Moonshine Mustang? 1970 SportsRoof Cobra Jet
Most performance-minded Mustang buyers ordered a Boss 302, a Boss 429, or a Mach 1 in 1970. “My thoughts are, originally, that it was probably a moonshine car,” Gary Goudie says of his plain SportsRoof with not much more than a 428 Cobra Jet with ram air backed by a C6 automatic and a set of 3.00s in a Traction-Lok differential. He has not been able to uncover much of the car’s history. However, this deduction does make some sense. “The reason I say that is Spruce Pines, North Carolina, is where it was originally purchased. Dark Ivy Green Metallic, 428 Cobra Jet, 3.00 rearend—somebody wanted to get down the road fast.”
A SportsRoof has a trunk that won’t hold much more than one suitcase, let alone multiple jugs of ’shine. However, this one got ordered with a Sport Deck rear seat, expanding trunk capacity and lending further credence to Gary’s moonshine theory. Whatever the intent of the original buyer, this SportsRoof was built for top-end speed—no doubt about it—in contrast to Drag Pack Cobra Jets built for the quarter-mile that came with either a set of Traction-Lok 3.91s or those stump-pulling 4.30s on a Detroit Locker.
Gary has been, in his words, “a Mustang guy since there have been Mustangs,” which goes back to his senior year in high school. “I had a ’54 Ford, my first car that my dad and I fixed up. Then, about a year later the Mustangs came out. I told my dad I really want to get one of those Mustangs. He said if I could save up $500, we would sell the ’54 and he would co-sign for me on a new Mustang. I smiled back at him and said, ‘I’ve already got $500 saved.’”
Gary had been working 42 hours a week at the local Mills Red & White grocery store in Knoxville, Illinois, putting in an hour and a half of stocking time before school started, getting off early to go to work after school, and clocking 12 hours from 9 a.m. to 9 p.m. on Saturdays. What fun it was to order a brand-new Vintage Burgundy ’65 fastback with an A-code, 289 four-barrel, four-speed transmission, and a limited-slip differential, and then wait for the blessed delivery day to arrive. “Just about daily I was down at the Ford dealer, a couple blocks from the high school. I’d ask them, ‘Is my car in yet? Is my car in?’”
Ford went on strike as soon as Gary put in his order, but his car did arrive in time to drive his senior year and then one more year before he joined the Navy. “My mother drove it about three years while I was in the Navy. I was a gunner on the Swift Boats in Vietnam. I came home and went to computer school for a while. I went to Chicago to work, and woke up one morning to see that my car was gone. Somebody stole it.”
Police found the ’65 fastback stripped and totaled. Gary spent “years and years of jobs and family” before he got his second ’65 Mustang fastback, also Vintage Burgundy. Then, he really got going in the Mustang hobby. Gary has owned two Boss 302s, a Boss 429, a 1966 Shelby G.T. 350 (which he fully restored), and then 15 years ago got the chance to buy this ’70 SportsRoof from a dealer/friend in Georgia.
“He called and said he had a car I might be interested in, a 1970 Cobra Jet that needed to be restored but did run and drive.” Being a collector, Gary sent the VIN to Kevin Marti for a basic Marti Report, which revealed, “There were not many of these around or ever made.” A full Marti Report documents the rarity of this Mustang as one of 116 SportsRoof models built in 1970 with the 428 4V Cobra Jet ram air engine, 39 of which had automatic transmissions.
Photography by Jerry Heasley