It's almost certain that someone building a car coined the phrase, "Well, as long as we're here." That seems to be a steadfast theme for just about any car project, although the term "here" can mean any point in a restoration or restomod project. Bill and Deb Eisinger wanted to build a convertible that was dependable, easy to drive, and one that had modern conveniences, but it also had to stay true to the original form. Bill wasn't above getting his hands dirty and taking on a project of mild to medium depth in order to achieve their goals. If he only knew how dirty his hands would have to get.
Purchased eight years ago out of South Carolina, the car was said to have "significant rust" issues, but they got a good deal on it and had it shipped to Idaho. When Bill started taking the car apart, he found more holes and rust than healthy sheetmetal, and he began wondering if the car shouldn't just be scrapped in favor of one with more of its body intact. Plus, the car had been wrecked at some point and some very questionable sheetmetal repairs were made to make it look straight—it was not. At first, Bill had planned to do most of the work himself, but once he realized the enormity of just getting the car straight enough to begin the project, he elected to let a professional do the lion share of the work.
Though Scott Brideau of Car Concepts in Nampa, Idaho, has extensive experience and knowledge with large involved projects like this, little did he know how "large and involved" it would be. The car was hauled to Scotts shop, and the work began. Bill already had a concept for the end product, utilizing modern suspension and steering, a modular powerplant, and up-to-date styling appointments. A key point was that it must be able to be driven daily, with no hiccups, overheating, or tire rubbing that is sometimes common with show-type cars.
Bill and Scott had a wheel design in their heads, so they went to Boze Alloys to have a custom, one-off set built specifically for his car. Scott used these wheels as the foundation for his entire build, and the result is a perfect ride height, a great stance, and killer styling.
Rather than utilize the original sub-framerails, they opted to order a custom full-frame chassis from Art Morrison built to their specs and equipped with the venerable 9-inch rear axle, four-bar rear suspension, coilover front suspension, rack-and-pinion steering, and 12-inch Wilwood brakes at all four corners. The rails of the frame were actually laid flat rather than upright to gain not only ground clearance, but an actual floor that resembles the original dimensions.
When it was time to choose a drivetrain, Bill had already planned to use the three-valve 4.6, since it has plenty of power, gets decent fuel mileage, and is readily available. Scott came up with the idea to buy a wrecked '05-'09 Mustang. That way, they would have the harness, transmission, and any other part necessary to make the project come to life. They found a wrecked, low-mileage '06 with rear end damage for less than the price of the crate motor originally planned, and yanked the powertrain out and started cleaning it up. Soon after, they started brainstorming about using the interior, and the instrument panel (dash), and even the air conditioning from the '06 on the '67. This idea turned Isadora (more on the car's name later) from a huge project to an enormous undertaking.
Scott started by removing the entire firewall and transmission tunnel from the donor car so the brake booster/master cylinder as well as the whole heater/AC system and dashboard could just stay together as Ford had designed it. Scott then had to redesign how the entire front end of the car would reattach, since the firewall and inner fenders normally support the whole front sheetmetal. Even the wipers from the '06 were used and hidden in the cowl.
As it happens, the instrument panel (or dashboard to us of a certain age) is only slightly wider than the space it occupies in the '67, although extensive mods had to be performed to make it fit along with the late-model heater and A/C components. The '67 door panels were retained, but redesigned with a "nook" to clear the dash when the doors were closed. The unwavering attention to detail in the car can be seen everywhere, yet would be easily mistaken for factory stock without close inspection. Although the wing windows are still on the doors, they are now non-functional due to space constraints, but still retain the stock look, and their modification could be easily be overlooked. Other seemingly small, but technically difficult mods include lengthening the hood and headlight buckets three inches, and utilizing a '69 taillight panel and rear quarter extensions on the modified '67 fastback quarter panels to give a slightly more aggressive "lift" above the rear tires. Scott spent literally hundreds of man hours designing and fitting custom pieces all over the car with the same idea in mind.
"Make it totally one-off, but make it realistically drivable and dependable." Well, he succeeded in both respects. His attention to the little things is apparent in everything from the custom oil filter adapter to trimming and reshaping the bumpers to snug them up against the sheetmetal. Nothing was left untouched. The flawless body was then prepped and shot with this beautiful metallic turquoise blue basecoat/clearcoat PPG color. You can literally read a newspaper in this paint, it's that good.
This car exemplifies style, grace, and beauty, all while concealing a passionate and fiery heart capable of turning stone into clay. Deb decided that her '67 should be named Isadora after turn-of-the-century American dancer, Isadora Duncan, as Deb saw similarities between the two with regard to the convertible's characteristics and attitude. Duncan also met her untimely death in a convertible, thus employing a macabre sense of humor to the build (no scarf wearing in the Mustang for Deb, we hope). The name Isadora stuck, as evidenced by the lettering incorporated onto the trunk lid.
The finished product reflects exactly what Bill and Deb set out for, and to the uninformed spectator, seeing the '67 in passing gives the sense that it is indeed true to the Mustang form, but there's just something about it that's different. They just can't put their finger on it.
Bill and Deb Eisinger's '67 Mustang Convertible
'06 Ford 3-Valve 4.6L V-8
Ford Racing Performance Parts cold air intake
Custom tuning by Restoration Rods (Eagle, Idaho)
Custom 2½-inch stainless steel exhaust
MagnaFlow performance mufflers
Stock '06 Mustang 5R55S automatic and torque converter
Front: Art Morrison independent coilover suspension
Rear: Art Morrison four-link coilover suspension
Front: Wilwood disc, 12-inch rotors
Rear: Wilwood disc, 12-inch rotors
Front: Boze Forged Tach, 17x9
Rear: Boze Forged Tach, 18x10
Front: BFGoodrich g-Force Sport, P235/45ZR17
Rear: BFGoodrich g-Force Sport, P275/40ZR18
'06 Mustang instrument panel, A/C system, center console, and seats; modified '67 Mustang door panels and rear quarter-panels; interior work by Bears Workshop, Caldwell, Idaho
Extensively modified nose section; custom hoodscoop, valance, and grille opening; tightened bumper-to-body clearances; custom rear quarter scoops; modified fastback quarter-panels; '69 Mustang taillight panel; '06 Mustang firewall and floor pans; PPG metallic blue turquoise base/clear paint; all body modifications, sheetmetal prep, and paint by Scott Brideau of Car Concepts, Nampa, Idaho