by Lino Chestang
Max and Mary VanderLinden brought their newly purchased 1966 Fastback to Total Control Products for some well deserved upgrades. The flawless black paint job and custom running horse pinstriping seemed to outshine the 14 inch rally wheels and the rest of the standard upgrades. While this was a beautifully restored Mustang it still drove and felt like a 1966 automobile.
The first item on the list of improvements was the steering system. The factory power system was replaced by a power rack and pinion and KRC power steering pump from Total Control Products (TCP). The tighter feel of the rack and pinion made a significant improvement but the car still did not have the sporty feeling they had grow accustomed to from their late model Corvette.
To make the car feel more along the lines of a sports car the chassis would require some stiffening. This car would be used on a somewhat regular basis so a roll bar was not a practical option. The engine bay already had a newly installed monte carlo bar so the TCP tower brace kit was added. A two-stage TCP subframe connector system was installed to really tie the uni-body chassis together. The additional bracing was enough to make a noticable difference in how the car entered turns and responded to steering input.
Next we moved on to improving the recently restored front and rear suspension. A coilover conversion kit with Bilstein shocks and 400 lb. springs was the perfect remedy for the front end. The rear shocks were replaced with a brand new factory replacement shock also from Bilstein. Del-Alum bushings went in to tighten up the leaf springs. The gap between classic car and late model sports car handling was getting smaller with every upgrade.
The chassis upgrades could not be fully realized or taken advantage of without a decent wheel and brake upgrade. For wheels and tires Max and Mary decided to go with 17" x 8" Torque Thrust II's from American Racing with 235/45ZR17 Yokohama's. The larger diameter wheel and wider section width puts more rubber on the ground for improved acceleration and braking. Responsiveness from steering inputs was also enhanced due to the lower profile sidewall and reduced deflection. The stock discs up front and drums in the rear were upgraded to a 4 wheel disc kit from Stainless Steel Brakes.
The interior is outfitted with just enough accessories to improve the feel and comfort without destroying the original styling of the car. TCP pedal covers were added for that extra bit of grip when shifting through the gears. Simpson lap belts were a welcomed improvement over the original belts. And the finishing touch is a woodgrain steering wheel to add to the woodgrain dash pieces.
You'll be able to see this classy restomod Mustang at many of the Ford and classic car shows in the northern California area. At their very first show they managed to pull down a well deserved 1st place trophy. I'm sure this is the first of many.