You just never get tired of seeing a classic Mustang, especially one that’s been well taken care of. There has always been something about the original pony car from Ford that appeals to just about everyone, young and old alike. From stock restorations to complete customs, as long as the car is treated right and given the respect it deserves, it gets attention. Let it rot, and people urge the owner to do the right thing and part with it so someone else can bring it back to life.
We found a great example of a Mustang that got it’s much needed attention over at Pro-Touring.com, and owner Doug Bawn has given himself – and the rest of us – a treat with his 67 Mustang Shelby GT500 Tribute car. Knowing that cutting up and modding a genuine Shelby is taboo, he sought out a donor car, and chose the ’67 because he loves the overall style of it. Doug says that when he started his build, the car was already destined to be driven, and driven hard.
Doug found a car about 300 miles from his home in British Columbia, Canada, and initially thought he had a great start but after a closer look he found lots of rust. When his attempts to get the bodywork done fell short of his expectations, he made an executive decision to tackle the work himself, and despite the patchy start this six-year-long project was going to get done one way or another.
Since the ultimate goal was to have a Shelby clone that would handle the track better than ever, it meant lots of custom work and some fabrication. But there was a catch to this build: Doug wanted the improvements to be subtle, and so stealthy that “even sharp vintage Mustang enthusiasts would have a difficult time picking up”, he said.
The car had to handle extremely well, but it also had to be fast and powerful, so a 428 was Doug’s choice for power. But, as was par for the course, the problems Doug experienced weren’t limited to rusty body panels and he spent some time under the hood. He had 3 valve seals go bad and a head gasket issue that had the engine out of the car again.
While the engine was out some upgrades were in order, including a new cam for a little more spunk and swapping the toploader for a TKO 5 speed. Now sporting 434 cubes with Edelbrock heads and intake, with a Holley Street Avenger carb and MSD distributor, Doug has the beast that he was planning to turn this car into.
Rolling on a set of FR 500’s, the front wheels are 17 x 7.9 and the rear are 17 x 10, with 255/40R17 up front and 315/35R17 in the rear. Suspension upgrades include lowering the rear about 1.5 inches and lowering the front 2 inches. Total Control Products control arms handle the suspension up front, and five leaf reverse eye lowering springs supporting a Ford 31 spline 9 inch are out back, all soaking up the bumps with Bilstien gas shocks.
For braking, Baer/Shelby 6 piston calipers clamping down on 13.5 inch slotted and drilled two piece rotors up front get the job done, with Baer brakes out back and 11.85 inch rotors. Heavy duty sway bars, StreetorTrack strut rods and Caltrac traction bars also help this beast handle the road racing that Doug does with this car.
With all that aggressive performance and handling, Doug wanted it to look just as mean as it drove. It took Bawn two years to do the body work, but the effort that was put into it makes it seem like a very long two years. The rusted panels were removed and replaced, and rust proofing paint was used to prohibit rust in those areas in the future. Looking at the pics of the removed panels, it doesn’t look like much of the car was left.
Looking at the meats on this Mustang, it’s clear that some modifications needed to be made to the quarter panels to fit the 315 tires. Most people would just tub the car, but Doug took it a step further and not only mini-tubbed it on the inside edge, but he stretched the outer panel as well, another subtle modification that’s hard to distinguish.
The fiberglass trunk on the Shelby’s, according to Doug, were typically ill fitting panels and he wasn’t completely happy with it. So his aim was to close the gap and have a better fit, and at the same time he decided to extend the height of the spoiler about an inch. He spent hundreds of hours doing fiberglass work, and his attention to detail shows in the pictures, as well as the finished product.
High build epoxy primer and guide coat was applied, and the car was driven for a year and a half before the final paint work was done. After the years of body work, the paint was given no less attention to detail as the finished paint job shows. Finishing up the looks, LED lighting and a hidden 6 speaker stereo system are added features, and for creature comforts a Classic Auto Air air conditioning and a Borgeson power steering system were installed to make this car a little more comfortable to drive.
Doug is very proud of his Shelby GT500 Tribute Car, and he has every right to be. Doing most of the work himself was very rewarding, and seeing this car and the results of six years of hard work make it all worthwhile to him. We couldn’t pass it up, and with looks that kill and power to match, it seems like many others won’t be able to pass it up, either – whether it’s on the track or parked at a show.