Halloween Build: “The Franken Stang” 1966 Fastback
Jeff Lilly Restorations “Franken Stang” More Treat Than Trick
by Jason Giacchino
The story of Frankenstein has been a horror icon since 1818, and so popular is its disturbing premise that the prefix “Franken” has become synonymous with the idea of breathing new life into a pile of conjoined pieces and bits. Perhaps it’s only fitting then that Jeff Lilly Restorations calls their one-of-a-kind 1966 Fastback Mustang, “Franken Stang”. And since it’s Halloween, we can think of no better day to write about it.
Beginning life as ’66 Fastback GT, it arrived to the restorer in what we industry folks would call “basket case” status. The process begins with a thorough stripping then leveling of the car, allowing the builder to see if the frame rails have moved around since all the sheet metal was removed.
Measuring factory holes and the distances, heights etc. allow us to compare our factory manuals and frame datum numbers. After some preliminary frame straightening, an X-brace keeps the doorjambs and rockers from moving while the vehicle begins the restoration process.
The suspension is the first area targeted- the stock shock towers are cut away so as to allow the chassis to accommodate a modern independent suspension system and to accept the all aluminum Ford GT engine.
Repro components are fastidiously lined into place; some metal that needs replacing cannot be purchased therefore fabrication is mandatory. To achieve the unique styling the builder selected a pre-made fender flare from a 1971 Mustang at $60 bucks per quarter panel. In addition to being affordable, these OEM body parts are integrated for their avoiding the gaudy looking oversized proportions common in aftermarket fiberglass flares.
Bits like bumpers had to be custom fabbed, cut from sheet metal directly from an in-house template while the doors, for their much smoother fit over repro units, are OEM Ford units. The front grille is a full custom job, made up of welded hand-snipped metal pieces.
Touches like a custom-built bumper valance and hood extension round out the odds and ends that make this build one of a kind.
Part of the appeal of building a custom like the Franken Stang lies in the fact that there’s no need to limit one’s self to the relatively small OEM color pallet of the original 65-66 Mustang. The bare steel here can be treated to the rich luster and deep pearls of the modern paint process.
And after all that, when you finally get to start her up and listen to her whirr, you’ll probably find yourself shouting, “It’s Alive!”
The entire build is broken down in incredible detail on the Jeff Lilly Restorations site.