1969 Mustang Fastback with Boss Flare and 460 ci

It Took More Than 20 Years to Rebuild this 1969 Mustang SportsRoof from Total Destruction

By Barry Kluczyk   –   Photography By the Author

Disaster and its aftermath take many forms—and so do the ways people cope with it. When Bill Hintzmann was rear-ended in his 1969 Mustang SportsRoof (synonymous with “Fastback”), it could have been the end for the vintage pony car, but rather than writing it off he doubled down to rebuild it and take it to a new level of performance and style.

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It just took him more than 20 years.

“It was my dream car,” Bill says. “I’d worked and saved for 14 years to get the perfect ’69 Mustang, and even after the accident I had no intention of letting go of it.”

02 1969 ford mustang fastback with torque thrust wheels

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He found the car in 1998 and bought it from a motorcycle shop owner. It was a 302/automatic Mustang and was very solid for a “rust belt” car, with corrosion limited to a small patch of rust on one of the doors. It even wore its original Royal Maroon paintwork.

“It was in amazing shape for its age; apart from a set of headers, it was stock and untouched,” Bill says. “I couldn’t believe my luck in finding it.”

As winter blew into Michigan in late 1998, the car went into the garage for some restoration work and emerged a few months later in time for a debut at the 1999 Detroit Autorama. It’s an event held on the backside of winter, so the Mustang didn’t see the street again until the first cracks of spring.

04 a 1969 mustang boss clone with style

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“It was St. Patrick’s Day, and the weather was bright and sunny,” Bill recalls. “It was the first good day of the year to take the car for a drive, and that’s the day of the accident. I got rear-ended, and the car was a complete mess afterward.”

It would have been easy to walk away from the wreck and start over with another car, but Bill was a bodyman and restorer by trade, and he’d already formed a bond with the car.

“I knew I could repair it,” he says. “I just didn’t figure it would take more than 20 years!”

It’s not that he was a procrastinator, but as many enthusiasts can relate, life skewed the restoration’s timeline. Bill married and bought a house. He had a job. And expenses. All the trappings of everyday life and budget constraints made it difficult to fit the Mustang’s resto into the schedule.

05 a 460ci ford fe engine under the hood of a 1969 ford mustang

But he kept chipping away. The crumpled sheet metal was replaced and the unitized chassis was straightened. Bill also developed more of a restomod vision for the car and built it accordingly.

That included building 2×3-inch rear frame rails and additional floor mods and opening up the rear inner fenders and stretching them with homemade wheel tubs that look nearly like factory stampings.

“I didn’t want the tubs to look like aftermarket parts simply inserted in the body,” he says. “So, I cut the factory inner fenders in half, added 2.5 inches in the middle, and welded them all back together for a more natural appearance.”

07 ford mustang fe v8 with a holley four barrel carb

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More sheetmetal surgery was performed at the front of the body, with the custom panels in place of the original shock towers, as the front suspension received a coilover conversion. Rather than simply slicing out the towers and tacking in a couple of closeout panels, the replacement panels span the entire length of the respective inner fenders and feature bead-rolled details that look factory.

Outwardly, the Mustang appears mostly stock, with Boss-inspired cues, such as the rear wing, front spoiler, and Boss 429-style hood scoop. It also wears a black hood accent that mimics that seen on the Boss 302 and Mach 1. Black body-side stripes appear influenced by the ’70 Boss 302 but with their own design and flare.

Bill also took inspiration from the original Royal Maroon color but added his own spin on it, adding touches of red and gold pearl to give it a more luminescent look in the sunlight. The paintwork was also color-sanded and polished nicely for a smooth, mile-deep finish.

08 radiator installed in a 1969 mustang fastback

Moving back under the car, Rod & Custom Motorsports supplied the front coilover kit. There are coilovers at the rear, too, along with ladder bars to keep the 9-inch axle in place. It’s fitted with a limited-slip differential and a 3.50-ratio gearset, sending the powertrain’s torque to a set of Torq-Thrust-style aluminum wheels wrapped with Ventus radials in front and Mickey Thompson ET Street drag radials in the rear.

