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Highly Customized 1967 Ford Mustang

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Eight years ago, Alrick Washington considered himself nothing more than an Internet technology guy with a passion for cars.

While working in the software industry, Washington began restoring vehicles, starting with a 1965 Ford Mustang. He even began renting out a garage to do some of the work—and take on projects from friends and the occasional customer.

In all, Washington currently has four Mustangs: his original ’65, an additional ’65 (a coupe), a ’66 fastback, and his pride and joy, a ’67 fastback.

“I’m the proud owner of all of them, but the ‘67 is the monster,” he says.

And it’s the one that led to a full-fledged career change, and the success of his shop, Star Auto Body in Pantego, Texas.

Washington had always been drawn to the ’67, but he says he had to search for years to find one at a decent price. He eventually did track one down (on the other side of the country in Michigan) that he described as a “rust bucket.” And it looked like it had been rolled.  

Washington paid $5,100 for what was essentially an empty shell with damage on the roof, quarter panels and floor panels.

“It was your typical barn find,” he says.

He started from the ground up and replaced or repaired just about everything. He installed four-wheel disk brakes, a Ford nine-inch heavy-duty rear end, and a modified front and rear suspension for a pro touring setup. The suspension is adjustable so the driver can feel every bump or get more of a “smooth Cadillac ride,” he says.

Having a knack for creativity, Washington takes pride in his unique paint combinations. And that’s where this Mustang really stands out. When he first told people he wanted to do a two-tone canteen green with a Mercedes Benz titanium silver, he got plenty of raised eyebrows. But Washington insisted it would turn out—even if he had never seen that specific color combination before. Once painted (with a slight green tint added to the silver) the colors make people look twice.

“The pictures don’t do the car justice,” Washington said. “The colors really pop well together.”

Washington added a white, green and silver interior to match, and a one-of-a-kind, hand-carved mustang imprint in place of the original louver panel on the rear window. He created the imprint out of fiberglass. Friend Mike Cissell customized a Mustang imprint, and, after pressing it into the fiberglass and airbrushing it, Cissell took an X-Acto knife and scratched the remaining details, including every strand of hair in the horse’s mane.

Then Washington had a Ford 302ci with a 347ci stroker kit dropped into it. The engine has an aluminum intake and heads and has 11:1 compression. (Last year, Washington added an electronic fuel injection (EFI) system controlled by electronic MSD components, making it completely tunable and allowing it to fire up every time without issues.)

After completing the restoration—nine months and $40,000 in parts later—Washington quickly won Best of Show and People’s Choice awards at an area show.

His previous Mustang restorations, like the ’65 fastback, had helped draw restoration customers. But once the ’67 started turning heads at shows, the demand for Washington’s talents turned his hobby shop into a full-fledged business. Starting with classic restoration and eventually branching out into complete collision work, the IT guy had found a new profession, though he still works as a software consultant.

Washington often keeps the ’67 parked in front of the shop as a marketing tool. He continues to take the Mustang to shows, where it has racked up awards. And Washington drives it as much as he can.

“I didn’t build it as a trailer car. I could drive it across the country today if I wanted,” he says.

It’s been appraised at $70,000, but he has no plans to unload it. It has too much sentimental value: He knows the work he did on it is a large reason his business has expanded. And he couldn’t sell any of his Mustangs if he wanted to; each of his sons have already laid claim to them.

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