Richard Scruggs, a Central Florida Power Company line superintendent, lives in Ocala, Florida, and enjoys his hobby of customized Mustangs. Although he has owned Cobras in the past and has recently purchased a Pantera, he keeps coming back to his favorite ponycar. You are looking at the second build for this '69 Mustang convertible--the first effort transformed a neglected basket case found in a field into a running and driving car with stock suspension and a stock engine. It turned out beautifully, and collected quite a few trophies, even in its basic form. Everything changed when Charlotte, his equally enthusiastic wife, said she would like a car of her own. Both Richard and Charlotte are members of the North Central Florida Mustangs with Charlotte as president and Richard the treasurer, so you know these two are genuine enthusiasts.
"We love to cruise, we love to drive our cars, and we love to hang out with our fellow club members," Charlotte told us. With enthusiasm like that, a car for Charlotte was an essential. Before long, they purchased her fastback; another neglected car that needed lots of work. After a year's worth of effort, however, Richard transformed it into a regular trophy winner. That's when the problems began. They say competition improves the breed, and with Charlotte winning all of the trophies, Richard realized he had some catch up work to do on his convertible.
"I decided to rebuild mine bigger and better," he said with a smile. Richard learned his restoration and customizing skills from his father, who was an active enthusiast years before. Richard's first car in high school came from two Mercury Cougars found in a junkyard. The father/son project started with a wrecked '67 and a '68--they were welded together to make one good car. That first one was great fun and a valuable learning experience that paved the way for the restoration effort on the '69 convertible; a project that challenged all of his previously learned skills.
The ragtop had languished for several years in an orange grove before being rolled into the Scruggs' garage. The original six-cylinder engine was one of the first upgrades, and it was replaced with a 351 Windsor built by Paramore Motors in Ocala. Modifications were kept to a reasonable level, as the car is driven regularly, and racetrack speeds were never the goal. The internals include Wiseco pistons and a 292 Xtreme Energy Comp Cam with freer breathing facilitated by AFR cylinder heads. Professional Products' Powerjection EFI system with its self-contained computer system creates the air/fuel mix, routing it into an Edelbrock Air Gap intake. Hedman headers and Flowmaster mufflers scavenge spent gases. The combination creates 333 rwhp and 369 lb-ft of torque.
Getting the power to the ground is a homemade four-link suspension that Richard designed and fabricated in order to accommodate the fat 10-inch-wide rear tires. The four-link holds a Lincoln Versailles 9-inch rear that has been narrowed 3 inches and fitted with 4.11 gears and Moser 28-spline axles. Up front, the car uses a Mustang II frontend from Speedway Motors, fitted after trimming away the shock towers. Richard positioned the car's solenoids, switches, and wiring out of sight and hidden behind the inner fender panels. He then added QA1 coilovers to all four corners.
Although the body appears mostly stock, the only original sheetmetal left on the car is the firewall and the transmission hump. Richard replaced everything else. Custom touches include molded-in side scoops with stainless steel mesh grilles. A Mustang scoop was added to the hood along with a hood-mounted tachometer. "I had a hard time watching the tach when I was driving, but now it's in my line of sight." The unique rear wing is Richard's own design, and it sets off the car. Beginning with the spoiler from a '69 Firebird, he cut and reshaped until it fit the contours of the Mustang trunk lid perfectly, then added a third brake light for safety.