"Unlike many car guys, my father was a chef by occupation, and knew very little about carsùturn the key, put it in Drive, and go," says Deland, Florida's Paul Montgomery. "So how I got the mechanical gift, God only knows. From an early age, anything mechanical captured my attention." During his early teen years, Paul was intrigued by a friend's ability to work on cars, and he soon caught an enthusiasm that would one day lead to the construction of the GT500KR clone you see here.
"By the time I turned 16, I was your typical hot rod kid, stuffing big motors, four-speed transmissions, and 4.11 gears into my car," recalls Paul. "In my high school years, I was consumed with fast cars and great tunes. One of the changing moments in my life happened when I ran into some problems with my car. In searching for answers, my local parts store put me in touch with a well-respected mechanic. Fortunately, he took a liking to me, and I spent many days and weekends at his shop, where I met his daughter who would one day become my wife." How's that for destiny!
Though Paul's father-in-law has since passed away, he did so long after instilling his know-how in a young gearhead. "I will always appreciate the time and knowledge he shared with me," says Paul, "giving me the ability to restore a car from a rusted bucket of bolts to a prize winner."
Over the years, Paul has owned numerous muscle cars, including a pair of Boss 302 Mustangs, and a Cobra replica with a 427 side oilerùa personal favorite.
The direction of Paul's latest project came to mind while cruising home from a car show. Watching a teenager drive past him in her Honda while on the phone was just too much. After all, his Boss 302 was already cruising at an ear-splitting 3,700 rpm at 65 mph. No, the next car had to have longer legs, and be a bit more enjoyable to drive while visually reflecting the muscle car era. In creating a car guy's dream, Paul would combine the style of a vintage Shelby with a modern day suspension, big brakes, and a huge motor with lots of power, but streetable enough to run on pump gas and still wow the crowd at car shows.
"I started looking for a body that was perfect," recalls Paul. "Two months later, I found a car in North Carolina with 65,000 original miles, a six-cylinder engine, three-speed manual transmission, and not a rust spot on the car."
With the project set in motion, Paul tore the car apart, put the body on a dolly and media blasted the chassis. After taking it to bare metal, Paul mocked up the Shelby fiberglass hood, nose, trunk, and fender extensions. A great deal of time was spent correcting the panel gaps, and then the car was block-sanded to a "laser-straight" finish.
Paul then gave the factory suspension components the heave-ho and purchased a Heidts rear suspension assembly. He polished the link bars and then cleared them for a long-lasting finish. The front suspension was next on the modification list, and Paul chose to upgrade it with adjustable tubular A arms and coilover shocks.
Shortly thereafter, the convertible was disassembled and painted, top and bottom, in a custom DuPont Chromabase Red. The interior metal was covered in Dynamat to reduce rattles and cancel out some of the road noise, and then Paul installed the newly reupholstered seats and Shelby-specific appointments.
"The only modern-day convenience I added was an Alpine six-speaker stereo with CD and iPod, along with two 12-inch Kicker subwoofers and an Alpine amp that I custom installed in the trunk."