For such a sweet-looking Mustang, Chris Young's '66 fastback has earned an unenviable reputation-or enviable, depending on your point of view. There's a running joke on the St. Louis streets about the Emberglo fastback with the 15-inch, '65-type Styled Steel wheels.
"Everyone calls it 'MoDot,' for Missouri Department of Transportation," Chris says. "Because nobody stripes the street as much as I do with that car. At every stoplight, I want to put down a city block of rubber. And it will do it."
When Chris bought the car a few years ago, he described his find as a "nice car that needed a little work." With a fiberglass Shelby hood and a set of polished Torq-Thrust II wheels, the Mustang had some eyeball, although the previous owner alluded to "a couple of rust holes here and there." Lonny Childress at Gateway Classic Mustang dug deeper into the Mustang, and he and Chris encountered more problems. Previous work, Chris explained, was basically "done by a production body shop instead of a restoration shop." Body filler was the norm.
Chris' goal was to build a restomod. He toyed with a number of ideas. First, he thought about a stock-appearing '66 with a warmed-over 289. At one point he kicked around the idea of building a Hertz clone.
"But Lonny talked me out of that because Emberglo is a '66-only color. You just don't see it. On this car, it's even more unique because it's got the Parchment and Emberglo two-tone interior."
As the build progressed, the "warmed-over" 289 concept got a little radical. Chris kept the stock 289 block, which he bored and stroked to 347 cubes, but he leaned toward major horsepower with Trick Flow aluminum heads, a single-plane Edelbrock Torker intake, a high-lift camshaft, and Hi-Po exhaust manifolds backed by Flowmaster mufflers.
The original tranny was a three-speed manual, which had to go. A Top Loader was the logical four-speed choice, backed by a Hi-Po version 9-inch rearend with a set of 3.50:1 gears in a Traction-Lok differential.
Overall, the '66 has a sleeper look, owing largely to the stock paint, sans stripes, and factory two-tone interior. The grille still displays the large running horse. Except for the raised white-letter BFGoodrich T/A radials, the exterior looks stock.
Inside, Chris added a tachometer and a clock by modifying his '66 dashpad to fit a dash pod for a '65 Shelby GT350. The steering wheel is a reproduction Shelby from Tony Branda. The Hurst shifter pokes through the stock long console within easy reach of the driver's right hand.
Chris recently replaced the 3.50 gears with a set of 3.00s. He explained, "The engine makes so much torque you could leave a stoplight in Second gear with the 3.50 gears. So we installed a set of 3.00s to get a little more highway leg out of it."
When Chris isn't striping the Missouri highways, he shows MoDot. He says, "The car gets a lot of looks. Every car show we go to, everyone wants to know who did that car."
We ran across Chris' MoDot fastback at last summer's Mid-America Ford and Shelby Meet in Tulsa. Chris took First Place in his class, same as he did at the World Ford Challenge in his home digs of St. Louis.
Chris says people either "love it or hate it." Among the latter just might be the Missouri DOT, which prefers to lay its own stripes.