Perhaps it is no secret that I love Mustangs. I own two of them. With the exception of perhaps the Corvette, the Mustang is America’s car. The Mustang is the fastest selling car of all-time selling over a million in less than 18 months when they were launched- a record that will quite possibly never be broken. The Mustang recently celebrated its 50th birthday and is one of very few cars to have lasted that long without any breaks in production. It is the only muscle car to have survived the 70s. We’ve decided to do our own celebration. It won’t be a party, a cruise on our favorite back road, or time spent at the local track. Instead, it will be a project build.
The Mustang you see above is in fact mine. It is a 1967 Coupe. It was originally painted “Springtime Yellow,” or “Piss Yellow” as my mother called it. It had a 302cid V8, 3 spd automatic, and was in rough shape when my father bought it on September 11, 2001. A day that will never be forgotten for several reasons. It was bought as an incentive for me to do well in high school and was a father-son project. We spent hours replacing the old worn out parts with newer, better parts trying to make it perform better as well as be safer to drive. The suspension was replaced with Total Control Products Grab-a-Trak kit, the front drum brake were swapped out for discs, and the 8″ rear axle was rebuilt. We later added a 4 barrel carburetor and long tube headers and header back dual exhaust. The faded Spingtime Yellow had to go too so the car was spray painted with primer.
After many years of working on it off and on the car finally made it back on the road last spring. It was reasonably quick, fun to drive, and would get looks from everyone. Then one day while the motor started running rough and we found that on of the cylinders lost compression. This was likely due to a failed piston ring (that is our best guess anyway. Since replacing piston rings requires tearing down the motor we decided we might as well rebuild it. The plan was to build up the motor to have 300-400hp, and make it trackable. One of the things on the list was rebuilding the motor and swapping out the old C4 3 spd auto for a late model 5 spd manual. But then one day a friend and former coworker called me up and told me about a deal so good I had to check it out.
My friend told me about a Mustang his neighbor would be selling. The car had a crate motor in it from Edelbrock, the same 5 spd manual transmission I was planning to use and was a whopping deal. I went and test drove the car, a 1991 GT and my was it quick! Much quicker than the 67 ever was when the engine was running strong. I bought the car (pictured above) for $1000. The car isn’t in as good shape as it seems but the engine and transmission are in great condition with the exception of an oil leak. The paint is peeling, there is rust and the interior is completely trashed but the car drives great. The new plan is to pull the drivetrain out of the 91 and install it into the 67.
The fox body Mustang has a 5.0L fuel injected V8. The parts on the car include Edelbrock Performer aluminum 170cc heads, an e303 cam, and Edelbrock Performer upper and lower intakes combining for a theoretical 325hp. With very little modification the engine will drop right in. It uses the same motor mounts as the 302. In fact, the 302 and the 5.0 are the exact same engine block so they share the same architecture. This is where Project Pony Up begins.
In the coming weeks, perhaps months, we will be following and showing you how to do this same engine swap. Included in the project will also be how to swap out the old 3 spd slushbox for the newer T5 5 spd manual. Lastly, we will swap out the old 8″ rear axle for the 8.8″ rear axle from the late model Mustang. Once the project is done the 67 will be faster, more fun to drive, more reliable, and should see a bump in fuel economy. I say should because with a car like this it is very hard discipline your right foot! So, follow along and if you have a similar project you are working on let us know in the comments below or on our Facebook page.
**CORRECTION** The suspension on the 1967 is not the Total Control Products suspension but simply OEM replacement 1″ lowering springs.