Donald Farr
Former Editor, Mustang Monthly
August 12, 2011

R&A Motorsports' Jeff Yergovich remembers the moment when he realized he was about to embark on the restoration of two '67 Mustang fastbacks, both Nightmist Blue with the solid-lifter, 271hp 289 High Performance engine and Competition Suspension.

"We somehow luck into those kinds of flukes," Jeff comments. "We've also restored a pair of '68 GT500KR convertibles with consecutive VINs."

The fact that R&A ended up with two Hi-Po fastbacks at the same time is remarkable due to the rarity of the K-code 289 option for '67. With the introduction of the 390 big-block that year, sales for non-Shelby K-code Mustangs dropped to just 489, according to Kevin Marti's MustangàBy the Numbers book. That's way less than the 12,742 Hi-Po Mustangs built during the '65-'66 model years (7,273 for '65 and 5,469 for '66, as stated in Tony Gregory's The 289 High Performance Mustang book). Also possibly hurting sales was the fact that, unlike '65-'66, the 289 High Performance engine (also called the 289 Cobra V-8 in '67 sales literature) was only available when ordered in conjunction with the $205 GT Equipment Group option. As you can imagine, Hi-Po '67 Mustangs are seldom seen today--unless you've recently visited R&A Motorsports.

Over the past two years, R&A, located in Lees Summit, Missouri, near Kansas City, has been working to restore the pair of K-code fastbacks, one a nicely-optioned GTA (automatic) owned by Mike Poston and the other a GT (four-speed) owned by Bob Befort. The cars were completed just in time to make their double debut at ShelbyFest in April.

Both Hi-Po fastbacks are also equipped with the Competition Suspension Package, which was available to replace the Special Handling Package that was standard with the GT Equipment Group for '67. According to Kevin Marti's Ford production database, only 195 Mustangs (non-Shelby) were sold with the Competition Suspension in '67--141 fastbacks, 33 hardtops, and 21 convertibles.

Jeff has determined that the '67 Competition Suspension was the same package used on '67 Shelbys with Ford (early) or Autolite (late) adjustable shocks, heavier-duty springs, larger front sway bar, and 15-inch wheels. Thankfully, Befort's GT still had its original wheels and wheel covers, which are different from all other Mustangs with their 14-inch wheels. Jeff eventually realized that the rims were the same 15x6-inch versions found on '67 Shelbys with wheel covers. Because no other non-Shelby Mustang came with 15-inch wheels, Ford robbed the parts bin to use 15-inch Galaxie wheel covers for the Competition Suspension '67 Mustangs.

The Marti Reports for both cars list 6.70x15 blackwall tires rated at 170 mph. Jeff feels that Competition Suspension '67s came with 15-inch Firestone police tires, which were rated at 170 mph. However, finding eight 44-year-old police tires in N.O.S. condition has proven elusive, so the pair of Hi-Po Mustangs are currently equipped with blackwall Goodyears.

Interestingly, owners Mike Poston and Bob Befort have known Jeff Yergovich for many years. Mike met Jeff nearly 35 years ago through their mutual interest in Mustangs in and around the Kansas City area. As a self-proclaimed "parts hustler," Mike helps R&A Motorsports with "unique parts needs," often pulling pieces out of his own treasure trove of rare Ford performance parts to help with a Yergovich restoration.

Bob recalls meeting Jeff in 1977 when the two were out driving their Shelby Mustangs, Bob in a '67 GT350 and Jeff in a '68 GT350 convertible. They stopped to chat and have been friends ever since, even though Bob moved to the San Francisco area in 1980 after completing pharmacy school. In fact, Jeff's sister-in-law helped Bob land his first job in California at a hospital pharmacy.

R&A Motorsports completed the double restoration last spring. Jeff planned to display the K-code fastbacks together at Oklahoma's Mid America Ford and Team Shelby Nationals in June before delivering the cars to their respective owners. It'll be the first time these rare Hi-Po Mustangs have been apart in four years.

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On the Rare Side

The debut of the 390 big-block took its toll on sales of the 289 High Performance engine in 1967. No doubt influenced by automotive press coverage of the Mustang's first big-block, buyers looking for performance chose the FE's torque over the Hi-Po's high-winding 271 horsepower. According to Kevin Marti's book, Mustang--By the Numbers, Ford sold only 489 '67 Mustangs with the K-code 289 Hi-Po, not counting the 1,174 fastbacks built for Shelby's conversion into GT350s. By contrast, 11,383 were sold with 390 engines.

'67 K-Code 289 High Performance Production

4-speed (5)7720534
C4 auto (W)4311416
Total: 489

Special K-GTA

Mike Poston has owned his '67 K-GTA fastback for over 15 years, having purchased it in the late 1990s from Wayne Curry, who was well-known among Midwestern Mustang and Shelby enthusiasts.

