Richard Evans was destined to be become a gearhead. He learned to drive in his parents' '69 Mach I Mustang with a 351 under the hood and a four-speed trans, so he had an early appreciation for American muscle. "My mom would take me out to practice driving and tell me it was better to spin the tires than to let the car stall," says Richard. "When we got back home, my dad would show me the ropes on maintenance and performance." Add to the mix an older brother with a slick '67 'Stang, and it's easy to see why Richard is where he's at.
Back in '86, Richard's brother, Roy, bought a tired '67 Mustang using a thousand bucks he'd saved up on his paper route. Over the years, Richard was there, while his brother fixed it up. "Driving around town with him was a great time. We would pull up to a light and see everyone looking for which car was making all that noise. Then they would notice us. At that time I realized I really wanted a Mustang of my own," says Richard. In '95, he finally got his chance when his brother decided to sell his Mustang. Two thousand bucks was the cost to fulfill that dream, and Richard was on top of the world at the tender age of 16. "It was a cool car for a high school kid. So much so, that my best friend in high school and now business partner, Dustin Gregory, had to get one too. We spent almost every weekend at the junkyard trying to find parts for our cars, from gear swaps to disc brake conversions." Everyone at the school knew them as the guys with the old Mustangs. Life was good.
Over the years, his ride started to show its age. The paint started to fade and the interior didn't quite look as fresh, so in '03 Richard decided to fix up the Mustang and make it stand out from the crowd. He started by grafting on some fiberglass parts and shaving the driprails for a cleaner look. Then he needed to find someone to paint it on his tight budget. "Trying to find a painter wasn't easy and when I did find one he asked me why I would want to paint a stripe on the car that big and in those colors. The answer was to do something different," recalls Richard.
With the looks addressed, it was now the drivetrain that needed some major TLC. The motor was tired, so a '90 roller 302 short-block with a Crower cam was put in place along with a set of stock ported cast-iron heads. Of course, the new high-power mill chewed up the C4 trans, so that had to be replaced. In fact, the Mustang has had four different engines before its current 349 stroker and three other C4 trannys before the AOD transmission it now runs. He didn't have any better luck with rearends either. Three of them bit the dust before he stepped up to the current Currie nine-inch. "All due to heavy foot/sticky tire syndrome," deadpanned Richard.
In '05, with the paint and drivetrain done just the way he wanted, Richard thought he was done. He was wrong. Richard: "My buddy Dustin comes up with the bright idea to start making and selling turbo kits for classics and that he's going to do one on his car. I went from thinking I was done modifying my car to not even close. All it took was one ride in his '67 Mustang to change my mind and a few more conversations with my wife, Amy, to get the approval." With the turbo kit bolted to the 349 stroker small-block, more changes were then needed. Subframe connectors went in to help tame the newly found chassis flex and a rollbar was added in preparation for faster e.t.'s. Since they were welding to the floor, they also figured it was a good time to replace the floor pans. It's the same deal we've all been though. One change ends up requiring something else to be addressed. Welcome to hot rodding 101.
The chassis was built like Richard was on a tight budget, mainly because he was. Running the front spindles from a '78 Ford Granada meant he could also run the Granada's front disc brakes, a move that saved him big bucks. Out back, he modified the rear disc brakes from a '98 Explorer. Again, it was a cheap solution to a big problem. The steering is stock, as are most of the other components. Money was saved, since Richard only replaced what needed replacing. What a concept.
The interior of the classic coupe is simple, functional, and comfortable. The rear seats, carpet, and headliner were redone by Classic Performance in Santee, California and the front seats are from Summit. Richard then dropped in a killer Kenwood audio system for cruising tunes. "I bought the Auto Meter gauges from Summit Racing and then had Classic Performance install them into the factory cluster. I also bought a rear seat from a 2000 GT Mustang and installed it so it folds down just like the new Mustangs," says Richard. Swing-out bars on the roll cage make getting in much easier, while an RJS harness system keeps the driver firmly anchored.
With the car together, it was time to start having some real fun with it. The first pull on the dyno netted 380 rear-wheel hp and 390 lb-ft of torque, but the air/fuel ratio was dropping to 9.9 at 4,200 rpm. After a few jet changes, they were rewarded with a much better pull of 477 rear-wheel hp and 462 lb-ft of torque. Even though the output was much improved, the air/fuel was still rich at around 10.9 and the mill quit making power at 5,600 rpm. Richard explained: "With the numbers going up fast with minor tuning, we opted to hold off leaning out the fuel curve and save the stock block by putting a smaller waste gate spring in. Dyno numbers were great, but we still didn't know what she ran. With the air/fuel as safe as it was, we headed up to the local eighth-mile, Barona Dragstrip, and after four passes it ran a best of 7.10 at 98.9 mph. (About 11.15 in the quarter.-ed) I'm very happy with the track numbers, but I still want the full quarter-mile timeslip!" Richard doesn't try to fool himself into thinking his car is done. He's already saving up for a stronger block and he knows that will lead to even more upgrades. But he wouldn't have it any other way.
At the heart of Richard Evans'...
At the heart of Richard Evans' budget-beater '67, is this late-model roller cam 302. It's got a nodular-iron 3.400-inch stroke crank and a .040-overbore, which brings the cubes to 349. A non-intercooled T-70 turbo, blowing through a modified Holley 750 endows the budget plant with enough snot to run bottom 7s in the eighth-mile.
Look closely at the speedometer...
Look closely at the speedometer and you'll notice it shows 20,355 miles. That's because Richard drives his Mustang between three and five days a week.