Building a project car takes many things, but the one that you can’t maneuver around is time. Waiting on parts takes time, putting everything together takes time, but in the end, that time spent is well worth it when the build is exactly as you envisioned it. Brett Kolb’s 1968 Mustang is a father/son project that took years to finish, but the final result is the ultimate Ford-powered street machine.
Brett is the kind of person that pretty well thinks about racing all the time. Growing up he spent many hours in the garage with his father, Karl, tinkering with different automotive projects. Brett and his dad enjoyed making their annual pilgrimage to Denver each summer to watch as much drag racing as possible.
Being your typical young gearhead, Brett was always on the lookout for a car to build, and that’s how the Mustang came into his life.
“When I was a senior in high school I was at our local hardware store and I picked up a Thrifty Nickle magazine and found a 1968 Mustang fastback for sale. I showed the car to my dad and we went home and conned my mom into giving us the okay to buy it. My dad and I always dreamed of making it a kick-ass street car that could also go to the track. At the time we didn’t have the money to make the car what we wanted, so we just cruised it around and enjoyed car shows,” Brett explains.
Later, word got out that the town Brett and his family lived in would soon have its own drag strip — this news was exciting for Brett and his father, so they laid out plans to make the Mustang a great street/strip car. Karl was a pilot for an air ambulance company and tragically lost his life in a crash while transporting a patient before the track was finished. As you’d imagine, this was difficult for Brett, but it only hardened his resolve to keep on racing and make his father proud.
Eventually, Brett put a fairly healthy engine in the Mustang and raced it every so often, but he didn’t know what direction he wanted to go with it, so he kept it fairly mild. Brett eventually purchased a Fox body Mustang for track duty, but it never felt like his dad’s car, so it was sold and the funds were dumped into the ’68. Since Brett’s mom, Linda, drove the car when his father was still alive, he made a pact with her to never make the car so radical that she couldn’t drive it to church on Sunday if she wanted to.
The Mustang is now powered by a healthy 417 cubic-inch Ford mill with a bottom end that features a Callies Magnum crank, Callies connecting rods, and custom Diamond pistons that was built by ZSR Engines. Dwayne Busch assembled the Ford Racing Z304 cylinder heads and Brian Friedentag provided a custom blower camshaft. For a power adder, Brett chose a Vortech YSI B supercharger that feeds boost through a CSU blow-through carburetor. Controlling the spark and data logging for the engine is a Haltech VMS system that sends information to Brett via a Haltech IC-7 dash.
To assist with street manners, Brett commissioned Justin Bauman to build a C4 transmission that works with a Gear Vendors overdrive unit and Ultimate Converter Concepts torque converter. The fabrication and chassis work was done by Brett’s friend, Seth Eaton. For the suspension, Brett chose Menscer Motorsports shocks and a Strange Engineering 9-inch rear end that works with parts from Calvert Racing. A set of RC Components Hammer S wheels are used at each corner of the car and are wrapped in Mickey Thompson rubber. Bringing the Mustang to a stop after each pass is a full set of Wilwood brakes.
Brett races the Mustang in just about any True Street type of class he can find in the Northwest part of the United States. The car has run in the mid-5-second zone in the 1/8-mile, but Brett is gunning for a low 5-second pass, along with a low 8-second 1/4-mile timeslip. He plans on taking the car to the SCSN event in Las Vegas this fall to try and achieve those goals.
Even though Brett’s dad wasn’t able to see the final product of the project, he knows he would be very proud of what the car has become. Brett enjoys spending time at the track, but the friendships he’s created as he built this car mean even more to him.
“This is a true street car…my dad wouldn’t have wanted it to turn out any other way. He was a true do-it-yourself kind of guy, so I’m glad I can say that my friends and I were able to build this entire car. Four guys that I met through racing cars have helped me build this car. It wouldn’t be where it’s at without them. Justin Bauman, Adam Mollman, Jarrod Boyd, and Seth Eaton have become lifelong friends because of this project and I can’t thank them enough. I also need to thank my mom….she has always supported me in whatever I do,” Brett says.
Building this 1968 Mustang has been an incredible journey for Brett Kolb — he has been able to use everything his father taught him to make their dream car come to life. The best part for Brett is he can now create more memories with his father on every pass he makes at the track.