Bill Sandretto bought his first Mustang in 1965, powered by a Hi-Po 289 V8. It would become the first of many, many Mustangs that the San Diego-area enthusiast would go on to own. “I ended up trading that in for a ‘66 Shelby GT350,” says Sandretto, which is where you might imagine this story ends. But no, not even close. “That was too slow for me, so in 1967 I traded that in for a 390 big-block backed by a C6 transmission. I loved that car.”
Flash forward to the 21st century, and Bill Sandretto has owned many, many Mustangs…and still does. From the Super Cobra Jet 1971 model to a Boss 351, Sandretto is a true Mustang enthusiast…though that ‘67 stuck with him. “I wanted that car back, but different,” says Sandretto, which led to him commissioning a one-of-a-kind Mustang with classic looks, modern muscle, and a familiar feel that puts a smile on Sandretto’s face.
A regular at Goodguys car shows, Sandretto’s green ‘67 Mustang looks close to stock, including the paint job. “It’s got a bit of gold flake in there,” says Sandretto, but it to the naked eye it looks similar to something Ford did. Under the hood is a 428 engine with some throwback performance parts, among them an intake manifold from the 1961-64 Ford Galaxie for a 406. The engine features a roller cam, tri-carb setup, and is backed by a 5-speed combination. Sandretto estimates the horsepower at “around 500” and says that the car has “a lot of zip.”
Out back is a Detroit Locker differential with 3:25 gears. “I don’t even pay attention to fuel economy,” says Sandretto, who drives his Mustang as often as he can. In fact, he even won first place last November at the Goodguys show in Del Mar. We’re sure the modern suspension (including rack and pinion steering and coil-overs) helped steer the judges in his favor.
Keeping the engine cool is a 4-row radiator backed by dual electric fans. This allows Sandretto to take the Mustang wherever he pleases. “This engine won’t overheat…period.” Which is a good thing, because this 428 motor wasn’t cheap, just like the custom Chip Foose wheels (which Sandretto has two sets of).
Of course all that engine and suspension work is for naught if there isn’t a comfortable interior to enjoy. To that end, Sandretto went well beyond the “Deluxe” interior of his original ‘67 Mustang and added leather, interior, a new custom dashboard and gauges. Indeed, the dash really helps bring the whole car together, an excellent blend of classic looks and modern functionality.
Walking up on this car, you’d be hard pressed to figure out what was so special about it. Save for the 17-inch Chip Foose wheels (the second set is 16-inches tall), the exterior was left completely stock…just the way Sandretto likes it. 1967 is often cited as the best year for the Mustang, with the fastback looks, sleek lines, and long hood. Sandretto was right to leave that bit of perfection be, where so many other car guys go all-out with the ridiculous modifications.
There is no doubting that this is one well-done Mustang, and it stands out not just for what was done to make it more modern, but for what was left alone. It is so easy to go overboard with big wheels, lowered suspensions, and blowers sticking through the hood that the simple beauty of a 1967 Mustang is often overlook. You’d have to be blind to overlook Bill Sandretto’s ‘67 Mustang though.