THE HEIRLOOM: Andrew Panda’s 1967 Ford Mustang

17 May

Andrew Panda's 1967 Ford Mustang

THE HEIRLOOM

What does a father do when he has four sons? Why, build each of them an incredible four-wheeled inheritance, naturally!
Words and Pics by hoskingindustries.com.au

Andrew Panda's 1967 Ford MustangIf you look past the potential problems associated with having four sons – like supremely busy weekend mornings taking them to sporting events, violent four-way sibling scuffles, squabbles over inheritance and the very real threat of no one ever putting the toilet seat down – there is at least one potential upside for the four-son-owning car enthusiast: being able to share your hobby with them. 43-year-old Sydneysider Andrew Panda even figured out a way to avoid the potential perils of post-mortem will wars. He’s decided to build each of them a car.

What you’re seeing printed on these pages is muscle car number two, with number one being a neatly restored ’64 and a half Mustang convertible that Andrew completed several years ago. He’s enjoyed plenty of miles in the convertible and wasn’t even thinking about building another car until good friend of his made a fateful late night ‘phone call from California.

“It all started over a couple of beers with my mate that runs his own shop, Big Al’s Mustangs & Musclecars,” Andrew says. “I told him of my interest in buying a 1967 Fastback. Unbeknownst to me, Al had travelled to the USA on a holiday and was keeping an eye out for me.”Andrew Panda's 1967 Ford Mustang

It just so happened that while driving through the California desert Al came across a ’67 under someone’s carport. “The owner said the car had belonged to his father who has passed away,” Andrew says. “It had been sitting there for the last seven years, which was evident by the amount of sand on the car.”

While the owner declined any offers at the time for sentimental reasons, a few months later, Andrew received a call saying the owner was ready to sell. Negotiations were made and the car was shipped home.

Once the car arrived on Aussie shores, even close inspection revealed that the Mustang carried no more than a single two inch rust hole in the floor pan from where the air-con had been dripping for decades past. An excellent start to the project.

Andrew Panda's 1967 Ford MustangBut what next for the fastback? With a relatively traditional restoration already under his belt, Andrew decided something wilder was in order this time around and inspiration was found in the work of the Ring Brothers. Indeed, around $20,000 in parts were ordered from the company during the course of the build, even if they had a hard time believing the would-be customer to begin with.

“They wouldn’t take my money to start with,” Andrew says, still amused by the memory today. “It wasn’t long after the economy went south, so I can understand their hesitation at making and shipping so much stuff on the strength of someone offering a credit card number. I had to get the bank involved to show I was serious.”

Taking inspiration and plagiarising are two very different things and Andrew’s Mustang is covered in bespoke features that you’ll find nowhere else. The bodywork was completed by renowned Australian body man Justin Hills of Hills & Co. in Taree, NSW – a shop famous for turning out impeccable kustoms.Andrew Panda's 1967 Ford Mustang

“Hills & Co. had the car for around 12 months,” Andrew says. “They were excellent to deal with and their work on the Mustang is amazing.”

Custom touches include the unique centre rib in the side vents that has been so well executed that plenty of people have to ask if it was original. Then there’s the shaved drop rails and handles, modified bumpers and custom side skirts fabricated from steel. Both the bonnet and boot are carbon fibre and feature flawless finished surfaced on top and bottom.

Once all the many body mods were complete, the car was lathered in a custom metallic green Glasurit finish that pays a little homage to Bullit, while remaining totally custom as well as being understated and classy. By avoiding current paint trends, Andrew’s modern/classic vibe should still look fresh years down the road.

“The hardest part of the build was probably the bodywork and getting the concept off the paper and into the fabricating,” Andrew says. “Choosing the colour with family members was tricky too, as everyone had definite views on what colour it should be.”

Andrew Panda's 1967 Ford MustangOne area that didn’t come under so much discussion was the powertrain, where Andrew set his mind on a stroked Windsor. Built by Aaron Wiles, the 408ci small-block runs a tough forged bottom end, topped by ported alloy heads and a beefy 950cfm Holley Ultra HP carb’. With a solid cam’ spinning down the middle, Andrew estimates the combo is making around 600hp, which is plenty enough to spin those 285/40/18 hoops under the butt.

