As popular as the Gone In Sixty Seconds Eleanor look is, there are those that have grown tired of the Pepper Gray and Black striped look. Seminole, Florida's Steve Richmond planned an Eleanor build of his own and from the outset, it was going to be a bit different.
A paint and body man for 23 years, Steve decided in 1998 to go into business for himself and started Dent Solutions, a paint-less dent removal service. It goes without saying that Steve knows how to make a car straight, one way or another. After finding a suitable candidate for his Mustang project, Steve would put those skills to the test over a three-year, 1,300 man-hour buildup.
From its outward appearance, this vivid fastback looks like it came from a high-end shop, and that is a testament to the detailed work that its owner put into it while completing the entire restoration in his two-car garage.
"I had a hurricane-rated, insulated garage door installed to reduce the noise I would be making," Steve recalls. "I was also able to keep it [the garage] air conditioned that way." An HOA would likely be dismayed about someone doing such extensive work in the neighborhood, but Steve went to even greater lengths to make sure that painting at home wouldn't be an issue. Covering most of the garage with plastic sheeting, Steve then opened up the attic door in the garage and installed air filters in the opening so fresh air would be drawn in from the exterior soffits. The main door opening to the garage was fitted with a fan to draw the air out, and Steve built a series of small walls outside the door to muffle, disperse, filter, and otherwise hide the exhaust. Steve was quick to point out that the real key to painting at home was the high-quality filtration setup he installed for his air compressor.
With his workspace dialed in, Steve got to work on the Mustang, which he found out started life as an original 390-powered, GT fastback with air conditioning. Steve considered restoring it once he found out what the numbers said, but he ultimately determined that the car was too far gone to bother with a restoration, and proceeded with the Eleanor conversion.
"It ran and you could drive it, but it was a basket case," Steve tells us. "It was actually in baskets and milk crates. I had to go back the next day to pick up all of the parts." Steve took note of the fastback's poor overall condition, concluding that a previous owner had drag raced the white over red pony car. The 390 was long gone, replaced with a tired 302. And so began hours upon hours of metal work, fiberglass work, and bodywork.
"I was going to do blue with gray stripes, and I looked at a lot of bright blues, but they all had a purple cast to them," Steve says. "I went back to my old standard—pretty much every car I've had has been red." For this build, Steve chose Ford's late-model Redfire Metallic complemented with a likewise modern shade of gray, Tungsten, for the stripes. And like the Pepper Gray, the Eleanor hood wasn't Steve's first choice either. He opted for a fiberglass Shelby-style G.T. 500 hood with louvers—he actually refabricated the louvers to his liking. Steve also planed for a Super Snake stripe down the center of the car, which worked better with the 500s hood lines.
Making sure that this Mustang was no slouch, Steve dropped big money on one of Roush Performance's FE crate engines. The all-aluminum powerplant cranks out 500 hp at the flywheel and more than 550 lb-ft of torque. Backing up the stout engine is a Tremec TKO 600 five-speed manual transmission, and a Fab9 9-inch rearend.