In recent years, and probably due in large part to the remake of Gone in Sixty Seconds, Shelby Mustangs have really taken off in popularity, and subsequently, value. Auction prices for restored or survivor cars are astronomical, and you could probably buy two or three new cars for the price of a barn find. There are a select few who have had the privilege of owning and/or driving a real Shelby, but thankfully, many of us can have that same experience by building a clone. Kenny Hiemstra of Franklin Township, New Jersey, has done both, and the car you see here was payback for selling his original '67 Shelby GT500.
As with many Mustang enthusiasts, Kenny was originally inspired by the movie Bullitt, and the now-legendary Mustang Steve McQueen drove in the film. As an impressionable teenager, Kenny also frequently referred to his father's tale of speed and fright as a passenger in a '68 convertible Shelby-the fastest car he'd ever been in, according to Kenny's Dad. With a newly printed driver's license, Kenny set to the streets at the age of 16 behind the wheel of a '69 Mustang SportsRoof. By his senior year of high school, Kenny put down a healthy (by '80s standards) $17,500 for a '67 Shelby GT500.
"I bought it at the fall swap meet at Carlisle," recalls Kenny. "It was a good, clean car with new paint. I pulled the engine, detailed the bay, and showed it a bunch." Kenny had the car for 10 years before deciding to sell it to fund his own business venture. While he did make some money by selling it for $25,000, a few years later, the Shelby market skyrocketed shortly after the aforementioned Gone in Sixty Seconds remake. "During the early 2000s, the price of the car hit the six-figure mark," notes Kenny. "You win some and you lose some, but thankfully my business does well enough to bring me into the next chapter."
Kenny is in a niche business as a safe and vault specialist. Whether it's cracking open safes where the keys or combinations have been lost, or the security device has just malfunctioned, Kenny is the guy they call. Primarily working with commercial accounts, Kenny sure knows a thing or two about value, and keeping it safe.
In forging this new business, Kenny's car hobby went through a dry spell until 2004, when he picked up a '69 SportsRoof. Packed with a 460 and a C6 transmission, the Pony was a clean driver, but Kenny kept thinking about that elusive Shelby that got away.
"The car that really caught my eye was the Super Snake that Shelby and Unique Performance were selling," says Kenny. "The problem was the cost of $225,000! After speaking to my wife and getting the green light from her to go forward on a high-end build, my goal was to build a Gone In Sixty Seconds fastback that met, or exceeded, the specifications of the Unique Performance Super Snake."
With that, Kenny purchased a clean shell off of eBay and he and his high school buddy Glen Mitchell stripped it down to bare metal. The chassis was extremely clean and no major metalwork was needed. Kenny treated the undercarriage to Eastwood's chassis black paint, and throughout the following summer, he and Glenn installed the body kit and other exterior components. The trunk lid, tail light assembly, headlight buckets, and fender extensions were sourced from Tony Branda, while the flared fiberglass fenders came from Unique Performance. Kenny wanted to limit the fiberglass-to-metal bonds, so the side skirts are actually hand-fabricated metal instead of fiberglass. From there, the rear wheelwells were widened to accommodate the P315/35R17 rear rubber.
Holding up the Fab9 rearend housing is a Total Control Products pushrod suspension system. The torque-arm-style setup uses Varishock coilovers, while up front, a TCP front coilover system is employed and uses '70-model spindles for greater strength.