You can't prove that '64-67 Mustangs are chick cars any more than you can prove Ryan Seacrest's true sexual orientation. The overwhelming majority of people probably have the same politically incorrect hunch, but the empirical evidence just isn't there. Although further commentary on midget TV show hosts is entirely outside the scope of a car magazine, the case against the Mustang is rather incriminating. Carroll Shelby himself called the early Mustang "a secretary's car," and chances are even if your wife despises project cars, she'd be all for building a '64 Mustang.
Just to set the record straight, there's nothing wrong with the Mustangs in question. We've featured countless Mustangs of that vintage, even coupes, that would intimidate the most truculent of musclecars on looks alone. However, Ford definitely upped the car's masculinity in subsequent model years. By '67, the grille, taillights, and sidescoops grew in line with the car's longer and wider overall proportions. To top it all off, the fastback's roof contour aggressively extended into the trunklid. Bulging at the seams like a BALCO-enhanced MLB slugger, the '67-68 fastback is arguably the brawniest, most fierce-looking Mustang of them all.
As dictated by the unofficial Mustang hierarchy, Ted Hellard of Calgary, Alberta, Canada needed a particularly buff body style for his next project car. It was intended as a birthday present for his son-who happens to measure in at 6 feet 6 inches-so dad selected the muscular '68 fastback to complement Tyler's impressive physique. That's certainly a memorable way of recollecting the day you turned 18, but if this story were to end well, the car would need to be completed in just six weeks.
Without even a car to start with, Ted turned to Kevin Bradley at Kreations in Rio Dell, Calif., for some last-minute help. Kevin tracked down just the right car in no time, and although it was in fairly good shape, the task at hand was monumental. Not content with a stock restoration, the Kreations crew decided to build a purposeful and functional g-Machine brimming with subtle custom touches to distinguish it from a mere stocker. Using his keen eye, Kevin pinpointed areas where Ford stylists didn't quite get it right and gracefully reworked the sheetmetal, interior, and undercarriage. "The basic idea was to clean up the lines of the car enough to make it look better, but also to retain the heritage of the car by not getting too carried away," he says. "That's definitely easier said than done, especially with the time frame we had to work with."
The most noticeable tweak is the Eleanor-style hood, but there's more going on here than meets the eye. A cheap fiberglass piece wouldn't cut it for a car of this caliber, so Kevin fabricated a custom all-steel piece. Moving a bit closer to the ground, the grille has been polished. Even closer examination reveals the galloping pony badge is floating instead of being cooped up in a corral. Progressing rearward, the side scoops have been smoothed and a custom valence houses the tailpipes out back. For a much cleaner top, the factory drip rails have also been shaved. "The stock drip rails stick out like a chrome sore thumb, so we cut the roof and smoothed out that entire section," says Kevin.
Lifting up the hood doesn't just reveal the engine's living quarters, but another act of showmanship as well. The smoothed firewall and cowl are custom-built and look more like pieces found in a high-end street rod. On that firewall, there's a peculiar absence of master cylinders and reservoirs. That's because they're tucked neatly away in the dash, covered up by a trap door for easy access. Continuing the homogenous theme, the otherwise ugly motor mounts are covered with metal plates, the front frame rails have been smoothed, and both are painted DuPont Sinful Cinnamon to match the rest of the body. To prevent boiling over when run hard, there's a larger capacity radiator that required fabricating a custom radiator support for proper fitment. And when the cooling system gurgles, coolant trickles into an overflow tank hidden behind custom inner fender wells.
There's an engine in there, too, a 347ci unit built by Smeding Performance (Rancho Cordova, Calif.). It's based on a Ford Racing block, and stroked with a 3.400-inch nodular crank, steel connecting rods, and forged 9.7:1 compression pistons. A set of Trick Flow aluminum heads, an Edelbrock Performer RPM Air-Gap intake manifold, and a Demon 750 carburetor top it all off. The cam is a very conservative 212/222-at-0.050 grind with .493/.510-inch lift, and consequently, the combo isn't the most potent of mills at 380 hp. However, g-Machines are all about balance, not just blazing straight-line performance. Backing up the small-block is a Tremec TKO five-speed stick from Keisler Automotive Engineering, and a 3.50:1-geared 9-inch rear end painted to match the body. All the work was done in-house at Kreations.
Ensuring the fastback kicks out pleasing doses of lateral and negative g's is a thoroughly sorted chassis. Total Control subframe connectors reduce the flex, and a Heidt's Mustang II front suspension system puts the stiffness to good use. The system features tubular upper and lower control arms, QA1 coilovers, 2-inch drop spindles, and a rack-and-pinion steering box. Suspending the rear end is a set of Mustangs Plus leaf springs, and braking duties are handled by Baer drilled and slotted discs with two-piston clamps measuring 13.5-inches up front and 12-inches out back. Translating all that good hardware into swift direction changes are 18-inch Budnik GTX wheels wearing 235/40 rubber.
Inside, there's even more subtle trickery going on. Making the driving experience more pleasurable for 6 1/2 feet-worth of driver required some creative engineering. The floor pans were lowered two inches to buy some extra headroom. Since extra long legs require pushing the seat way back, the shifter was relocated farther rearward on the transmission tunnel. The design is ultra slick in execution, essentially a remote-mounted handle that attaches to the actual shifter base with a machined rod, transforming a functional design into a cool styling element.
The details don't stop there. While Kevin could have plopped in some racing seats and called it a day, taking the easy way out just wasn't part of the game plan. The seats were custom built by Kreations, and the leather hides are off of a buffalo, not a cow. From the captain's seat, the driver faces a polished Billet Specialties steering wheel custom wrapped in leather. The dash houses a set of Auto Meter Ultra-Lite gauges, an Alpine CD player, and a Vintage Air heater system that's hidden from sight. Buffalo hide covers the door panels and the top of the dash as well.
Despite the unbelievably tight deadline, the car was finished and shipped to Canada on time for Tyler's 18th birthday. The build crew went to the extent of engraving the valve covers with "Moose," a nickname Tyler picked up for obvious reasons. So will someone please send Ted a "World's Best Dad" T-shirt? While you're at it, make sure to get Kevin a "World's Hardest Working Car Builder" T-shirt because how anyone pulled off a project like this in just six weeks is beyond comprehension. The attention to detail splattered all throughout the car is something you'd expect from the Troy Trepaniers of the hobby, but even they don't build them in six weeks.