT fog light switch, works in conjunction with the Set button at the end of the turn-signal stalk.
Mump_0602_16z 1968_ford_mustang_fastback Kick_panel
DVS cleverly modified the passenger-side kick panel to hide the EEC V computer.
Mump_0602_17z 1968_ford_mustang_fastback Detailing
Dave Stribling even threw in his own detailing tricks.
Mump_0602_18z 1968_ford_mustang_fastback Dave_stribling
David Stribling has reason to smile-he's successfully combined the best of both worlds with his '68 Mustang/'99 Cobra hybrid.
Mump_0602_19z 1968_ford_mustang_fastback Relocated_battery
For underhood space considerations as well as weight transfer, the modern maintenance-free battery in an Autolite case is placed-Boss 429-style-in the trunk. Next to it is a remote six-disc CD changer. Underneath the trunk mat is a '68 Mustang fuel tank equipped with a custom-modified '99 Cobra dual fuel pump.

Externally, the fastback is all vintage Mustang, restored like a concours show car and painted in BASF black urethane and clearcoat. Besides the wheels, there are only two other deviations from stock: The C-stripes are subtle with charcoal color to match the wheels, while the black-out grille hides a pair of Hella Black Magic driving lights.

Many of the components and conversion kits developed during the building of the Mustang in Black are now available from DVS Restorations. Of course, DVS will be glad to build another complete car to your specifications.

It's been over five years since David Stribling's light bulb moment. Now he's finally got a completed car to showcase, one with totally vintage looks and thoroughly modern SVT Cobra technology.

Behind The Wheel
During the Derby City Mustang Club's September in the Park show in Carrollton, Kentucky, Dave Stribling and I slipped away for a drive in the Mustang in Black '68 fastback. I was curious to experience the vintage/modern creation firsthand on the curvy Kentucky backroads.

Basically, the car sounds, drives, and accelerates like a '99 Cobra, only you're looking out over the long, twin-louvered hood of a '68 Mustang. The senses struggle with conflict because the view from behind the steering wheel is all vintage, yet mashing the '68-style accelerator pedal results in the smooth, powerful rush that comes only from a modern four-valve modular engine. The '68 steering wheel itself is huge with the familiar thin rim, but the turning effort is minimal and there's none of the center free-play that's so common with the old-style steering boxes. The shifter also has a familiar feel, albeit a bit notchy thanks to the T-45, so it's weird to shift out of fourth and into fifth.

Notably-but thankfully-missing is the rough, bumpy ride we've become accustomed to with the Mustang's solid rear axle. With the IRS, the Mustang in Black glides over pot-holes and rough surfaces. It's like riding in an old Mustang that rides like a new Mustang Cobra.

Which is exactly what David Stribling had in mind.

Do It Yourself
The research and development for DVS's Mustang in Black project has resulted in a number of available kits and components so others can duplicate some or all of the conversions. Some were still under development at press time so check the Web site for current availability.

  • Engine Mount to Frame Mount assemblies
  • 4.6 Front Sump Oil Pan
  • Shock Tower Plates
  • Oil Filter Relocation kit
  • Engine Wiring Harness
  • Dash Conversion kit
  • IRS Mounting kit ('67-'70 Mustangs)
  • McPherson Strut Conversion kit