Peter Faull's '68 Mustang GT "Green Hornet" tribute
Does the concept of a fully Shelby-ized '68 Mustang coupe powered by a fuel-injected Cobra Jet FE sound vaguely familiar? When Peter Faull stumbled across a solid '68 390 GT coupe for sale back in 2000, he originally planned a stock restoration, but then got to thinking about the Green Hornet.
We refer not to the schmaltzy half-hour '60s series that starred a masked Van Williams and Bruce Lee, but rather to the one-off engineering exercise crafted by Shelby Automotive in the spring of 1968. Shelby's metallic-green "EXP 500" coupe, nicknamed the Green Hornet, combined a formal hardtop body style with full GT350/GT500-style exterior accoutrements. This singular sedan also wore a disc brake-equipped independent rear suspension setup bolted to a production Mustang's leaf-spring mounting points, and had a transplanted 428CJ underhood, plumbed with a prototype electronic fuel-injection system. Inspirational stuff, right? Peter thought so too, and started planning a project that turned into what we like to think of as Yellow Jacket-Son of Green Hornet. Blame us, not Peter, for that moniker.
Like Shelby's starting point for the Green Hornet, Peter began Yellow Jacket with a GT coupe that had been born at the factory with a 390/C6 combo. Also following Shelby's example, he soon pulled and set aside that original drivetrain 'cause he had something a little manlier in mind. Living in London, Ontario, he's not all that far from the west-Detroit headquarters of FE experts, Survival Motorsports, whom he soon contracted to build a 428-based stroker sized at a generous 465 cubic inches. Following the original script, a plain, old carburetor just wouldn't do, and while the Green Hornet's "Conelec" fuel injection was a complete oddity for its day, the sight of an injected FE is unusual even today. Nowadays, Edelbrock makes a Victor (single-plane) FE manifold bunged for injectors, but Peter didn't have the luxury of much hood clearance, so he opted instead to have a shorter original-style 427 aluminum dual-plane intake modified to accept port injectors. That rather precise bit of CNC-assisted handiwork was handled by John Jacobs of the University of Western Ontario's engineering department.
Then Peter went and nearly hid that beautifully reworked manifold under the sealed carb enclosure of a Paxton Novi 2000 supercharger system-except of course there is no carb but rather a 1,000-cfm throttle body from FAST sitting atop the intake. Given the size of the Paxton "breadbox," you can now understand why hood clearance was such an issue. Anyway, this combination of gargantuan FE displacement and about 10 psi of centrifugal boost musters no less than 565 horsepower and 558 lb-ft of torque at the rear wheels, giving the Yellow Jacket a much bigger sting than the Green Hornet's. Peter also departed from Green Hornet tradition when it came to his transmission, substituting a Tremec T-56 manual for the C6 auto. In his view-and ours-six speeds beat three every time, especially in a project meant to be driven as often as the truncated Canadian summers permit.
While the Yellow Jacket can't match the panache and exclusivity of the Hornet's prototype fully independent rear suspension, Peter did the next best thing by bolting in Total Control Products' sophisticated torque-arm-and-pushrod-coilover rear setup. Goodbye leaf springs; hello grip. And as if to make up for this lack of IRS, he also opted for TCP's front coilover hardware and rack-and-pinion steering, while going way beyond Green Hornet specs with Baer 13-inch brakes fore and aft. Vintage Wheel Works made up some 10-spokes that pay homage to Shelby's originals but are a more modern 17 inches in diameter-8 inches wide on the nose and a full 9.5 inches in back.