"I'll save some money and start it in a few months". "Maybe once the kids get out of school...". How many times have we said this or something like this? The beauty of buying a vintage mustang is that you get to choose when you build it as well as how you build it. For Stephen Jones, his "when" and "how" were dictated by a life altering sequence of events.
Inspired by early episodes of Overhaulin' and American Hot Rod, Stephen's quest of owning his dream car began back in 2005. A trip to the store found Stephen in front of a magazine rack where he discovered a publication who's feature story was about "25 ways to update your classic mustang" kicked off with a cover photo of a 67 fastback. He read that magazine cover to cover several times and still has that issue today. That moment and that magazine started it all.
A sixteen hour "white knuckle" road trip through a spring Canadian snowstorm yielded a "rusted out" 67 fastback. A few months after purchasing his rusty candidate, Stephen was involved in an accident that left him a quadriplegic. During his recovery, he continued to search for parts for his project which led him to the good folks at Mustangs To Fear in Rochester Indiana. Rich and Michele from MTF spent a lot consulting with Stephen on his dream car. They even invited him to the MTF shop and their home to officially make he and his family members of the mustang community.
Realizing he would no longer be able to complete any of the work himself, Stephen decided to seek out a "rust free" project car. This time it would be a 69 fastback. He found his candidate on EBay and had it shipped to Rich Smith at MTF so he and his team could assess the overall condition of the car. As so many stories that have been told in the past, media blasting revealed that there was more work to be done than originally thought. After being assured that the metal work needed was nothing to worry about, Stephen began to explain to vision for the completed project. "I wanted it to appear pretty much stock on the outside but with the latest technology on the inside". Stephen explained to Rich from MTF, that he wanted the "Darth Vader of mustangs".
"It was the interior that Rich went over and above in designing" said Jones. With exception of the dash pad, almost every interior panel was custom designed and fabricated in the MTF shop.
Simply describing this car as black won't even get you close. The flawless paint job seems to be 6 feet deep and is accented by having all exterior chrome painted black. The aggressive stance comes courtesy of the 18" Foose Nitrous wheels and Nitto tires. Handling and ride comfort come courtesy of the Rod and Custom Motorsports front suspension and the Heidt's four link system.
Stephen's "Dark Dream" is powered by Ford's Coyote topped off with the late model Boss 302 intake and tuned by Sean Hyland motorsports. Kiesler's RS600 and Modern Driveline's clutch coupled with a 9" rear end and 3.50 gears transfer the power to the pavement. To accommodate the large heads on the Coyote, ABS brakes supplied an electronically actuated power brake system with a small master cylinder that could fit in the stock location. Stephen requested a 3rd brake light be added to the rear deck lid to prevent being rear ended when "people are staring and gawking at the beautiful black paint job".
This build became the prototype for a number of new products from Mustangs To Fear including smooth inner fender panels, a smooth firewall panel, and a custom roll bar.
"It was the interior that Rich went over and above in designing" said Jones. With exception of the dash pad, almost every interior panel was custom designed and fabricated in the MTF shop. Heated front leather seats, a custom ABS headliner that provides an extra 2 1/2 inches of headroom, custom gauge cluster, and trap door built to accommodate two 10" subwoofers. Furthering his pursuit of the blackest mustang ever, Stephen had the Mustangs To Fear go with carbon fiber accent panels and even extended the look to the custom hydro dipped valve covers on the engine.
Stephen finally has the mustang of his dreams. Fast? Absolutely. Stunning? No question. Judging from the reactions he gets when his family takes it out, it seems to fit the bill as the mustang of many people's dreams. His daughters have been busy arguing about who gets the car when Stephen is gone but he says the joke is on them because "I plan being buried in it". Coolest casket ever says this author.