Jim Smart
December 11, 2006

At one time, Mustang convertibles were the hot sellers. Everyone wanted a convertible. But it seems that today's buyers are more interested in the performance image of the fastback. This phenomenon dates back to the remake of the movie Gone In 60 Seconds several years ago. People who aren't even interested in cars had to have a '67 Eleanor fastback like the one Nicolas Cage drove in the big chase. Although the Eleanor craze wore itself out in our pages, Gone In 60 Seconds brought renewed interest to the Mustang fastback.

Daniel LePage chose the '67 Mustang fastback for its slippery roofline and outlaw persona. "In my opinion, the '67 fastback is the best Mustang ever built," Daniel tells us. "I love the body lines and have always dreamed of owning one." It was just the right Mustang body in his plan for a renewed personal image and attitude. Daniel got lucky when he got his hands on a '67 with the S-code 390 High Performance engine, purchasing it out of the Sacramento Bee classifieds from the original owner.

Twenty years ago, Daniel might have restored the car to factory original condition, but in 2006, the restomod approach is what everyone is doing, including Daniel. We found him and his '67 fastback last Memorial Day weekend at Restomods In Reno, where Daniel's Mustang looked as if it could have been trailered. It was perfect in every detail thanks to hard work by Daniel and friend Karen Harrison. Karen gets after it right along with Dan when it's time to detail the Mustang they built together.

Dan kept the 390 Hi-Po tolerable in scope, sticking with factory castings and making improvements that would enable the car to go anywhere. This meant a mild hydraulic flat-tappet camshaft with 0.554-inch lift and 230 degree duration. A double-roller timing set ensures accuracy and reliability. Hardened-steel exhaust valve seats make the 390 compatible with unleaded fuel. Forged pistons, although unnecessary for street, were fitted for added measure. When it was time to dial in the induction system, Dan opted for Edelbrock's proven Performer RPM manifold and a Street Demon 750-cfm carburetor from Barry Grant. MSD's billet distributor lights the mixture with pinpoint accuracy. For efficient cooling, an Edelbrock high-flow water pump works in concert with a Griffin aluminum radiator. An aluminum coolant recovery tank keeps the ethylene-glycol/water mix where it belongs even in the hottest conditions.

Ford Performance Applications provided the shorty headers for the FE big-block. They don't get in the way, yet provide exceptional exhaust-gas scavenging on its way to a Dr. Gas crossover pipe and Flowmaster Series 40 mufflers.

Because Dan wanted reliability, he went with a single-wire, 100-amp alternator with an internal regulator. He complemented that with an N.O.S. factory wiring harness.

For shifting, Dan stayed with the reliable and fun Ford Top Loader four-speed with a Hurst Competition Plus shifter, a heavy-duty clutch, and a new driveshaft. Further back is the original 9-inch Limited Slip with 3.25:1 cogs and Moser 28-spline axles.

Auto Meter instrumentation keeps Dan informed about real-time events underhood. He upgraded to '69 Mach 1 seats and a console clad in custom brushed-aluminum to match the car's dash and overhead console. Also inside is an Alpine AM/FM/CD sound system with 6x9 speakers in back and 4x6s in the doors. Four-inch tweeters hit the high ranges while a 100-watt subwoofer thunders the lows.

When Dan first tackled this car, he was committed to taking it down to the bare shell for a first-class job. He spent three months preparing the body for paint, GM's Torch Red in basecoat/clearcoat from PPG. A custom hood hints at Shelby-American with its functional dual-opening scoop. Dan fabricated the custom billet-aluminum grille, so don't ask him where he bought it. The wheels are Edelbrock 409 five-spokes measuring 16x8 front and rear.

Even with 25 years of car-building experience, Dan didn't know how well the car would turn out. He credits Karen for a lot of support and help along with neighbor Jamie Baker. Dave Anderson performed the final prep and paint. Companies like Mustangs Plus and American Mustang provided advice and restomod parts.

Dan's fastback isn't finished. He has plans for a Tremec TKO five-speed to improve fuel economy in today's $3-a-gallon environment. He's also planning electronic fuel injection. Once that's done, he's headed for open track driving and a some more fast, quick, and hot fastback fun.