Vintage Mustangs can be modified in a hundred different ways, but a classic 'Stang that's on par with the best of modern performance cars in terms of handling, braking, and ride quality is a very special Mustang indeed. That's exactly what we found with Don Rostitch and this '68 coupe that can confidently handle any twist or turn at speed.
"I was looking for something new to build and thought it would be kind of neat to build something along the lines of a '68 Trans-Am replica that I could drive on the street," Don said about the background of this car. "A buddy of mine mentioned that he had a project that he had lost interest in. I went to look at it and it turned out to be exactly what I wanted, a rust-free '68 Mustang coupe. It had all the parts and was the perfect candidate." The perfect candidate for what was probably the question in a lot of his friends' minds.
Don had modified a number of cars, ranging from his Mom's old '70 Mach Iùwhich he had drag racedùto autocross, and then open track cars. The coupe that he dragged home had a 289 V-8 that had gone sour. Swapping in a 5.0L take out that had been converted to carburetion took care of the immediate issue, as this got the car up and running. Several years of daily driver duty ensued, but after the car made the cross country move with Don from California to North Carolina, a metamorphosis began.
The first, and most important step, had actually taken place sometime before, when Don met Bruce Griggs, the proprietor of Griggs Racing Products in Petaluma, California. After a brief test ride, Don didn't want to get out from behind the wheel. As his relationship with the company progressed, he eventually bought a new '94 GT that served as a development prototype for the SN-95 GT40 suspension system. The results were amazing.
"From that point on, I was a big proponent of Bruce Griggs and his products," Don said. "I gave a lot of demonstration rides, sold a lot of kits, and was rewarded with a chance to drive Griggs' A/Sedan Mustang. In 1997, I ran most of our SCCA regional schedule and won a lot of races. It was a lot of fun."
After moving to the East Coast, Don began seriously working on upgrading what was once his daily driver. A five-speed manual and an 8.8 replaced the automatic transmission and 8-inch rear, but the crowning touch was the Griggs GR 350 Ultimate Street Performance System. A new K-member, rack-and-pinion steering system, and tubular control arms provided an all-new suspension geometry with a lowered ride height that offered a secure feeling along with an improved ride as well. SN-95 spindles, along with Griggs' Mustang 4on4 brake upgrades, provided an even greater sense of confidence.
"It was a very enjoyable project," Don said. "I guess the part that required the most skill was cutting out all of the mounting points from the original suspension and then starting from scratch with a clean sheet of paper. It was amazing how straightforward the installation was, and then how well it worked. People that have ridden in it are always blown away and want one for themselves."
The success of this project car has helped make a reputation for Don, where he does a number of similar installs with Steve Markus at the Car Shoppe in Richmond, Virginia. A current project is a '66 fastback track car, which will be about 300 pounds lighter than Dan's '68 Mustang with double the horsepower. With all the positive returns that this sure-footed ponycar has been bringing, you could say that Don's '68 Mustang has all the right parts in all the right places!