Modified Mustangs & FordsFeatures
This Guy’s Garage: Dave Garton’s collection of Ford GTs, Cobra Jet Mustangs, and Fairlane Thunderbolt
This Guy’s Garage
There are car guys who love all makes and models of cars, and then there are the loyalists who stick to just one brand . Spring Hill, Florida’s David Garton is the latter, and if his 28 years of service as a Ford Master Tech aren’t proof enough, the cars in his driveway and in his garage should drive the point home.
Garton is an expert when it comes to Fords, particularly early Ford racing and performance machinery. His interest in Blue Oval power dates back to when he began driving.
“If I wanted to be able to drive a car, I had to be able to work on one,” Garton said. “I always liked the 351C engines; they had big heads and made big horsepower. I had a 1972 Torino with a four-barrel Cleveland back then. Following that was a more sportier 1967 Mustang coupe with Cleveland power that ran 11.70s in street-legal trim.
From there, Garton began to focus more on the collector car market, all the while keeping performance in mind. Over the years, he has been able to pick up other notable Ford Performance-oriented machinery thanks to the support of his wife of 28 years, Patty, and some 20-30 hours a week in side work he regularly does. It’s a wonder he has time to enjoy the cars, but with his most recent purchase, a 1964 Thunderbolt clone, he intends to get back to the track and do some Nostalgia Super Stock racing.
If Garton’s not a dyed-in-the-wool Ford nut, we’re not sure what constitutes one. He’s also one of the 6,400-plus enthusiasts who have sent in an application to purchase the new Ford GT. Given that the stringent selection process takes into account Ford loyalty, it’s going to be incredibly hard to beat out a guy like this.
Descriptions start with the Bronco on the lower left corner and move clockwise.
- The 1971 Ford Bronco seems like the odd man out in this group, but there’s more to it than just what meets the eye. This one is a 1 of 100 Baja edition that came out of the Holman-Stroppe facility in California. The heavily optioned example, wearing Poppy Red and White paint, has an auto trans, power steering, dual fuel tanks, roll bar, oversized alloy wheels, and what is likely a Mercury Cyclone hoodscoop that allows room for the 351 Windsor engine. Most of those options were not available on standard Broncos, but Holman-Stroppe built these for off-road duty.
- The Centennial White Ford GT is a 2005 model with all four options (McIntosh Stereo, BBS wheels, painted calipers, and stripe package). It has a mere 718 miles and Garton is the original owner. He purchased it after selling a 1968-1/2 Cobra Jet convertible he had just restored.
- The 2006 Midnight Blue GT was built to drive by its previous owner, and he did so as evidenced by the 4,009 miles on the clock. The GT is a four-option car and has been lowered with coilovers and equipped with an upgraded, and polished, Whipple supercharger that helps produce 760 rwhp. Garton sold a 1968 GT500KR to fund this purchase.
- This Meadowlark Yellow Mustang is the last 1968-1/2 428 Cobra Jet Mustang off the assembly line. It was equipped with $1,700 in options, many of which are rare for 1968 models. It was also a Ford Corporate car and recently adorned the cover of National Parts Depot’s Mustang catalog.
- The 135 series Cobra Jets, as they are often referred to, are the 50 factory Cobra Jets that Ford built for the 1968 model year. This one is a survivor car with 321 miles on it and is one of the last 18 CJs built, which were the seam-sealer and sound-deadener-delete lightweight models. It’s also one of two that came from Russ Davis Ford. Garton rescued the car, and while it wears its original paint and is generally unrestored, the 428 engine was built by Ford FE guru Blair Patrick and makes 680 hp. Interestingly, there was an NHRA Spring Nationals sticker from 1969 on the oil pan still, and Garton took the car back to Bakersfield in 2011 and ran it at the NHRA Hot Rod Reunion.
- Standing out with its bright-red paint is a 2012 Super Cobra Jet Mustang. It is No. 50 for that year and is also the last 5.4L-equipped CJ built, as Ford Performance switched over to the 5.0L Coyote the following year. As a Super Cobra Jet, it has the big 4.0L Whipple supercharger sitting on top of its all-aluminum modular engine and it has the two-speed Powerglide with transbrake option. Garton used the car at Roy Hill’s drag-racing school to obtain his NHRA Super Stock license, and with a 60-percent throttle tune-up in it, the SCJ went 9.01 at 154 mph.
- Garton is the first registered owner of the 2008 White Cobra Jet front and center. It is number 48 of 50 built, and only 17 of those were equipped with the graphics package. Rowing the gears of the Liberty stick shift transmission, he’s run a best of 10.26 with it.