Elvis impersonators; wealthy, gray-templed, middle-aged Wall Streeters doing that counter culture Easy Rider thing on well-dressed Harleys; daredevil bungee jumpers quaking in their shoes on high bridges; armchair aviators who spend their lives joy-sticking a flight simulator on personal computers [Hey, wait a minute!-Ed.]; pseudo tough guys playing war games in the woods with paintball guns. What do all of these people have in common? They aspire to be something or someone they're not. Of course, this isn't a bad thing, as imitation has always been the sincerest form of flattery.
People who build Mustangs to look like a classic Shelby model are an integral part of this "wanna be" crowd. They like what they see in real Shelby Mustangs, so they build a replica they can afford. There has always been a lot of controversy about Shelby clones. Purists despise them. Even the most daring hobbyists approach them cautiously, yet the masses continue to build them. There are more Shelby replicas than there are authentic Shelby cars (this holds true for most desirable classic cars, such as Z/28 Camaros and Hemi 'Cuda convertibles).
Do something over the top, and everyone wants to be like you. Carroll Shelby had no idea the sensation he created 44 years ago when Ford's Lee Iacocca invited him to give the new Mustang a performance image. All Shelby and his team at Shelby American did was turn the already-striking Mustang into a high-performance ponycar. They made it handle. They gave it more power. And they splashed on graphics with exciting body nuances to make the car more visually stimulating. It goes without saying that Shelby created a persona that people remain nutty about to this day. Young people who weren't even a flicker in the universe 44 years ago love classic Shelby Mustangs for their adrenaline-charged attitude.
When Lin Ramsey decided to build a '67 Shelby GT350 clone, he had no intention of trying to pass this car off as the real thing; he just knew what he wanted. He caught wind of this '67 Mustang fastback from his car club and a friend at his local Napa Auto Parts store. In fact, the car wasn't for sale, but there was the feeling it could be purchased given the right kind of perseverance. It was a restoration project that was collecting dust and progressing very, very slowly.
Lin set up a meeting with the owner and looked at the car. It lacked a driveline and interior and was obviously a long way from completion. This is where the absence of drive to complete a project pays off in another way because it brings with it an opportunity for someone else. Lin managed to talk the guy into selling. When he got it home, there were a lot of parts that had to be cataloged and properly stored. The process took several days and fostered abundant confusion as Lin had to figure out what went where, and what was still needed.
Luckily for Lin, the Mustang's body had solid floors, little rust, and was ready for finish work and paint. This made the trip to completion easier. He performed the bodywork and painting himself, cladding his ride in '00 Jaguar British Racing Green PPG two-stage paint and adding GT350 stripes in Ford Performance White. Lin bought his Shelby fiberglass from Mustangs Unlimited and spent a good deal of time massaging it to perfection because fiberglass is never anything you just bolt on.
When you've created a sexy, good-looking Mustang body and managed to massage it to a state of Shelby hot, it's important to be able to live up to the image Carroll and Team Shelby created. Lin didn't get ahead of himself here, either. He knew he needed a platform that could stand up to a lot of power-a reliable braking system, exceptional handling; in other words, an awesome support system. Instead of the Falconesque coil-on-upper arm suspension, he went with Fatman Fabrications' coilover strut conversion in front and Grab-A-Trak five-leaf mid-eye springs from Mustangs Plus out back. This combination kept costs in line while offering outstanding handling. Since the Fatman kit used late-model SN-95 Mustang spindles, he opted for production Ford/PBR 12-inch front discs.
A 9-inch Lincoln Versailles rearend houses a Detroit Truetrac midsection with 3.50 gears and 28-spline axles. Lin rebuilt the 11-inch Versailles rear discs to complete the four-wheel-disc setup. On the ground are Vintage 45s and Continental Extreme Contact skins. You've got to hand it to Lin for the way this steed hugs the ground from any angle. From behind, the fat tires and classic wheels give this thing a real take-no-prisoners attitude, a car that can smoke the skins at will, taking on all who dare throw down the gauntlet.
The darned thing lends the same impression from the front. That extended fiberglass nose and wide stance give the impression this '67 is ready to pounce. If in doubt, just ask Editor Houlahan, as he braved one of those Southern fire-ant mounds to capture "the look" and somehow lived to talk about it.
