Every once in a while you run across someone who just gets it. The world traveler who knows how to walk off an all-night flight and into a business meeting without missing a beat. The restaurant patron who can pair the perfect bottle of wine to any meal. In this case, it's Red Humphries' ability to perfectly meld vintage sheetmetal with late-model powertrain and interior touches that has us standing and applauding.
We've seen countless attempts at this. Putting modern parts on a classic car. Sometimes it works for a few years, like putting the latest Camaro wheels on your early Chevy, or grafting a later-model center console and seats into your muscle car. Sorry to say, but these are the rave at first, but they look outrageously unoriginal and outdated just a few years down the road. The art that Red has crafted in this '68 Mustang goes well beyond bolting on late-model wheels. He used a variety of components to create what a '68 Shelby GT500 would look like if it were produced today. And we dare say that his car will look just as cool 10 years from now as it does today.
Red is no newbie to the sport. As the owner of Red's Place in Charlotte, North Carolina, he makes his living by building, restoring, and creating cool rides for other people. In fact, he's been doing this his whole life. In 1970, he had a '50s Ford Country station wagon. He'd borrow from his rent money to buy and sell wagons to build his. He'd take the better parts off the new car, putting them on his, and then hoping he could resell the extra wagon before the rent was due.
He was at a car show last year with a friend and customer, Paul Lange, when they came across a '68 Shelby fastback for sale. The asking price was pretty hefty, but his friend was interested in buying it, and he asked Red what he thought. He said, "I think it is 12 o'clock now, and if you give him 200 grand now, put your dog in the front seat at 2:30 and drive home seven hours, then drive the car for 90 days and drive it back, you'll probably lose around 100 grand." Then he did it. Red tossed out the comment that for far less, he could build a clone that would be even more fun to drive.
The next day, Paul called Red and said, "Do it." And so the process began. Red set out to build a '68 Mustang the way that Carroll Shelby might if he were to do it today with modern technology. Red spent the next three months thinking about how he would build the car and researching what components were available. This wasn't going to be a catalog build, where you just order one of everything that fits a '68 Mustang. The components were strategically selected. In fact, the year of the car was chosen because the SVT blower would fit under a '68 Shelby hood. Red chose the best of all the parts that he could get his hands on. He selected pieces that would look right and work well together, and he passed on those that just didn't fit with the desired style.
Choosing the drivetrain was relatively easy. A supercharged SVT 5.4-liter for a '08 Mustang GT500 and Tremec T-56 was a no-brainer. Making it fit and look like it belonged there, however, required some planning and work. He actually corralled the engine and transmission before he had a car. Both components were brand new in crates. He chose a set of tubular headers, a cold air kit, and aftermarket electronic tuning to boost the power to an estimated 610 hp. He then located a Mustang body that another shop was throwing away!