They’re good-sized wheels, too, measuring 17×8 in front and 18×12 in the rear. In fact, the rear wheels were custom-widened to give the car a wider footprint and put more rubber on the road. Aesthetically, it lends the Mustang a stronger, tougher stance, but from a practical standpoint, the extra-wide rear rubber helps harness the power of the car’s stroker big-block engine.

09 modern interior of a 1969 ford mustang with procar race seats

Built by a longtime Detroit-area Ford specialist, Total Performance, it’s a 460-based FE foundation with a 0.030-over cylinder and a 4.300-inch stroke for a displacement of 521 ci. Not surprisingly, all the internals are forged, including pistons that deliver a 10.7:1 compression ratio, while the camshaft is a hydraulic flat-tappet grind with a 0.652-inch max lift. Additional elements include ported-and-polished aluminum Cobra Jet heads, a ported aluminum Edelbrock intake manifold, and a Quick Fuel 850-cfm dual-feed carburetor. Blowing through a set of Hedman headers with 1-7/8-inch primaries and 3.5-inch collectors, it’s a combination good for somewhere in the neighborhood of 650 hp and around 675 lb-ft of torque.

10 wooden steering wheel in a classic mustang

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There’s also a custom-bent, 3-inch polished stainless exhaust system culminating at the rear valance with exits featuring twin 4-inch outlets. Additionally, a custom three-core aluminum radiator fitted with a pair of electric fans helps the big-torque stroker engine keep its cool.

In contrast, the engine channels all its pound-feet into a performance-built C4 automatic transmission. Bill says he went through four transmissions before he found a builder who could supply one with the strength to stand up to all big-inch Ford FE’s grunt.

It was modified and machined to incorporate roller bearings, which help reduce friction to enhance performance and longevity. Bill says the builder also tailored the gear ratios, installing a steep First gear that gives the car very strong launch capability but with a milder top gear that complements the 3.50 rear-axle ratio for a good balance of cruising rpm.

12 floor shifter for a ford c4 automatic in a 1969 mustang fastback

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“It doesn’t have overdrive, but on the highway the tach hovers around 2,700 rpm,” Bill says. “It’s a pretty comfortable combination that makes it easy to drive most places.”

A set of Procar by Scat seats in the Mustang’s cabin also enhances comfort. It’s a space that blends a few restomod enhancements with generally stock trim. Along with the seats, the upgrades include a TMI center console (with cup holders and storage), a tilting steering column topped with a wood-rimmed steering wheel, a modern radio, and some aftermarket gauges—including an Auto Meter tach and a pair of auxiliary instruments mounted in an A-pillar pod. The rest of the interior is pretty much standard Mustang fare.

15 torque thrust wheels on a classic mustang

After the 1999 accident, it was the summer of 2021 when Hintzmann finally hit the street again in his restored and reimagined ponycar—and even then, it was a season of shakedown runs and bug-chasing. It’s been only the past couple of years that the car has been up to full speed, so to speak.

It was unquestionably a longtime coming—more than 20 years—and the restoration came with well-deserved pride.

17 classic ford mustang gas cap on a 1969 mustang

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“I did 90 percent of the work myself on this car,” Bill says. “It was more than just a project car. It was a part of my life, and it’s very gratifying to see it back on the road.”

Admittedly and understandably, Bill is a little nervous when he’s behind the wheel after all this time and work, but not enough to keep him out of the driver seat.

“It puts a smile on my face every single time I get behind the wheel,” he says. “If the weather is good, I’m driving it.” With an eye glued to the rearview mirror, no doubt. MR

Click on this issue’s cover to see the enhanced digital version of 1969 Mustang Fastback with Boss Flare and 460 ci.mr may 2024

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