Foose Nitrous II wheels got the convertible rolling, while Falken rubber ensures traction and responsive moves in the turns. Richard says that National Parts Depot played a significant role in the car's rejuvenation, as he used NPD fenders, rear quarters, hood, and scoop, along with the company's upholstery kit. The interior is brand-new old-school, redone with new seat covers, while the center console holds additional gauges and envelops the Hurst shifter for the Tremec T-5 transmission. A Flaming River tilt steering column and Grant wheel establish a hands-on feel. Whenever the motor music stops, another form of entertainment fills the air--thanks to the Alpine head unit that energizes 6-inch coaxial speakers in the doors, 6x9s in the trunk, and a 10-inch Kenwood sub hidden behind the rear seat. Cody Richel helped with the stereo.
Once the bodywork was complete, Richard painted the car in the family garage, choosing Dupont Chromabase Bright Silver Metallic and Bright Blue Metallic with white pearl in the clear, separated by a black pinstripe from Flat Out Graphics. Although the clerk at the Department of Motor Vehicles took a little convincing, Richard's "TOPLS69" license plate became the perfect finishing touch. Now, for the rest of the story. The car that motivated Richard to rebuild his convertible for a second time was Charlotte's '67 Fastback, which was found in a sugarcane field in Okeechobee, Florida. Like the convertible, it was in very rough shape, and Richard points out that the only original thing left on her car is the inner skeleton. All the external sheetmetal has been replaced.
Since the car was expected to be her daily driver (Charlotte is a radiation therapist, driving 50 miles to work every day), one of the primary concerns was reliability. As a result, the project started with the purchase of a wrecked '06 Crown Vic Police Interceptor with only 13,000 miles on it. The donor car gave up its 4.6L Two-Valve engine, 4R07W transmission, wiring harness, and lots of extras. The three months of part-time effort to get everything properly connected was worth it because once everything was in place, the engine fired immediately.
"That was a big day for me," Richard says smiling. The engine is essentially stock except for a re-flashed computer and custom-made driveshaft. Richard concealed the fuel system components under a false floor in the trunk, and a set of headers and new gears are scheduled to go in soon. Charlotte's car runs a Mustang II-style front end, custom-made by Newbarry Fabricators, complete with QA1 coilovers up front. Standard leaf springs and KYB shocks stabilize the Lincoln Versailles rear, complete with 3.25 gears and 10-inch disc brakes. Subframe connectors added rigidity to the unibody. External touches include a Shelby-style fiberglass hood from NPD, and a ribbed taillight panel in the rear. Getting the fastback rolling are Foose Legend rims with Sceptor rubber.
The interior makeover on Charlotte's car began with seats from an '87 Fox-body Mustang, reupholstered by Lucky and Sons in Belleview, Florida. Charlotte chose a black and silver, carbon-fiber look to the upholstery, with the running Pony logo and "4.6" incorporated into each high back bucket. The red piping in the seats matches the red seat belts perfectly. The seats are so comfortable that Richard bought another set that will soon be installed in his convertible. The car has a center console and a custom stereo setup, built by Ken Harris Radios from NPD, incorporating a vintage Mustang look with modern digital sound technology. The head unit controls a pair of 6-inch Pioneer coaxials in the kick panels, and a second pair of 6x9s, visible when the rear seat is folded down.
The silver paint on Charlotte's car is the same Dupont Chromabase Bright Silver as Richard's car, and the stripes down the center are metallic Black Pearl. "I usually start painting on Friday night," Richard told us, "and I'm done by Sunday afternoon, assisted by my good friend Sam Warren. Sam helps with the taping and watches to ensure that I lay a consistent wet coat." No passive participant, Charlotte was also often elbow-deep in grease throughout the build. Her license plate? "67 FSTBK," of course. What does she think of her finished car? Charlotte is Richard's biggest fan."He is amazing! When I first saw the car it was just a bucket of rust. Now look at it!" Richard said his job was easier thanks to National Parts Depot. He was particularly pleased that the company is headquartered in Ocala, not far from his home. "We saved a fortune in shipping and handling, since both cars were essentially built from the NPD warehouse." Charlotte jokes that, "I always knew where Richard was. If he was not in the shop, he was at NPD." Now that both cars are complete, they have become regular drivers with Richard and Charlotte active in the show scene in Central Florida. Now the one burning question is can Richard catch up to Charlotte on the trophy count? Only time will tell.