"I went to Wayne's to buy a Sunbeam Tiger," Mike explains. "But I didn't have enough cash so I bought his Hi-Po Mustang instead. It was the car that he took out on Saturday nights to run against the boys."

Although the odometer showed only 56,000 miles, Mike describes the fastback as a "20-footer," presentable from a distance but rough around the edges. At the time, he didn't comprehend the rarity of '67 Hi-Po Mustangs. He continued driving his purchase for another 21,000 miles, eventually replacing Curry's mag wheels with styled steels and adding Tri-Y headers and Shelby aluminum intake. When Marti Reports became available for '67-'73 Mustangs, Mike quickly ordered one and learned that his '67 Mustang was one of only 489 with the 289 Hi-Po engine and one of just 141 fastbacks with the Competition Suspension. When he viewed the list of options, he realized just how well-equipped his GTA was. For a car optioned with the Hi-Po and racing suspension, it sure seemed strange that the original purchaser also checked off the Exterior and Interior D-cor Groups, console, eight-track stereo, and Deluxe seatbelts, among other options. At that point, Mike began collecting parts for a restoration in the future.

The future came sooner than planned when a drunk driver plowed into the rear of the Mustang in 2007 and Mike's K-GTA took its place alongside Bob Befort's K-GT in the R&A Motorsports shop. Although not as rough as Bob's K-GT when the cars arrived at R&A, Yergovich says Mike's GTA posed its own restoration headaches, mainly caused by the number of options with their additional wiring for the overhead console, underhood lighting, and Convenience Group warning lights.

Poston K-GTA Equipment

  • K-code 289 High Performance engine
  • C-4 Cruise-O-Matic Transmission
  • GT Equipment Group
  • Extra Cooling Package
  • Convenience Control Panel
  • 6.70x15 4-ply 170-mph tires, black sidewall
  • Console
  • Sport Deck rear seat
  • AM/8-track stereo radio
  • Exterior D-cor Group
  • Interior D-cor Group
  • Tinted glass
  • Deluxe seat belts
  • Shoulder harness
  • Heavy-duty battery
  • Competition Suspension
  • Tachometer and trip odometer

Special K-GT

Over the years, Bob Befort has purchased (and still owns) a number of '67 Mustangs, including the '67 Shelby GT350 that led to his highway meeting with R&A's Jeff Yergovich in 1977. With a couple of '67 hardtops needing parts, Bob was surfing eBay from his home in northern California in 2004 when he discovered a K-code GT fastback for sale in nearby Hayward. "I drove down the next morning to look at it," Bob recalls. "It looked like just another old junk car in the corner of the lot. I put down a $1,000 deposit on the spot."

The car was rough. The drivetrain was out and parts were stuffed in the trunk. Bob learned that posters on the Hi-Po forum knew about the car. "They said it was too rough to restore," Bob says. But Bob had an ace in the holeùhe knew Jeff Yergovich.

"I knew the restoration was going to be a major deal and Jeff was the obvious choice," Bob says. "In the summer of 2007, I finally made arrangements to deliver the car to R&A Motorsports."

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Bob also tracked down a previous owner. Amazingly, he dug out some of the car's original equipment, including the radiator, rear quarter end caps, and side rearview mirror.

Like Mike Poston halfway across the country, Bob ordered a Marti Report to learn that his car came from the factory with the Competition Suspension. It was also originally equipped with the rarely seen Closed Crankcase Emission system, as used on California cars, which provided yet another restoration challenge for R&A Motorsports. Think about it this way--only 489 '67 Mustangs were built with the 289 Hi-Po engine, meaning only a handful were equipped with California emissions. Using research from Shelby GT350s sold in California, Yergovich was able to determine the correct Thermactor pump and hoses, but a filter canister could not be located. The canister on Bob's Hi-Po engine was hand-fabricated by R&A's sheetmetal magician, Richard Jackson.

After the four-year restoration, Yergovich had hoped to show Bob's K-GT and its twin, Mike Poston's K-GTA, at several Mustang events over the summer. But when we last talked with Bob, he was preparing to bring his car home to California.

"I'm going to the Mid America show in Tulsa," Bob told us, "and should have my car back home by the end of June. I can't wait!"

Befort K-GT Equipment

  • K-code 289 High Performance engine
  • Four-speed manual transmission
  • Nightmist Blue paint
  • Black knitted standard bucket seats
  • GT Equipment Group
  • 3.50 standard axle ratio
  • Electric clock
  • Closed Crankcase Emission system
  • Exhaust emission control
  • 6.70x15 4-ply 170mph tires
  • Deluxe steering wheel
  • Sport Deck rear seat
  • AM radio
  • Competition Suspension

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