Like the rest of the car, the interior boasts modern upgrades while retaining its old-scho
Smudges on the shifter handle? Yes, sir! Dirt, wood chips, and tiny pebbles embedded in the carpet? You bet! A fresh layer of dust caked on the valve covers? Of course! When the task at hand is making a car look all pretty for photos, stuff like this can drive you nuts, and Randy Robison's '70 Mustang fastback is guilty of all three offenses. It even has a subtle-yet-peculiar wrinkle on the driver-side quarter-panel. For those who value pragmatism over pretentiousness, however, there's an endearing element of authenticity to all these quirks. You see, you'll never find minor blemishes like this in the typical checkbook machine because that would require actually driving the damn thing. In contrast, Randy drives his car often, he drives it hard, and he built it himself on a real working stiff's budget. While pricier g-Machines might flash more bling, this pony stomps them all with a big wallop of track-honed pedigree.
If Randy added up all the receipts, he figures the total tally on this Mustang would come to roughly $35,000. Considering you can easily blow two thirds of that figure on a stock Mustang fastback, it's an impressive feat to say the least. Like most guys capable of pulling off such deft budget stretching, Randy started building cars at a very young age. "Both my dad and stepdad were into cars, and I grew up working on project cars and going on cruises as a kid. I built a '40 Chevy sedan when I was 14, sold it to my uncle, and used the money to buy a '64 Impala," he recalls. Although he was surrounded by Chevys, Randy soon got bitten hard by the Mustang bug. "I testdrove a brand-new '88 Mustang 5.0-liter in high school, and that got me hooked on Mustangs. That was the first new car that I bought, and I traded it my senior year for a '67 Mustang fastback. I ended up selling the fastback, and over the years I played with a couple of mod-motor Cobras and an SVT Lightning pickup."
Although the car was completed six years ago, Randy mixes things up when necessary to keep
Although Randy thoroughly enjoyed his late-model phase-strapping a ProCharger onto his Cobra and pushing it to 10-second e.t.'s-he yearned for the days of stomping the loud pedal in a proper muscle car. "New cars are comfortable and reliable, but they're not that interesting and there's one just like yours on every street corner. I love how you can personalize an old car, and even when I owned late-models, I really missed the muscle car experience," he explains. Consequently, Randy picked up a '67 Mustang coupe that he built up as another straight-line machine. Nevertheless, his heart ached for another fastback, and he wouldn't have to wait much longer for his dream to come true. "I went to the dragstrip one day and met David McMillan, who had a very nice '70 Mustang fastback. Even though it was a drag car, it was very tastefully built. It had a very nice stance, and it wasn't cut up or gutted. David and I became very good friends, and I immediately started pestering him to sell the car to me."
Like any skilled predator would, Randy pounced as McMillan experienced a moment of weakness. "He was having trouble installing a clutch in the Mustang, so I said that I'd take the car off his hands. He said he'd consider it, and I called him every day until he gave me the answer I wanted to hear," Randy says. The hard work paid off, as McMillan finally relented and Randy brought home his new ride. "Since my coupe was a drag car, my plan all along was to turn the fastback into a Pro Touring build. The car had a big cubic-inch Cleveland small-block and a Top Loader trans in it, but David was willing to sell it to me as a roller for $8,000 back in 1999. That was right before Gone in 60 Seconds came out and before the prices of fastbacks boomed, so if I bought this car two years later, there's no way I could have gotten it for so cheap. After the price of these cars skyrocketed, I was like Ricky Bobby in Talladega Nights and said 'Did that just happen?' I just didn't see it coming."
These cars shot up in price out of nowhere. I'm lucky I bought it at the right time." -Randy Robison
Immediately after Randy rolled the Mustang into the garage, he built a 392ci Windsor small-block, bolted a Tremec five-speed stick behind it, and dropped in the new powertrain. The simple yet effective Windsor combo matches a Ford Racing block with a Scat rotating assembly, GT40 aluminum heads, and a mild COMP 224/230-at-.050 hydraulic roller camshaft. It's good for an honest 452 hp while maintaining perfect street manners. With the new motor and trans in place, Randy cruised around in the Mustang for five years until a trip to his first Goodguys show inspired a new wave of changes. "After I got back from Goodguys, I wanted a more balanced car with better handling and braking along with a new paintjob," he explains. Although the Mustang had a solid, rust-free body, some fresh sheetmetal was on Randy's wish list as well. "I like the front end of the '69 model Mustangs better than the '70 models, so I swapped in a new hood, fenders, and grille off of a '69. If I knew I was going to swap in a '69 model front end, I probably would have just got a '69 fastback to start out with, but I knew the history of this car and that was worth a lot. After bolting on the new front clip, I sent the car to Ray Mitchell in Forney, Texas, to apply a fresh coat of Cadillac Galaxy Silver paint."
