Those of us living in Southern California are accustomed to seeing classic Mustangs in a variety of conditions, ranging from original daily drivers to pristine concours restorations and hot restomods. Many are still on the road thanks to a forgiving climate. Because this region is dry, with low humidity most of the time, rust and other natural forms of deterioration aren't an issue unless you live in the salty coastal air or the hot sun of the desert.
Pat Fitzgerald's Clearwater Aqua '67 fastback is a nicely restored "work in progress" that he drives just about anywhere, Los Angeles weather permitting. And because Pat's Mustang is native to LA, sold new at Citrus Motors Ford in Ontario in November of 1967, it has survived the elements and freeways. The original 390 High Performance V-8, C6 Select-Shift, and 3.00:1 9-inch axle are still there more than four decades later. Pat managed to find a complete Thermactor emissions system for his 390, which makes the engine compartment complete. He also located a new-old-stock Tecumseh air conditioning compressor still in the box with the correct Ford badging.
When Pat bought this car five years ago from Arnold Marks of Mustangs Etc., it was a nice weekend driver. The car ran well and was a pleasure to drive because Mustangs Etc. had covered the mechanical bases, but it needed a lot of detail work to be MCA show ready-so Pat went to work.
Pat removed all the interior chrome and had it replated. The fold-down rear seat had to be torn apart and restored with new carpet and fresh chrome. The center console was disassembled and detailed. Pat managed to find a pristine '67-vintage AM/FM radio. While the dashboard was apart, Pat installed the optional clock. When it was time to detail the engine compartment, Pat had his work cut out for him. Because the FE 390 fills the auditorium, detail work was tedious because everything was so tight. As you can see, Pat has done his engine compartment justice with all the right nuances.
"The car is as bone-stock as I can get it but with GT dress-up items like fog lamps," Pat tells us. Yet, his fastback is not a GTA with the optional GT Equipment Group. It is a 63A code fastback with standard interior, which is rarer than a loaded variation with the GT Equipment Group.
According to the Marti Report, Pat's fastback is one of 472,209 Mustangs produced in three assembly plants for '67. Of those, 71,062 were fastbacks, with 17,350 fitted with the 390 big-block. Of that number, 6,730 came with the C6 Select-Shift automatic. Where it gets more interesting is color-only 227 in Clearwater Aqua. As Kevin Marti whittles it down, 55 had black standard interior and only 39 came with the fold-down rear seat.
Ready for more statistics? Just eight of these Clearwater Aqua 390 fastbacks had air conditioning, according to the Marti Report. Only four had 7.35x14 white sidewall biased-belted tires. Only one had power front disc brakes-and Pat's car is it. This makes Pat's fastback one-of-one-the only one like it produced for 1967.
Studying the Marti Report, we learn that Citrus Motors Ford ordered Pat's fastback on February 10, 1967. Ford assigned the vehicle identification number three days later on February 13, then bucked and assembled the car on February 24. But it didn't sell until well into the 1968 model year on November 15, 1967. Perhaps the original owner bought it because, in the fall of 1967, it was nearly impossible to buy a '68 Mustang due to a United Auto Workers strike that silenced Ford assembly plants for several months.
Pat never set out to go with a concours stocker. He was thinking more of a personalized restomod with mild modifications. As time passed and he started collecting scarce parts, thoughts turned to making the car stock. Pat found rare parts at Mustangs Etc. and across town at Bo Chung's Mustang Service Center. Garrett Marks at Mustangs Etc. was instrumental in finding the more obscure parts. What Garrett couldn't find, Sue Smith at Mustangs & More did, locating the clock, voltage regulator, and other items.
Pat isn't finished with his efforts to make this an authentic restoration. "I set various milestones," Pat told us. "I love the restoration process and would be lost without help from club members in Southern California."
Pat stresses the most important benefit of restoring his Mustang: "Being the steward of a classic car is great," Pat smiles. "It provides a greater sense of appreciation for the efforts others have put into their Mustangs."