Some of you may remember Don Gasiunas' former Pony project ("Unbridled Lust," July '06), a highly customized convertible that he called "Unbridled"-a nice play on words, in our opinion. It was, in short, his vision of a drop-top '67 Mustang for the 21st century. Turns out someone else must have shared that vision because, shortly after our feature, Don was, let's say, fiscally persuaded to part with his '67-which was quite OK since he always seems to have another project in mind. With a freshly recharged bank account, this time our creative Canadian friend decided to tackle his favorite vintage of Mustang-the '70 Mach 1.
The first job would be finding one. Now, it's generally agreed that a person will ultimately save much money and even more time by starting with the least oxidized steed possible. This can be a real challenge in Canada, where winters seem more like mini ice ages, and the resulting road salt has reduced many a classic car to metallic Swiss cheese. Or red dust. So it may seem odd that Don managed to find the basis for this project in an Ontario barn. The saving grace was that it had fairly recently emigrated from Arizona, leaving its body panels in excellent original shape. Ironically, Don would soon start cutting holes in them.
Actually, the task of body and paint went to A&T Auto Restoration, and the list of metal mods was fairly extensive. Perhaps the most time consuming but also most subtle was the deepening and extension of the rocker panels-subtle, that is, until you observe the size of the stainless oval exhaust tips now protruding through. Check out the exhaust routing detail on our belly shots. A little higher, you'll notice the absence of door handles and keyholes, a clean theme that is echoed in the flush-mounted fuel door and taillights, as well as the frenched projector-beam backup lights on the extended rear valence. Stock bumpers were retained, but are contoured to the body lines, and if you look closely, you'll see that front and rear marker lights (LED) are now frenched into the bumpers' outer corners-a brilliant bit of detailing.
Moving up front, the custom touches continue with a unique valance and fiberglass chin spoiler. Driving lights are now housed in the lower grille opening, inboard of which are small but bright multi-LED turn signal lamps. The front fenders now sport functional, screened heat-extractor vents, and the 1970-only char-acteristic paired "scoops" outboard of the head-lights are now functional as well. More airflow is assured by a pair of louvers in the hood, though the cowl vents are now completely banished. Anyway, we've probably missed lots of stuff, but the overall look is certainly modern, finished off, as it is, by 17x8 rolling stock in the front fenderwells, and honkin' 18x10 hoops out back.
Oh, and don't be misled by the "428 EFI" markings on the fenders, as the FE onboard has in fact been poked and stroked out to 445 inches, though it does indeed utilize FAST XFI electronic fuel injection for the utmost in civilized driveability, despite a solid roller cam that can fairly be described as having some obvious topography. A six-speed Tremec T56 aids in keeping highway revs under control, even with 4.11 cogs out back. See any bundles of wiring? Nope, they're hidden, and most visible parts of the engine have been polished, including the Tru Trac serpentine accessory drive system from Billet Specialties. Survival Motorsports in Detroit, Michigan, built the internally strengthened FE, which was dyno'd at 525 hp and 505 lb-ft on pump gas. We could spend all day describing the ultra-sanitary engine bay, but we only have so many pages.