To get the stance oh-so perfect, Randy chopped a coil off of the aftermarket lowering spri
After the car returned home from the paint shop, Randy got serious about transforming the Mustang into a full-blown Pro Touring machine. To help fund his vision, he sold his '67 coupe. Since staying on budget was imperative, Randy spent the money where it counted most. He retained the stock control arms, but lowered the mounting point of the upper arms for improved camber gain. To complement the revised geometry of the upper arms, Global West strut rods and a Baer bumpsteer kit were added as well. In order to achieve a menacing stance, Global West springs were installed on a set of roller perches. Out back, a fancy four-link setup was out of the cards, so Randy installed a set of Mustang Plus leaf springs. To enhance the Mustang's braking performance, a set of four-piston Baer calipers clamp down on 13-inch rotors at each corner, and sticking it all to the pavement are Wheel Vintiques rollers wrapped in Nitto rubber.
Not long after completing the Mustang's Pro Touring transformation, Randy made a return trip to the Goodguys show, but made sure to run a few laps around the autocross this time. As a former drag racer, he welcomed the new experience and is now determined to get better behind the wheel. "Don't get me wrong, I still love the adrenaline rush of drag racing, but autocrossing is much more laid back. It seems like the faster my car ran at the dragstrip, the more stressful it became," he recalls. "Parts are always breaking, it's usually too hot outside, and I felt like I had more fun drag racing when I had a 12-second car instead of a 10-second car. When you autocross, you can just focus on driving, the car doesn't break, the runs last longer, and it's just a more relaxed experience all around."
...you'll never find minor blemishes like this in the typical checkbook machine because that would require actually driving the ...
Overall, Randy is very happy with the Mustang's performance, but like all hot rodders, he's hungry for more. "The car handles much better than stock, but the factory suspension geometry on these cars is atrocious," he quips. "I also own a '73 Camaro, and even with a stock suspension, that car drives just as well or maybe even better than the Mustang on the autocross. I found that very surprising, and it put into perspective how much more the Mustang's suspension needs to be improved. My plan is to get a complete Detroit Speed and Engineering front suspension setup as soon as possible."
As no surprise, swapping a ’69 Mustang front clip onto a ’70 model is rather straightforwa
When Randy isn't hanging it out on the autocross, he makes a dedicated effort to drive around town in the Mustang at least twice a week, taking it out to run errands or simply to cruise. He even takes it to shows from time to time, where it has won a fair number of trophies. Nevertheless, this is one Mustang that won't wow all the show car judges because it proudly bears one too many signs of wear and tear, most notably on the driver-side quarter-panel. "I got the car sideways at the end of the autocross run, and hit a cone at the finish line with the back of the car. As luck would have it, I hit the only cone on the track that had a PVC pipe and flag sticking out of it, which dinged up the quarter-panel," he laments. Although Randy isn't crazy about running around with a slightly blemished body panel, he should be proud that it got dinged in the first place. That's just what happens when you use a proper Pro Touring machine as directed.
By The Numbers
1970 Ford Mustang
Randy Robison, Nacogdoches, TX
Many homebuilt cars look like a pack of Skittles exploded under the hood, but that’s not t
Type: 392ci Ford Windsor small-block
Block: Ford Racing 4.000-inch bore
Oiling: Melling pump, stock pan
Rotating assembly: Scat 3.900-inch forged crank and rods; Mahle 10.5:1 forged pistons
Cylinder heads: ported Ford Racing GT40 aluminum castings
Camshaft: COMP Cams 224/230-at-.050 hydraulic roller; .510/.512-inch lift; 110-degree LSA
Valvetrain: Ford Racing timing set; COMP Cams valvesprings and rocker arms
Induction: Edelbrock Victor Jr. intake manifold, Holley 750-cfm carb
Ignition: MSD billet distributor, 6AL ignition box, and plug wires
Exhaust: Hooker 1.75-inch long-tube headers, dual 3-inch Flowmaster mufflers
Cooling system: Edelbrock water pump, stock radiator
Output: 452 hp
Transmission: Tremec TKO500 transmission; Ford Racing Cobra flywheel and clutch
Rear axle: Ford 9-inch rearend with 31-spline axles, 3.55:1 gears, and limited-slip differential
Front suspension: stock control arms with roller spring perches; Global West springs and strut rods; Baer bumpsteer kit
Rear suspension: Mustang Plus leaf springs, KYB shocks
Brakes: Baer 13-inch rotors and four-piston calipers, front and rear
Wheels & Tires
Wheels: Wheel Vintiques Magnum 500 18x8, front; 18x10, rear
Tires: Nitto 245/35R18, front; 275/40R18, rear