When we first met Rick Liwush and his sons, Andy and Justin, at the Carlisle Ford show a few years back, we couldn't help but stare at the monster engine package under the hood of this '67 Mustang fastback, especially when there was a crowd of 30 some odd people doing the same thing. It was easy to assume the car was Rick's, and that his sons were just there to take in the show. But no, Rick quickly corrected us. The fastback was indeed Andy's car that he built with the help of his brother.
Rick, the proud father, beamed a huge smile as he told us the story of Andy wanting to build "the meanest-looking Mustang around." We stood there intently, listening to Rick. You could hear the pride in his voice as he discussed the project and the many hours his two sons put into the car. We knew we had to have the car featured in our magazine, not just because of the killer hardware, but because of the story.
We feel the story is what makes the car, more than a bunch of gleaming chrome and spotless paint. Problem was, the brothers weren't quite ready to unveil their masterpiece yet, as the suspension and brakes had yet to arrive for their project. It was quite a while before Andy and his brother got the car sorted out and the rest of the upgrades finished, but at this year's Carlisle show they were ready, and so were we.
Andy has been a lifelong Ford fan, most likely due to the fact that his dad has owned so many cool Fords, including a killer '68 Shelby GT500KR convertible. Andy's first car was this '67 fastback, but with a C-code 289, a four-speed, and manual everything. He not only learned to drive in this Mustang, but took his road test in it as well. The DMV employee, being a Blue Oval fan himself, told Andy it had probably been 15 years since he gave an exam in such a car. Of course Andy passed with flying colors. With license in hand, Andy drove the car as-is for a year, but felt let down at the car shows he attended when all the other Mustangs looked the same to him. He wanted his Mustang to be different.
Andy's father owns a tool and die company and has a large open-style assembly shop for large jobs. Andy thought the facility would be the perfect place to strip down his Mustang for a repaint and to drop in a 428CJ big-block he had acquired. The time came in the winter of 2004, when his dad was on a weekend business trip. Andy, with the help of his brother Justin, blew the car apart to the bare body and proceeded to sandblast the body in the shop, cleaning up the mess before their dad returned. Trouble was, the sand went everywhere, including the shop lights, rafters, and so on, and when Rick returned, the brothers were busted for their weekend thrash.
Once the mess was properly cleaned up, Justin, who was just learning how to paint cars, tackled the refinish work. He gave the fastback a fresh coat of Nightmist Blue. Andy dropped the 428 between the shock towers and reassembled the car. Andy says, "I turned a few more heads that year and felt a bit quicker on the highway, so I thought we were doing pretty good." Trouble was, Andy got a taste of track time and fell head over heels for the pastime.
It was SAAC 31 at Virginia International Raceway where Andy put 560 track miles on the fastback in one weekend! The Sunoco fuel bill must have been outrageous! Being on the track with 50 other classic race cars was a blast for Andy, except for one Ford GT supercar that he just couldn't seem to get close enough to, leaving him to think, "I must go faster." A week later Andy blew a head gasket and cracked a head on the 428; it was time to move to phase two.
With the car out of commission, Andy and Justin put their heads together. What would really make the car stand out from the rest of the herd, and make it brutally fast and quick on the track? They decided the only way to go was with a power adder, and a ProCharger supercharger with intercooler was put at the top of their shopping list. Again the car came completely apart, and again was sandblasted to bare steel.
Countless designs were made for blower brackets, intercooler mounting, and more with the help of Mark Fischer, an engineer at his dad's company. It just wasn't going to happen. Finally, Andy told Justin that he was going to build the mechanical end of the project so that it would actually work, and then Justin would figure out how to cover it all in custom fiberglass. Andy's work took the better part of a year to get everything together, including the engine, blower, intercooler, fuel system, and dual fan setup, but it was time to hand the rest of the project over to Justin.
Starting with a fiberglass nose, Justin cut and broke the glass to fit as needed, and then began the tedious process of hand forming the nose to fit the hardware Andy had installed. All told, some 240 hours were spent in creating the one-off fascia for the project. Justin also designed and built the teardrop hood for the fastback as well. Finally, Justin covered all of his hard work with a fresh coat of Nightmist Blue. Once the paint had dried, Andy snuck two 10-pound nitrous bottles into the trunk for extra measure.
