Steven also tackled much of the engine rebuild, doing "about 75 percent" himself with help from Scott Milner at Coupe Performance. Utilizing the original 289 block and crank, everything was polished, balanced, and blueprinted before going back together with new Ford pistons and rods secured by ARP bolts, along with a performance camshaft from Competition Cams. Steven shelved the factory heads and intake in favor of Edelbrock components, including aluminum RPM heads and an Air-Gap intake topped by a Barry Grant carburetor. Other mods include roller rocker arms, Shelby headers and valve covers, March Performance pulleys, an MSD ignition system, and a PerTronix Ignitor inside the distributor. Dual K&N oil filters mounted remotely on the inner fender keep the oiling system squeaky clean.
For spirited street driving and the occasional open track, he says the power from the 289 is perfectly acceptable. However, he has his eye on a blow-through supercharging system from Paxton.
Steven also rebuilt the four-speed and 8-inch rear axle, going with a Ford locking differential and 3:55 gears in place of the original open 3:00s. Stainless Steel Brakes Corporation rebuilt the factory front disc brakes with stainless sleeves and pistons, and he added an SSBC rear disc-brake kit.
Steven's hardtop is proof-positive that super-nice Mustang restomods can be built by individuals without corporate sponsorship or professional fabricators. It's a real-world Mustang built by a real-world guy for fun on the street, along with show competition in World of Wheels and MCA events, where the hardtop has already garnered a number of awards. Best of all, Steven can say he built it himself.
Getting the Stance
After we reported on Steven's "Best Stance" award in our Atlanta NMRA coverage, reader Mike White from Austin, Texas, e-mailed us to see if we could find out how Steven achieved the stance on his hardtop. Here's his explanation:
"I gathered the parts as my budget would allow and assembled it during a couple of weekends. I should say I assembled it, disassembled it, assembled it again, disassembled it, and so on. At the front, I used Total Control Products' upper/lower control arms and strut-rod assembly. I used 620-pound springs from Mustangs Plus, having installed them earlier so they would settle. I drilled for the Shelby upper control-arm drop, used new spring perches, and cut the springs a total of 1/2 coil, which is where the apart-together-apart-together thing came into play. Leaving the shocks off helped, and once I realized the cutting wheel would fit without totally disassembling everything, it all went a bit quicker. I also added a Mustangs Plus 1-inch sway bar and pillowblock frame mounts from National Parts Depot.
"The rear is really straightforward. I used a standard '66 Mustang 8-inch rearend (a 9-inch just adds weight to a small car such as the Mustang) with mid-eye 4 1/2 leaf springs from Mustangs Plus and 1-inch lowering blocks. I probably could've used reverse-eye springs without lowering blocks, but I wanted the ability to raise or lower the rear of the car if needed. I did disassemble the springs and painted them the factory grayish color. Lastly, I used a 3/4-inch rear sway bar, also from Mustangs Plus, and KYB shocks all around.
"Since my Mustang is a street car, I used the same size rims and tires on the front and back. I could've done the big-and-little combo, but I wanted to avoid the hassle. The rims are Vintage Wheel Works' Vintage 45s, 16x8-inch with a 4.5-inch backspacing. The tires are BFGoodrich 225/50x16 KD radials. There's even a matching spare in the trunk because I compete in MCA national shows; it's part of the rules in the Street-Driven Occasional class.