This article on Ken's Mustang coupe was originally published in the June 1999 issue of Street Machine magazine
TOP SURGEONS live by them. So do aircraft engineers and nuclear scientists. Exacting standards and tight tolerances we’re talking about; an obsession with attaining perfection no matter how frustrating or time-consuming the task. In these loftily skilled professions, anything less than perfect is unacceptable because all of us are relying on their skills to get things absolutely right first time, every time – or else.
There are also a few blokes who build show cars with the same philosophy. Anything less than the very best just isn’t going to win them any trophies and sure as hell won’t let them get a good night’s sleep for worrying about it. This is an illness for which doctors are yet to find a cure. And for the rest of us, that’s actually good news.
Related: Satin-smooth 1966 Ford Mustang coupe
Why? Because we get to admire examples of exquisitely detailed restorations of classic muscle cars such as Ken Buckland’s astounding 1967 Ford Mustang. Yep, technically she’s pretty stock but it’s the depths of Ken’s dedication and mind-blowing attention to detail that leaves you in awe.
“Building a car such as this, there are so many things that have to be worked on. No one can really appreciate what’s involved until they try it for themselves,” Ken says. “Because it was a Mustang, I couldn’t bring myself to cut the car up, like tubbing the rear wheel wells or flaring the guards. The main aim was to try to keep it as original as possible yet be a show car that would turn heads.”
Ken’s idea for building the Mustang was hatched a decade ago when he decided to build an open-air Mustang convertible. After difficulties trying to find a decent project starter, Ken changed his mind. He bought and built this ’67 V8 coupe instead.
Related: Tubbed 347-cube 1966 Ford Mustang
“A lot of show-car builders weld a sheet of flat metal under the floorpan to hide all the brake lines, handbrake cables etc,” Ken explains. “I thought I’d keep all the underneath original, but smooth out all the dags, spot welds and creases. It sounds simple but after I started I soon realised what an enormous task I had taken on.”
Ken mounted the bodyshell on a rotisserie and began the agonising job of filling and grinding the underbody. Once completed, the shell was shipped to Ultra Smash Repairs in Burwood, NSW, where Ken high-filled the underside and hand-rubbed it to perfection. Then a tough skin of Spies Hecker two-pack paint went on.
With the half-painted shell back at home, Ken embarked on the laborious and time-consuming business of stripping, smoothing and painting every suspension component. Each part was bolted back on using new ball joints, bushes and so on. The 289-cube Windsor V8, C4 auto transmission and rear axle were also given the same exacting high-fill/hand-rub/two-pack treatment.
The basics are all standard Mustang but check out the religious attention to detail. Imagine going to all the trouble of flattening every spot weld in a car’s body shell, rectifying every manufacturing dag on each component and smoothing every casting
The underfloor and running gear was now perfect. The exterior had to match. Jeff Rudd was given the responsibility of getting the sheetmetal and panel gaps slide-rule straight before Michael Moncrief laid on the metallic green Spies Hecker two-pack. Needless to say, the quality of the paint and panel finish on this car almost defies description.
The detail is what makes Ken’s Mustang so incredible. And that’s what ensured its place in the Top 10 at Summernats 12
Stick your head inside the cabin and you’d swear you’d been transported back in time to a Ford showroom circa 1967. It’s just that good. Ken bought all the new vinyl trim bits from the USA but called on local trimmer David Tortell to supervise their installation.
“Again, this took a lot longer than I thought possible as the interior has to be put together professionally to look really right,” Ken says.
Tortell trimmed the boot while Jason Steven-Jones did the wiring and Superchrome Villawood replated all the shiny bits. Classic five-spoke Dragways with 225/60 Bridgestone Eagers complete the resto.
Mustang restorations are not hard these days due to the healthy US repro industry. But Ken’s interior is restored to a level of detail above and beyond factory spec
“People often ask if it was a joy to build but I’m afraid it was a case of being frustrating more than anything,” Ken reflects. “The car took a lot longer than I could have imagined at the start. In fact, many times I wondered if I would ever finish!”
Dedication. Perseverance. Perfection. If Ken ever decided to become a surgeon, an aircraft engineer or nuclear scientist, we’d all be in very safe hands.
1967 FORD MUSTANG COUPE
Featured June 1999
Paint Spies Hecker
Induction Triple carbs
Intake manifold Edlebrock medium rise
Ignition Twin-point Mallory
Exhaust 2in Aluminium oxide-coated
Trans C4 auto
Diff Factory 8¾in
SUSPENSION & BRAKES
Brakes XA Falcon master cylinder, XA discs (f), XA drums (r)
Trim Deluxe Vinyl
Steering wheel Deluxe Mustang
Carpets Tru-Fit colour matched
Tyres 225/60 HR14 Bridgestone Eager
Wheels 14x8 Dragway 5-spoke