Jim Smart
November 17, 2016
Contributers: Courtesy Of The Manufacturers

Paul Gammerino invited Car Craft to MFFOC for a shop tour and a close look at one of the more fascinating Mustang projects we've ever seen in a career spanning 30-plus years. Affectionately named the MFFOC "Showroom Fastback" and clad in rich 1965 Ford Poppy Red, this once rough and tumble six-cylinder classic has been many years in the making, but well worth the wait.

Paul Gammerino and the team at MFFOC spent significant time on the showroom floor and in the shop building the "Showroom Fastback Project." By the time we caught up with Paul in front of the big glass window facing Main Street in Santa Ana, California, it was time to deck the Ford Performance/Edelbrock crate small-block.

Long before MFFOC even opened its doors nearly a decade ago, Paul was hard at work trying to find a classic Mustang fastback project he could build into a restomod for his own personal enjoyment with his wife, Michelle. In 2003 Paul unearthed this fastback not far away in Long Beach. He bought the car and hauled it home.

Paul methodically disassembled the car and cataloged every part. He wound up with a raw steel shell and what seemed like acres of bagged and boxed parts. What Paul had before him was a blank canvas he could take anywhere. Three years later, he had the body mediablasted down to bare steel, then turned it over to Quigley's Auto Body in Lake Forest, California for bodywork and paint. The result has been remarkable: ready for a gala showroom build at the new MFFOC shop in suburban Los Angeles.

Look at what you can do with a Ford Performance crate small-block. MFFOC built on Ford's basic bones with Edelbrock performance parts, including induction and a cool bolt-on electronic fuel-injection system. For a stealthy look, they painted this entire engine Ford Corporate Blue for a cool blend of bling and blue. A Powermaster high-amp alternator keeps the battery at full capacity.
Timeless American Racing Mini Lites make the ride much as they always do. You can put this wheel on nearly anything and improve its demeanor.

Paul's original game plan was to do the car in Rangoon Red with white Shelby GT350 stripes. It wasn't until Paul and Michelle discovered the car was originally Poppy Red that they shifted gears and cladded this slippery fastback in its original factory color. With a painted body fresh from Quigley's, Paul carefully placed the body in MFFOC's Main Street Santa Ana showroom in front of a big glass window and went to work. He laid all of the Mustang's parts out in a long corridor across the showroom window. Those driving by caused traffic jams as they slowed down for a look on a very busy street. Those on foot stopped and pressed their noses to the glass to behold the ongoing process of Mustang assembly.

Paul's vision was to build a great, fun-to-drive, classic Mustang without all of the drawbacks of a traditional vintage automobile: a fuel-injected Ford Performance small-block V8 with Edelbrock electronic fuel injection and MSD ignition, Ford's AOD transmission, a 9-inch Ford rear end with Detroit Truetrac and 3.73:1 gears, four-wheel power disc brakes with Porterfield performance friction pads, functional Shelby-style brake cooling ducts, an adjustable Global West coilover front suspension, Borgeson worm-and-sector power steering to eliminate the leaky Bendix, 4-1/2-leaf mid-eye rear springs with KYB shock absorbers, a 19681969 Mustang/Cougar collapsible steering column with Borgeson power steering and Saginaw pump, and subframe connectors underneath to bolster the platform.

Inside, the fastback is all business in monochrome matte-black powdercoat amid a world of white appointments. Even the headlight and wiper switch knobs are black powdercoated and marked in white. MFFOC took the first-generation Mustang's vanilla Falcon inner world and injected liberal portions of salsa. We're talking LeCarra leather-wrapped steering wheel, Nissan 350ZX bucket seats clad in leather, Auto Meter instrumentation, a Scott Drake Rally-Pac, Custom Autosound Secret Audio, a Rockford-Fosgate amp and subwoofer, Classic Auto Air electronic climate control, and Electric Life power windows.
Upgrades to the sound system include a Rockford-Fosgate amp and subwoofer and the Custom Autosound Secret Audio package in the cabin.

We learn from Paul and the MFFOC staff about how dreams are built. Dreams are conceived and built here because Paul and his staff are enthusiasts—not number-crunchers—and seasoned car builders who understand what passion for automobiles is. Putting a Mustang restoration project on display was not only a great marketing approach but a demonstration for the public about how restorations are professionally performed.

Edelbrock/Weber throttle-body digital electronic fuel injection made perfect sense for the Showroom Fastback. The beauty of Edelbrock's EFI is the simplicity of plug-and-play technology.
It's the little details that set Showroom Fastback apart from the rest. We like this hood bumper, which is striking and sets the hoodline. This is the kind of detail we should all consider in the course of a restomod build.
You have to admire MFFOC's craftsmanship here with the Mustang's traditional honeycomb grille down below in the Shelby valance. This grille was custom-fabricated by MFFOC.
Underneath, MFFOC workmanship shines with exceptional attention to detail. That's a Ford AOD transmission splined into 3.73:1 9-inch cogs. Those are 2-1/2-inch powdercoated pipes with an X-pipe midship. Note the use of custom-fabricated fuel lines and Grade 8 hardware throughout.
Spintech side-exit exhausts give the Showroom Fastback attitude. The 9-inch Ford sports locking 3.73:1 gears. When you tie these gears to a Ford AOD you get the benefit of overdrive for a nice mix of open road and traffic-light performance.
An inline electric fuel pump feeds Edelbrock's electronic fuel injection. This is all custom-fabricated by MFFOC.
A complete Global West front-suspension system makes the Showroom Fastback feel like it's on rails in hard canyon cutting. It keeps the Dunlops glued to the firmament.
Paul Gammerino is a car guy born with a talent for car building and an eye for detail that enables him and his winning staff to turn heads at car shows.
MFFOC's well-appointed service and restoration shop is equipped to handle both routine maintenance and complete restorations.

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