“One of the things that still crosses my mind now it’s finished is whether I should have tubbed the car,” Andrew says. “Should I have sacrificed the rear seat for wider wheels?”

Even without a tub job, Andrew has been able to fit a set of 18x9in forged KWC rims on the rear with a ton of backspacing, giving the look of a car with more room under there. In fact, the car boasts a purposefully low stance all round thanks to the RRS Macpherson strut setup at the front and the RRS 3-link Watts assembly under the rear. Hiding behind the KWC wheels is a matching RRS disc brake setup with twin-piston calipers and 13in rotors on front and 12.5in rotors out back.

Hills &Co’s phenomenal metalwork continues in the cabin, where it was decided to rip out the factory dash in favour of a shallower-profile, hand-formed steel unit. From this came the desire to fabricate a custom centre console, complete with space for the Pioneer DVD touch screen. A pair of Recaro buckets sit up front, with grey leather covering them, the rear bench and the custom door trims – all competed by Trik Trim on the NSW mid-north coast. While Autometer gauges fill what’s left of the original fascia, Andrew picked an aftermarket steering wheel that he felt was reminiscent of one from the new-generation Mustangs.

Not content with a quick car that looked pretty, Andrew went all the way and installed a full stereo system into the 47-year-old coupe. Starting with the Pioneer source unit, Focal splits provide sonic nirvana front and rear, with the front speakers neatly and almost invisibly housed behind custom kick panels. A Focal 11in subwoofer provides the low end from a custom enclosure behind the rear seat, ported into the cabin through the parcel tray. Like the rest of the car, the stereo install is pretty understated and designed for class, not the latest trends.Andrew Panda's 1967 Ford Mustang

“Sharing the car and enjoyment with my four boys is all I have planned for it now,” Andrew says. “I love taking it out for a cruise and the occasional car show. Just before the photo shoot I was pulled over by the cops with my son in the car. I wondered what I’d done wrong, but it turned out they just wanted to have a look!”

So what of the other two cars for the other two sons? Andrew says his wife is keen on a Corvette next time around. Car number four is still far too far away. If this Mustang is anything to go by, you can bet the ‘Vette will be one killer shark.

Owner: Andrew Panda
Vehicle: 1967 Mustang Fastback
Paint: Custom Glasurit green metallic
Styling: Shaved drip rails, shaved door handles, modified quarter vents, fabricated steel side skirts, custom front and rear skirts, carbon fibre bonnet and boot lid, modified plenum chamber, billet trim details
Engine: 408ci Windsor stroker
Engine Mods: Scat crank, Scat H-beam rods, forged Probe pistons (11:1-comp’), head and mains studs, ported alloy heads, mains girdle, Camtech solid cam’ (0.570in lift, 109° LSA), Camtech pushrods, Yella Terra rockers, Rollmaster timing chain, Melling oil pump, Aussie Desert Cooler radiator, Billet Specialties pulleys, 950cfm Holley Ultra HP carb’, MSD pro Billet distributor, MSD coil, Holley electric fuel pump and regulator, Ring Bros billet bonnet hinges
Power: Untested
Exhaust: Custom ceramic coated 4-into-1 headers, twin 3in system
Gearbox: Ford AOD, 3500rpm stall
Diff: 9in, 3.89:1 final drive, Truetrac
Suspension: (f) RRS McPherson strut-type, RRS struts, (r) RRS 3-link Watts, RRS shocks and springs
Brakes: (f) 330mm rotors (13in), RRS Phase 3 calipers, 315mm rotors (12.5in), RRS Phase 2 calipers
Wheels/Tyres: 18in Showwheels KWC 013 forged (8in front, 9in rear)
Interior: Recaro front seats, dark grey leather trim, custom metal dash pad, Autometer gauges, dark grey carpets and roof lining, modified instrument fascia, billet pedals, custom centre console, Vintage Air system, B&M Quicksilver shifter, electric windows, custom door trims
Tunes: Pioneer stereo head unit, Focal power amps, Focal speakers and sub, custom subwoofer enclosure (ported through parcel tray), custom kick panels
Build Time: 2 years
Bucks: Undisclosed
Who’s Responsible: Hills & Co. Customs, RRS, Trik Trim, Ring Bros, Aaron Wiles (engine builder)

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