Certain things in life go without saying. If you’re going to have a Ferrari, it should be red. If you’re going to own a Jaguar, it should be British racing green. How about a 1967 Mustang? Moss green, of course, just like in the Steve McQueen movie “Bullitt.”

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Bill Collins found a 1967 fastback Mustang for sale in Chicago back in 2001. His buddy Dave Miller bought right then and there. They replaced the worn out 289 engine and automatic transmission with a rebuilt 289 and a Borg Warner T-10 five speed, and Miller used it as a track car for about 7 years.

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Miller and Collins were heads of tech for NASA Great Lakes and Midwest. After Collins sold his racecar, they decided to go in together and make the ’67 something special. Miller owns the car and did most of the sheet metal work. A retired Air Force crew chief, Collins built everything else. They wanted something fast. Something that went like hell and turned and stopped just as well. They stripped the car bare and started from scratch.

“We removed the cage because it was outdated, removed the floors and I started back with it, building the cage and putting the full floating rear suspension on it and redoing the whole front end of the car, converting it to a dry-sump engine and turning it into the car you see today,” Collins said.

The way the car came together was sort of piecemeal, but the end result looks first rate. For example, the wing and front splitter came from Collins’ 1994 Mustang GT. The rear end and disc brakes also came off that SN95 car. The engine also arrived at Collins’ home shop in pieces. The pieces were top shelf, mind you, but there was some assembly required.

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“Believe it or not, it is literally an eBay engine,” Collins said. “I bought parts off eBay: block, heads intake manifold, crankshaft and rods all came from eBay.”

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The crankshaft is a custom Sonny Bryant, which has been fitted with titanium connecting rods. The block, heads and intake are from Yates Racing. Collins assembled the engine, and the finished product is a 2003 NASCAR Sprint Cup engine that makes 700 horsepower at the rear wheels, which is why the car runs in TTU and American Iron Extreme.

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To make it handle, Collins custom made a new front suspension and lowered the motor 4.5 inches in the frame and set it back in the chassis a full 6 inches. It’s so far back that the No. 1 spark plug is now aligned on the same plane as the front spindles, but Collins only needed to make minor alterations to the firewall. That change also led to some challenges with the steering system. To solve the problem, he used a rear-steer rack and pinion from a Ford Windstar minivan, a piece Collins thought might work while he was changing oil in his wife’s Windstar.

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To keep it cool, Miller and Collins built the radiator mounting and ductwork, which is routed up and through the hood. Starting with a plain fiberglass replacement hood, Collins made all louvers and ductwork that extract the heat. On the track, the car has no trouble maintaining 175-degree water temperatures and 190-degree oil temperatures.

To let it breathe, they bought the carbon fiber air cleaner housing from Roush Yates. It draws air from outside the car at the base of the windshield. It’s the same setup they use on Cup cars.

“We ducted it into the cowl,” Collins said. “We split the cowl open when were building the car and blocked it all off, so the air intake of the engine is the cowl of the car, which is the most positive air source on the car.”

The car runs on E85 for a couple of reasons, Collins said. First, E85 is much cheaper than race gas, which is required for the 13.7:1 compression ratio in the engine. E85 also helps it run cooler. The only downside is that the engine uses more E85 than it would use gasoline. Because of that, the car is fitted with a 35-gallon fuel cell. Carburetor jets are also much, much larger than would be necessary with race gas.

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“It increases the amount of consumption,” Collins said. “But on the positive side of that, it helps with cooling and the cost is about $1.85 to $2 a gallon compared with about $12 a gallon for a comparable fuel to run that engine. You’d have to run $12 a gallon race fuel to safely run that engine. E85 will support 14:1 compression with no problem. It uses more fuel, but on the other side of the coin, with the amount of power the thing makes, a little more fuel weight isn’t going to hurt us. And the thing is so light anyway, weight isn’t really an issue.”

With a driver, the car only weighs 2,978 pounds. That’s equivalent to a Porsche Cayman S with a PDK transmission. Oh, and the Mustang has more than double the horsepower of a Cayman S.

Miller and Collins went to great lengths to keep the weight to a minimum. A stock ’67 Mustang fastback weighs 3,000 pounds. When they were building the car, anything that wasn’t critical to the structure of the car was drilled full of holes. Look around the car, you’ll see holes drilled everywhere: the doors, trunk sheet metal, the B pillar, and even the factory hood hinges, which ended up weighing about a third of what stock hinges weigh.

“Our goal was to try to keep the car as close as we could to, or under, the original weight of the car,” Collins said. “You remove a lot of things, but you add a cage and a lot of items that wouldn’t be in a passenger car, and they’re usually heavier than materials and cloths and that sort of thing. It’s hard to keep a racecar lighter than a factory car. That was the goal and I think we did it.”

Owner:

David Miller

Year:

1967

Make:

Ford

Model:

Mustang

Weight:

2,978 lbs. w/driver

Engine:

Yates 383 Ford NASCAR Windsor V8, 700 rwhp

Transmission:

G Force T-101, four speed

Suspension:

Front: tubular short-long arm, w/ double-adjustable QA1 coilovers, NASCAR sway bar

Rear: IMCA full floating Ford 9-inch, three-link, M&M rear sway bar, w/watts link and double-adjustable QA1 coilovers

Tires:

Front: Forgeline 18 x 10.5 wheels, Hoosier 320-650R18

Rear: Forgeline 18 x 13 wheels, Hoosier 355-650R18

Brakes:

Front: Baer six-piston with StopTech 14-inch rotors

Rear: Wilwood four-piston Dynalites, 12-inch rotors

Data system:

Traqmate

Sponsors:

Dave Miller and Bill Collins
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Image courtesy of Brett Becker