Buying a car is always an interesting experience. Sometimes it goes well and you get more than you first thought. Other times, it doesn't go so well and you end up with a car that needs much work. The latter is what befell Dr. Don Campbell.
Don picked up a '68 Mustang fastback with the intention of turning it into a Shelby-style restified ride. Knowing that to complete such a project would require a considerable amount of time and effort, our man decided to trust the car's transformation to Allan Shepley at Mustang Central in Byron, Georgia. Allan has been a Mustang nut for just about forever, having started with a '71 Boss 351 back in 1977.
"I used to build cars at my dad's shop as a hobby," says Allan. "Then, after working a regular job for a number of years, I decided to venture out on my own, buying wrecked Mustangs-mainly Fox-body cars, and parting them out or fixing them up. In 1995, the friend I was sourcing a lot of the cars from decided to sell his business. His son wasn't interested and I didn't want to see the business go under. His name was John Ballew and he had about 375 Mustangs on his property, including a lot of older stuff. I bought the land, the building, the cars, and that was how Mustang Central was formed."
As the years have passed, business has remained steady and Allan has decided to focus more of his attention on classic Mustangs. "About 65 percent of our business is now building and working on restomods."
So, getting back to our cover car, Allan had agreed to take on Don's project. Armed with truck and trailer, he went over to his residence to pick it up. "When I first laid eyes on it, the car didn't look bad," recalled Allan, "but when I got it back to the shop and we started tearing it apart, that's when the Mustang started revealing its true colors."
Basically, it was a mess. "Somebody had done a real hack-job putting it together," he said. "Once the interior and everything was out of it, we noticed that it had double floorpans and trunk floors. Instead of doing floor replacement properly by cutting out the old floor completely and installing the replacements, new floors had been placed over the old. It was something else."
Making matters worse was the taillight panel. "Like the floors, this had been botched as well, with a new skin placed over the original," Allan said. "We had to cut it out anyway to replace it with a Shelby taillight panel, but still, it was quite amazing to see the extent of the so-called repairs that had been done to this car. Ultimately, we ended up replacing about 50 percent of the sheetmetal in this fastback."
As bad as the car might have been, and the fact that it turned into a full restoration and modified build, it actually wasn't the worst Allan has seen. "Over the years, we've had all kinds of cars come in here," he said. "I've seen Mustangs with cardboard and chicken wire in the rocker panels, stop signs in the floor and one with a leaking cowl panel that had three or four tubes of silicon glued in to try and stop the water."
Of course, once the car had been stripped, it was time to call Don and tell him the condition it was in. "When I called him, he took it pretty well," said Allan. "He was pretty calm. He understood the situation and he wanted to make sure that this time the car was done right."
So with Don's blessing, Allan and crew got back to work at Mustang Central. Stripped to bare metal, and with the last vestiges of the previous body work removed, the '68 was now ready for the transformation into a cool cruiser with a Shelby twist.