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A 97’ Cobra-powered 66’ Fastback

Safety First; Power and Style, a Close Second

Updated July 29, 2017

There is nothing more fulfilling than spending time doing what you love with the people that you love. For some, that involves the strenuous work of rebuilding cars from their past. For one father and son team, not only were the results worth the efforts but the process even doubled as a bonding experience never to be forgotten.

James Graf and his father Richard Graf spent a tremendous amount of time perfecting the rebuild of one very special 1966 Ford Mustang. After an almost tragic accident that left the family concerned, safety measures were taken to the fullest extent. James is quoted as saying “The only reason my dad (Richard Graf) would help me build another Mustang was if it had all the safety features,”. After that was confirmed, the family team from Callahan, Florida, took to searching for candidates.

 The ball officially started to roll when James came upon a 1966 Mustang fastback online. It was in no running condition and lacked a powertrain, among other things. They had their hands full as they went through and brought the body back to life. Replacement panels, angle straightening, rust repair and pulling out dents were all part of getting the body back into shape.Shortly after, James once again took to the web to find a 1997 Cobra. With its V8, disc brakes, wiring, modern airbags, and various other components capable of transplantation, the build was starting to take shape. To take safety to the next step, James continuously drove the 97’ donor Cobra for half a year to make sure all the mechanics they wanted were solid and sound.

The 1997 Cobra was completely gutted, and anything that they needed was modified to fit the 66’ fastback. The powertrain and suspension were first, followed by the modern wiring harness and safety features.

They did run into some issues when fitting the 97’s suspension into the small space left up front and the new wheels were not quite fitting into the fastback’s wheel wells. An extension was fabricated to align the shocks an outstanding 7 inches closer to the bumper. The extra space allowed for the ride they wanted with while comfortably housing the Michelin P245/45ZR18 performance tires.

Peek inside and you’ll see the ’97’s shifter, dashboard gauges, and power controls. Yes, power windows and locks are complimented perfectly by the touchscreen Bluetooth audio system. Continuing with the interior repurposed from the Cobra, we have black leather seats and a modern A/C for those warm summer months.

The seatbelts however, are totally updated 3-point harnesses. After all, safety was the first priority when taking on this project. The exterior lighting also gives the rebuild a custom look. From the headlights to the taillights, the modern lighting gives a clean, clear, and highly-efficient upgrade to the already sporty and classy look.  Other chrome and aluminum accents also give the family treasure a nice personal touch.

Having a vehicle this sweet speaks for itself. Having a timeline of family memories that you can drive may ever be sweeter. Either way, we love this Stang and the Graf family behind it.

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Calvin Escobar
About Calvin Escobar

The Car scene is so diverse Where I come from, most enthusiasts recognize the amazing engineering (particularly the engines). The bulk of the ridicule originates from the manner in which many of the vehicles are modded/maintained. Thus, the jokes and or hate tends to be aimed more at the owner rather than the machine. All of which makes seeing properly sorted old Toyota's and Hondas at car meets, auto shows, and track days all the more refreshing.

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