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

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Mump_0602_12z 1968_ford_mustang_fastback Interior
Hiding within the well-optioned '68 deluxe interior are a number of modern refinements, including power windows and door locks, cruise control, and traction control override.
Mump_0602_08z 1968_ford_mustang_fastback Caster
Hotchkis caster/camber plates are among the few aftermarket items used in DVS's Mustang in Black. They help adapt the '99 Cobra front struts to the shock towers and also provide more adjustment.
Mump_0602_09z 1968_ford_mustang_fastback Cobra_suspension
A McPherson Strut Front Conversion kit, soon to be available from DVS, adapts the '99 Cobra front suspension, including 13-inch disc brakes and rack and pinion steering, to the '68 Mustang subframe.
Mump_0602_10z 1968_ford_mustang_fastback Irs
Ford worked on an independent rear suspension for the early Mustang back in the '60s, but it was not as refined as this one from a '99 Cobra. A kit is available from DVS to install a late-model IRS, either used from a wrecked Cobra or new from DVS, into a '67-'70 Mustang.
Mump_0602_13z 1968_ford_mustang_fastback Speedo
Behind the vintage-looking faceplate is an Auto Meter electronic speedometer. Stribling created a 160-mph face to replace the original 120-mph version.
Mump_0602_15z 1968_ford_mustang_fastback Radio
The console's sliding door conceals an aftermarket Alpine receiver. Clear CD music comes from a six-disc changer located in the trunk.

To utilize the Cobra's T45 five-speed transmission, Stribling designed a universal-fit crossmember and lengthened the driveshaft to accommodate the longer '68 Mustang chassis. To position the shifter correctly in the '68 Mustang, a unique off-set shifter adapter was created to move the shifter handle rearward. The knob includes a five-speed pattern in the '68 style instead of four-speed, and the circular ring used originally in '68 to release the reverse lock-out now serves as a traction control override.

We've seen late-model modular drivetrains in vintage Mustangs before, so the 4.6 engine swap isn't totally out of the ordinary. However, DVS's adaptation of the '99 Cobra front suspension and independent rear suspension to a '68 Mustang chassis takes the merging of old and new technology to a new level.

At the front, DVS designed a McPherson Strut Conversion kit, soon to be available separately, to adapt the '99 Cobra front suspension to the '68 Mustang. It utilizes the factory lower control arms, rack-and-pinion steering, and 13-inch Cobra brake rotors and calipers, along with Koni shocks and Ford Racing lowering springs.

Likewise, DVS offers a kit for mounting the '99-and-later Cobra IRS rear suspension in a vintage Mustang. Designed around the brackets needed to attach the IRS-either used or a new assembly from DVS-to the vintage Mustang's rear sub-frame, the kit tucks the IRS neatly beneath the car to provide late-model ride and handling. Rear disc brakes and Koni coil-over shocks are also used. The kit works only with '99-'04 Cobra IRS units, not Thunderbird versions. An emergency brake kit adapts the '68 Mustang's factory emergency brake handle to the late-model Mustang's cables. The wheels are Ford Racing 17x8, vintage-style five-spokes, as used on late-model GTs, with Goodyear Eagle 245/45ZR17 tires.

There are also some tricks up Stribling's sleeve for the interior. Yes, it appears to be a stock '68 Mustang interior, nicely optioned with the Interior Dcor Group, floor and roof consoles, fold-down rear seat, tilt-away steering, and woodgrain steering wheel. But to bring the comfort and convenience level up to late-model standards, power windows, power door locks, and cruise control are stealthily included. The Electrolift power windows are mated to Hotronics switches so the original window cranks can operate the windows up and down, while SPAL power door locks are remote controlled to eliminate the need for additional door panel buttons. For cruise control, Stribling mated '99 Cobra electronics to new-old-stock '68 cruise control switches, including the Set switch on the end of the turn signal stalk and the underdash on/off switch. Air conditioning is a combination of late-model compressor with modern R134 and vintage dash controls.

Mating the original-style speedometer and tachometer to the modern sensors proved to be one of the more challenging aspects of the project. Electing to go with a 160-mph speedo but using original-style numbering, Stribling discovered an Auto Meter electronic 160-mph speedometer that not only worked with the electronic '99 Cobra sensing, it also was a match for the instrument panel and original-size faceplate. For the tach, Stribling located an original 8,000-rpm unit, used with performance '68 Mustangs, and adapted it through a Ford Racing tach-driver, which converts the late-model 35-pulse-per-rev signal into four-pulse, as used by vintage tachometers. It wasn't quite that easy: Some rewiring was required, but in the end, Stribling got his fully-operational vintage speedometer and tachometer.

For modern music, Stribling mounted a Alpine receiver behind the console's sliding door. Because the factory opening is not wide enough to accommodate the insertion of CDs, a six-disc CD changer resides in the trunk, along with the battery and late-model space-saver spare tire.