Back From The Dead

Ron Lyon owns this 1967 Mustang Coupe. He resides in Edgewater, Florida and while this looks like a very nice 67, it was given up for dead at one point.

Ron’s daughter and son-in-law, Stacy and Kyle Tucker, own Detroit Speed and Engineering (DSE). They were previously engineers with GM and started their company in 2000. It was natural for them to begin with parts development for first generation Camaro and Firebird cars. They then moved on to second generation Camaros, Firebirds, Nova’s, Chevy II’s, the G-Body cars, Chevelles and their G body cousins.

A few years ago, it was time to move onto the early Mustangs. Ron had purchased a museum quality 66 Mustang Fastback and DSE took it for use as a development car for 1964-1971 Mustangs. After the development, they continued to use the ‘66 car on the show circuit and race tracks to demonstrate the capabilities of the DSE Mustang parts and components. This car also went along to a major competition with other selected cars from all over the country. After some very rough testing through autocross, road course racing, go and stop contests, technical inspections, etc, Popular Hot Rodding magazine named it their “Muscle Car of the Year”.

As a result of the success of that car and the acceptance of the products in the market place, they continued to use the car in the DSE marketing effort and Ron felt he may never see that car again! 

Along the way they had picked up this 1967 Mustang to use in the validation of the design for the mid-year cars (1967-68). Since Ron was getting a bit anxious to get his 66 back, Ron’s daughter convinced him that this wrecked 67 was a fair deal. He explains that daughters can be VERY persuasive!

The 67 had an interesting background. Found in San Antonio, Texas, an area known for little rust, it had been wrecked in 1975 with 56K miles on the clock and put into storage for 37 years until secured by DSE. Ron does want to give credit to them as they had installed a complete Aluma frame front suspension and steering, a complete Quadra Link rear suspension, deep tub inner fenders and sub-frame connectors (Trademarks with DSE). They had also repaired the pushed in rear panel and trunk lid as well as front end and right rear quarter panel originally damaged back in ‘75. The hood, right fender and right door skin were also replaced with new parts. 

It was starting to sound interesting to Ron so Stacy even threw in a set of Michelin Pilot tires previously used on her autocross car. They are 315/30-18’s on the rear and 275/35-18’s on the front. Done deal he said!

Ron next installed a set of Baer brakes with 14in rotors and six piston calipers on the front and 13in rotors four-piston calipers on the rear. The wheels are from Budnick and are aluminum 18inch replicas of the Buick Grand National Wheels. He had them leave the Buick emblems off the centers and installed Mustang emblems in their place.

The ‘66 that Ron “donated” to DSE had a built 302 in it that Ron got to keep as DSE was installing a crate Roush/Yates Coyote engine with 560rwhp. The 302 has Eldebrock aluminum heads, intake, carb and Comp roller cam and rockers with a grind that gives him more torque at the lower rpm levels. The thought process he says was to hook it up to an automatic overdrive with 3:25 gears for best gas mileage and cruising at 2,000 rpms (70mph). It’s a cruiser he says, but one that he could take out from time to time on a racetrack if he wishes.

The exterior paint is a Chrysler color called Dark Titanium and was applied by Tom Klamo of Edgewater, Fl. It’s a metallic grey with a couple of drops of green, which at certain times in the sun reflects a slightly brown cast. Bright rocker moldings and trim give it a nice contrast.

Chrysler Crossfire seats help add a little headroom too because of their thin seat bottoms and the design was actually of Mercedes origin. Dyna-mat was used for insulation throughout. The dash has aluminum brushed trim with Classic gauges. Gen IV Vintage Air HVAC with electronic controls keeps some cool flowing on those hot summer days in Florida. Tilt steering from Ididit and a banjo style steering wheel from Budnick helps it turn. The Locar shifter is mounted further back than stock as the seats have been moved a little further back too so Ron fits a little better. The rear seat has been sectioned and narrowed and the frames welded due to the tubbed wheel wells. The material for the headliner is an imitation leather in black. The seats are a combination of saddle leather dark tan with black trim. Door panels as well as all the trunk panels are also the same. Edward Schreck of Deland was responsible for the excellent craftsmanship throughout the interior and trunk.

All told, (including Ron’s knee replacement!), the project took 18 months to complete. Its more than capable of holding its own on a road or autocross course but Ron likes to think of it as more a cruiser that has been resurrected and risen from the dead to live on, even better than Henry Ford could have ever dreamed about. Kids he says, stay away from this one!

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