Jim Smart
November 6, 2012

Charlie Richards has been acquainted with this '67 Mustang since his aunt and uncle bought it new in September of 1966. Even then, Charlie was fond of the car for its Dark Moss Green color, big-block power with four-speed, Interior Decor Group, and AM/FM radio. Unusually, it wasn't a GT, but instead a base-model Mustang optioned with the 390 High Performance V-8. When his aunt and uncle decided to unload the Mustang in 1972, Charlie was front and center with the thousand bucks it took to drive it home. He never dreamed it would still be with him decades later. While working a part-time summer job at an auto body shop in the 1970s, Charlie stripped the Mustang and repainted it in the original Dark Moss Green. Amazingly, the same acrylic enamel finish is still on the car today.

"Early on, the Mustang didn't do very well in local car shows," Charlie tells us. "But around 2000, it started taking first place awards, 37 so far, plus a couple of Best of Show awards." Charlie attributes the success to molding the car to what people wanted to see. He added American Racing Torq-Thrust wheels for a Bullitt look, underride traction bars, and quad exhaust tips. He also dressed up the 390, which is the original numbers-matching engine that was rebuilt by Pat Law of Willard's Automotive in Canoga Park, California. Pat enhanced the performance with Edelbrock Performer RPM induction, a 750-cfm Holley, a Mallory ignition, and 428 Cobra Jet exhaust manifolds that exit into 2-1/2-inch pipes with Magnaflow mufflers.

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What appeals to us most about Charlie's fastback is its stealthy modifications. Charlie put his Mustang's Top Loader four-speed on the shelf, opting for a Tremec T-5 five-speed to keep the revs down on the open road. The beauty of the Tremec overdrive and 3.50:1 rear cogs is having your cake and eating it too; you can go crazy in gears one through four, then slip into a more comfortable fifth gear for high-speed cruising. The 17x8-inch American Torq-Thrust wheels are wrapped in BFGoodrich tires, P215/45/ZR17 front and P245/45/ZR17 in back. Did you notice the subtle "390" in red above the traditional pony tri-bar emblem on the front fenders? Inside, Jack's Auto Interiors in Tarzana gets credit for the nice upholstery work on the stock black vinyl seats with head rests.

For great drivability, Marlon Mitchell at Marlo's Frame & Alignment in Chatsworth added Granada front discs and Marlon's own Blueprint suspension components. Underneath are subframe connectors for solid support. Braided brake hoses make things a lot safer. When we asked Charlie about the most challenging aspect of ownership over 40 years, he replied, "Mostly the money. I rebuilt the car over a period of 20 years as I was able to afford each project."

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