You may not believe this, but Lin built this engine, along with help from Craig Meyer, while he was restoring the body, a mammoth task for even the most seasoned automotive refurbisher with plenty of help. That's a 351W raised-deck small-block stroked to 408ci thanks to an Eagle stroker kit sporting forged JE flat-top pistons and 6.200-inch steel I-beam rods. The 4340 steel billet crank gives this engine a 4-inch stroke-rotund mechanical advantage-and pure powerhouse performance from what used to be 351 ci.
On top of the fortified Windsor are AFR aluminum heads with barstool-sized 2.02/1.60-inch stopcocks amid 64cc chambers. A single-plane Edelbrock Victor Jr. intake manifold is port-matched to those AFR heads. Barry Grant provides 750-cfm Mighty Demon atomization. As you might expect, Lin placed his trust in an MSD Pro Billet distributor and 6AL box to get the mixture lit. Lunati Cams gets the valves boppin' with a generous amount of lift in excess of 1/2 inch along with exceptional lungfulls of duration.
When you stroke a 351 to 408 ci, you no longer have a small-block displacementwise; you have a big-block. That means you have to treat the entire platform as though you have a big-block. Lin looked to Hedman Hedders for 15/8-inch Jet Hot-coated shorty headers into huge 3-inch sewer-pipe collectors, through a Dr. Gas x-type crossover, and to 21/2-inch Flowmaster Series 50s for an extraordinarily quiet throat. Because we're talking big-block displacement and torque here, a Tremec World Class T-5 would never survive. That's why Lin stuffed a Tremec 3550 five-speed in the tunnel for added measure along with a heavy-duty clutch and billet flywheel.
Inside, Lin didn't cut any corners. We love those '93 Mustang GT bucket seats clad in rich Saddle/tan tweed cloth and vinyl for comfort and good looks. They look as if they were factory made for this car-and that's what good restomodding is all about. Those are cool Auto Meter Phantom instruments from JME Enterprises. Mid-dash is an Alpine sound system and CD player along with a 400-watt Kicker amp in the trunk area. When Lin turns on his sound system, streetlights dim for miles around.
Lin wound up with the fastback that ultimately became the car of his dreams, which, come to think of it, gives the rest of us something to reach for.
Linwood Ramsey's '67 Mustang Fastback GT350 Clone
408ci Windsor V-8
Eagle4340 stroker crank
Eagle 6.200-inch I-beam rods
JE flat-top pistons
Lunati hydraulic roller cam, 0.544/0.560-inch lift, 290/242-degree duration
AFR cylinder heads, 2.02/1.60-inch valves, port-matched and polished
Crane roller rockers, 1.6:1 ratio
Edelbrock Victor Jr. single-plane manifold
Barry Grant 750-cfm Mighty Demon
MSD Pro Billet with 6AL ignition
Tremec 3550 five-speed
Lincoln Versailles 9-inch
3.50 Richmond gears
Detroit Truetrac differential
Hedman shorty headers, 3-inch collectors
Dr. Gas x-style crossover
21/2-inch inlet/outlet Flowmaster Series 50s mufflers
Front: Fatman Fabrications bolt-in coilover strut, QA-1 struts, ididit steering column
Rear: Mustangs Plus Grab-A-Trak five-leaf mid-eye springs, Cal Trac traction bars, Edelbrock IAS shocks, custom subframe connectors
Front: SN-95 Mustang PBR 12-inch disc, two-piston caliper
Rear: Lincoln Versailles 11-inch disc, single-piston caliper
Front: Vintage 45, 16x8-inch, 41/2-inch offset
Rear: Vintage 45, 16x8-inch, 41/2-inch offset
Front: Continental Extreme Contact, P225/60VR16
Rear: Continental Extreme Contact, P225/60VR16
'93 Mustang GT bucket seats, custom Saddle/tan cloth and vinyl, leather-wrapped shifter handle, LeCarra steering wheel, JME Enterprises instrumentation with Auto Meter Phantom gauges, Alpine CDE9845 CD receiver, 400-watt Kicker amp, 61/2-inch speaker kick panels, 4x6-inch lower door speakers, Custom Autosound Sound Bar for trap door, Bazooka amp in trunk, three-point belts, Auto Custom Carpet correct weave in brown, interior by W.H. Shadburn, Macon, Georgia
'00 Jaguar British Racing Green, PPG two-stage, Le Mans stripes are painted Ford Performance White, Shelby fiberglass from Mustangs Unlimited