1969 Ford Mustang: Steppin’ Up to the Big Boys
Photos by Mike Harrington
For Tim Spencer, there was only one brand of car to build since his father had sold Fords at a dealership while growing up. He looked high and low and finally found this 1969 Fastback on eBay in North Carolina. He also bought it virtually sight unseen. As with most adventures like that, it was much rougher than anticipated. The only saving grace for the car was that it was both a fastback and a six-cylinder. That’s a rare combination these days, and because they weren’t abused like the V8 cars, those that are left are highly sought after.
After stashing it at Jesse Greening’s shop in Cullman, Alabama for two years, Tim sent an email to Kyle Tucker at Detroit Speed. He’d heard they were thinking about expanding into the Mustang market and offered his ’69 up for prototyping with “no time frame.” It was theirs for as long as it took.
It was a win-win for both parties, and when the dust settled the Mustang had their new Aluma-Frame and QUADRALink setup stamped with serial #1. DSE also replaced the floors and mini-tubbed the rear so there was good metal for attaching the suspension. With a round of JRi shocks, Baer brakes, and a Currie rearend, the car was up and rolling, and the Mustang was shipped home where it was stored for another year.
During the prototyping phase, Tim was doing a little research. He had met Jonathan Goolsby and Josh Henning of Goolsby Customs and knew they did nice work. As a test run, he blew his shop truck apart and sent it over for a flattened clear paint job. Unbeknownst to them, Tim was seeing if they could deliver on time and stay on a budget. “It was a bit of a gamble on my part,” says Tim, “but in the end, I was confident that they would do what they said, and we all got to know each other a little better.”
Satisfied with the test run, he approached them with his Mustang. He also brought in a full rendering set from Eric Brockmeyer that illustrated exactly what he wanted. The Goolsby duo agreed that they could work using the rendering as a reference and the adventure was on to make “a clean car.”
Again, as most of these stories go, “clean” eventually went to “very, very clean.” This time, it was the invitation of John McCloud at Classic Instruments and Rick Love at Vintage Air who offered to debut the car in the HRIA booth the following SEMA, giving them an extra year of construction. Inspired with a refined plan, the crew stepped up their game and followed the Goolsby’s build process of working from the ‘middle out.’
“We generally start in the middle, and do the floors and doors before picking an end to work on next,” says Josh Henning. “We went to the rear of the car and our guy Heath did such a great job we were almost worried that we couldn’t follow it up at the front… Almost.”
The rear of the car has been completely tightened up with new sheet metal quarter extensions, smoothed and tucked bumpers, and a custom rear valence. The concave rear panel is accented with machined bezels and 3D-printed taillight lenses from Greening that neatly fit the curve.
The side vents in both the quarters and the front fenders were also 3D scanned and machined with GT logos that match the ’69 gas cap. The front end was refined with trimmed bumper ends and a custom front valence. Tim had pulled inspiration from a C-class Mercedes he owned, and that efficiency in design was translated into the ground effects and the overall fitment and “tightness” of the car. The goal was to take “good and make it great” without disturbing the car’s identity.
The slightly blue/green-tinted charcoal color was predetermined from the beginning, but the eye-catching stripes evolved as they went. After painting the car, Goolsby experimented on several test panels before showing Tim what they had in mind. The stripes are actually a hand-sanded clearcoat for a contrasting finish that really stands out without, uh… standing out.
Nestled under the striped hood is a 2012 Mustang Coyote 5.0-liter with Greening valve covers, DSE headers, and a Borla exhaust. It’s backed with a Getrag transmission. Tim originally had a bigger 5.4-liter but it was too wide and tall to easily stuff into the already tight Mustang engine bay without a lot of work. The switch to the Coyote was a welcome and wise choice that easily spins the one-off Nutek wheels at the slightest touch of the throttle.
Inside, Wayne and Pam at M&M Hot Rod Interiors brought the Eric Brockmeyer renderings to life. They’ve been Goolsby’s “go-to” interior duo for years and it’s easy to see why. They wove yards of Relicate leather, Alcantara, and perforated leather over the custom seats and all throughout the cabin. The modified stock dash now sports Classic Instruments gauges and a Billet Specialties steering wheel.
There is a “neo-classic concept car” feel to the design that sits well with the rest of the car. A Bowler shifter and the new “Goolsby Edge Series” pedals from Lokar round out the “updated aggressive” OEM feel. Advanced Plating also handled their two-toned chrome theme of “brushed and bright.” All of the car’s plated and polished parts have contrasting finishes to tone them down and add dimension.
On debut, the Mustang won the coveted Mother’s Shine Award at SEMA last fall, and then more than realized Tim and CiCi’s dreams of coming to Columbus “on the next level”. When their name was called as Goodguys 2016 Street Machine of the Year winners, it was nearly an out-of-body experience for Tim. More importantly, the real joy of the build were the friendships the Spencers cultivated with not just the Goolsby crew, but also everyone in the industry they met because of it. Building a car with a shop is a process about learning and trust, and in the end, should be a grand adventure with friends. Anything that comes after that is just a bonus. The cars are good but the people are great.