There is a pattern of events that typically unfold after a car has been featured in a magazine. Interviews of these proud owners will yield proclamations of undying love for their ride and sworn testimony that the two will never part ways. Then strange things happen. Sometimes life gets in the way or people just lose interest, but the end result is that many of the cars you see in the pages of this magazine and other publications will likely change hands within a few years of appearing in print.
That will be the case for this 1967 Ford Mustang fastback, but unlike many of those other rides, there are no pretenses about what the objectives were with this project-it was built to be sold. This Mustang once sat in the stable of country music legend Willie Nelson, but was seized by the IRS in 1990, along with most everything else owned by the famous singer. When Nelson's personal effects were auctioned off, friends and family bid on many of the items and returned them to Nelson, but they were unable to keep the fastback in the family.
Fast-forward more than 15 years later, and the Mustang found its way to Van Buren, Arkansas, and the shop of D&D Specialty Cars. D&D has been building and restoring cars and trucks for nearly 30 years and have done plenty of high-end work for customers who include Billy Gibbons of ZZ Top. The best never rest, and D&D wanted to make sure people didn't forget they are still a major player. The goal from the very beginning with this Mustang was to build an absolute jaw-dropper, take it to some high-profile shows, drop some jaws, and then put it through Barrett-Jackson's Scottsdale auction this winter.
The original 351 Windsor now...
The original 351 Windsor now sits at 357 ci, producing an estimated 460 hp.
The high-profile exposure of the Goodguys circuit, combined with the high-capacity bidders at Barrett-Jackson is sure to place this Mustang in front of a targeted audience of both potential bidders and future customers. It certainly knocked us out when it hit the Goodguys show in Columbus, where it was a finalist for Street Machine of the Year. This car was even more impressive after we took a closer look and learned of its history. As much as we'd like to think all Southern cars live a pristine, rust-free existence, that certainly wasn't the case for this Mustang. "The car was pretty well rotten," says Dale Johns of D&D. "The floor and fenders all had to be replaced."
D&D does everything in-house, from paint and bodywork to engine and interiors, so Dale's crew went to work tearing down the ponycar and building it back up. The entire process spanned a solid 18 months, but went fairly smoothly. "We've got 10 guys in the shop, and this car went through every one of them at some point in the build," Dale says. The list of custom-fabricated parts on this car is almost endless, including big items, like the dashboard, grille, and seats, to smaller details, like the windshield wipers, vents, and console.
Thirteen-inch Baer rotors...
Thirteen-inch Baer rotors and four-piston calipers are hidden by 17-inch Originals from Genuine Boyds Wheels in the front, and 20-inchers in the rear.
In spite of all the custom work, the car retains a very strong Mustang identity. A quick glance may suggest a relatively stock appearance in the body, but the panels have a fit and consistency never found in the factory assembly process. Small details stand out, like the rear lower valance, where the exhaust ports have been filled. It almost becomes a scavenger hunt to notice other subtle modifications, like the elimination of the front bumper fangs, which clean up the appearance and help focus attention on the custom grille. While the two-tone paint might suggest a Halloween theme, it was in fact specifically chosen to replicate the exact orange and black school colors of Oklahoma State. "It had to be exactly Oklahoma State's colors," Dale says. "One or two shades off wasn't gonna get it done."