Dana Bowers remembers his first car like it was yesterday. Built more than three dec-ades ago when he was the tender age of 18, his '68 Olds Cutlass got him started in the hobby. The adventure, encompassing more than six years and considerable cash from the young man's wallet, resulted in a completely rebuilt car, boasting a high-performance engine, an 800-watt sound system, and a beautiful Metallic Root Beer paintjob. The car was great fun to drive and had an unexpected benefit, since Dana thinks it might have even caught the attention of Annette, the beautiful girl next door who would later become his wife.
Both he and Annette were car lovers, but when the kids came along and life's responsibilities got in the way, the custom car gave way to higher priorities. The thought was always there, however, that when the children were grown they would get back into the sport. Time passed and after three children and two grandchildren, the moment was finally right to change old memories into realities. He had always liked classic Mustangs, so that seemed like a good place to start. They looked at some Mach 1s and some second-generation fastbacks but it was an Internet car that really got his attention. He found a '66 fastback and contacted the seller to let him know he was interested. Unfortunately, weeks went by with no response. About the time they were giving up on ever seeing that car, Dana got a phone call from the owner in Nashville, Tennessee. He still had the Mustang and was interested in selling it.
A road trip with friends and family left balmy South Florida in November 2007, only to arrive in Nashville where the temperature was 60 degrees colder! The shorts and T-shirts were quickly replaced with warmer clothes, but the chilly weather was quickly forgotten when the crew first saw the Mustang. The owner had used it exclusively for quarter-mile drag racing. Rust-free and with smooth sheetmetal, the car had a 5.0L roller cam engine from a '93 Mustang Cobra and a Top Loader four-speed transmission with just a little more than 1,000 miles! When the owner cranked the engine it started immediately, creating a flood of old memories for Dana.
The deal was made and the team trailered the car back to Fort Myers, thawing out in the process. Along the way, Dana was already dreaming of the way he would shape the new family hot rod. Since it was not a numbers-matching car and there were so many cool aftermarket items available, the first year was spent in upgrading all the basics. The mechanical makeover began with front and rear disc conversions from Stainless Steel Brakes Corporation. The combination of power rack-and-pinion steering from Unisteer Performance Products, Street Bandit front and rear racing suspension, and Coy's 17-inch C-5 wheels with Nexen rubber, paved the way for the Mustang's introduction to the 21st century. The 5.0L V-8 needed very little help coping with the automotive time warp, thanks to a hot rodder's dream sheet of performance parts that began with forged TRW pistons, a Comp cam, an MSD ignition, and Ford Racing aluminum heads and intake, fed by a 600-cfm Edelbrock carb. Hooker Headers and dual Flowmasters completed the performance package, adding a mellow rumble to the rejuvenated Pony. Keeping the driver in close touch, the four-speed Top Loader trans with Hurst close-ratio shifter multiplies the power sent to the 3.80-geared 8-inch rearend. The experts at Modified Motorsports in Fort Meyers, Jack Katzias and Robbie Simon, took charge of the mechanical upgrades, making sure that all the new parts worked together in harmony.