With the project on the road (this is about the time we first saw the car), Andy took his dad for a ride. Hitting 80 mph while nearly sideways on the first ride, Andy's dad looked over at him and said, "We need to fix that." If it's one thing Rick told us, it's that he wants his sons to be safe, and that was his highest priority throughout the custom build. To that end, the Mustang received a four-link rearend setup and huge Wilwood six-piston binders to slow the car down properly. On the next outing, his dad asked how well the brakes worked and Andy just had to show him. Rick's forehead met the dash and the ensuing knot on his forehead stuck with him for the better part of the week.
Like most projects, there was a show deadline involved. SAAC 33 was just one week away, and Andy hoped to exact some revenge on said Ford GT. Andy spent some time on the track breaking in his newly built fastback, quite literally. Before the two days of track time were up, Andy had gone through two radiators, two blower belts, a distributor cap, an ignition coil, 42 spark plugs, and way too many curse words.
While the Ford GT was safe from reprisal that year, Andy did enter the car show and won the "Meanest Looking Mustang" award. Eventually, Andy got all the bugs worked out with the help of his dad and brother, and he enjoys every minute of track time he can get. He also enjoys the occasional car show with his fiancé, who is just as fond of the Mustang as Andy is, and has no qualms about getting a little grease under her fingernails while helping Andy out with maintenance.
With the project complete, Rick tells us that he's extremely proud of his two sons, and enjoys watching crowds at car shows listen to the blown big-block roll into the show field, waiting for the hood to be lifted to see what's making such a beautiful sound. He also gets a little bit of a chuckle when people realize Andy and Justin did the work themselves, and seeing them answer all of the spectator's questions. It's just another example of living the rock star life-the four-wheeled kind that is.
Andy Liwush's '67 Mustang Fastback
- 428CJ FE block, 0.030-inch overbore
- 4.160-inch bore
- 3.980-inch stroke
- Eagle steel H-beam rods
- Venolia forged pistons
- Speed Pro rings
- 8.5:1 compression ratio
- Stock nodular iron crankshaft
- Engle roller camshaft
- Edelbrock Performer RPM FE cylinder heads
- Harland Sharp roller rockers
- Edelbrock Victor FE EFI intake manifold
- Electromotive EFI system
- 91-lb/hr injectors
- 2,100-cfm Holley throttle body
- ProCharger F1R supercharger
- 781 hp
- 813 lb-ft torque
- Built by Matt Shaff, Pro-Formance Specialties
- Tremec TKO-600 five-speed manual
- Hurst shifter
- Ford 9-inch housing
- 3.50 Richmond gears
- 31-spline axles
- Hooker long-tube headers, 1 3/4-inch primaries, 3-inch collectors
- 3-inch dual exhaust
- 3-inch Borla mufflers
- Front: Stock-style upper and lower control arms, TCP 1 1/8-inch antisway bar
- Rear: TCP G-Bar with canted four-link, VariShock coilovers, TCP subframe connector system
- Front: Wilwood 13-inch disc, drilled and slotted, six-piston caliper
- Rear: Wilwood 13-inch disc, drilled and slotted, four-piston caliper
- Front: Foose chrome-plated Nitrous, 17x8
- Rear: Foose chrome-plated Nitrous, 17x10
- Front: BFGoodrich g-Force T/A KDW, P245/45R17
- Rear: BFGoodrich g-Force T/A KDW, P275/40R17
- Stock black vinyl standard interior, Grant classic walnut steering wheel, Flaming River steering column, Auto Meter Pro-Comp Ultra-Lite gauges, Sun Super Tach II tachometer, JVC stereo, Kenwood 6x9 speakers in trap door, 3-inch lap belts, owner-built gauge pod and switch panel
- DuPont Nightmist Blue basecoat/clearcoat; hand fabricated front fascia and hood, all by Justin Raymer, Ontario, New York; shaved emblems; GT pop-open gas cap