Jerry Heasley
June 27, 2007

Steve Wilkes owns one of the most interesting restomods we've ever encountered. Because his '66 Caspian Blue GT fastback looks so stock, much of the handiwork goes unnoticed. The kit he developed and sells from his Carrollton, Texas, shop to adapt '94-'04 Cobra brakes to '65-'66 Mustang spindles is a good example.

"You don't even have to pull the spindles off," Steve says. "The rotors fit the original drum-brake studs perfectly. I built an aluminum adapter that bolts onto the original drum-brake spindle."

In most cases, 17x8-inch Bullitt wheels from '01-'04 Mustang GTs require a 1-inch spacer up front to prevent the inside of the front wheels from bumping into the vintage Mustang's upper control arms, but Steve narrowed his front wheels to 17x7 for clearance without the spacer. "The wheel fits as though it belongs there," he says. "To narrow the wheel, a cut was made about 1 inch inside the bead on the inner part. Once the outer bead and wheel lip were taken off, a 31/44-inch ring was removed from what was left. The previously removed outer lip and bead were then welded back together. The 31/44-inch slice and two kerfs of the cutoff tool on the lathe add up to 1 inch removed. I used 235x45/17 tires up front with my Cobra brake setup. The finished wheel has a 4.72-inch backspacing, and the face of the wheel looks identical to the unmodified 17x8 ones on the rear."

The more we analyzed this '66, the more we realized that Steve isn't just a restomodder. He really enjoys developing parts as he modifies his '66 Mustang, which is how this build progressed. Steve sells his parts and posts answers to tech questions on his Web site,

"The car was a basket case when I bought it in 1992. Everything that has ever been done to it, I did myself. I painted it. I recovered the seats. I rebuilt the engine. I installed the five-speed."

Steve goes past doing the actual work. A T-5 is a popular transmission for first-generation Mustang restomods. Steve went a step further by designing his own cable clutch setup.

"I enjoy modifying and installing late-model parts," he says. "What I really attempted to build is something that has late-model features and more convenience."