Photos Courtesy of Jay Torbett
Homebuilt muscle cars are the heart of this hobby. Building something in your home garage and taking it from a million pieces to a tire-burning street terror is perhaps the most satisfaction a gearhead can ever experience. Jay Torbett of Jacksonville, Florida, is a muscle car fanatic to the core and coveys his performance passion through a few different Bow Tie and Blue Oval products in his garage. After completing a ground-up restoration a few years back on his ’69 SS Camaro, Jay felt the desire to build a Trans-Am-era-style Mustang. It was a concept that he and his dad had often bench raced about, and after his father’s unfortunate passing, Jay decided it was time to build the car in his memory. Not wanting to cut up or alter an original Boss car, Jay purchased a standard sports roof Meadowlark Yellow Mustang and proceeded to create his vision. Not one for chrome and polished parts, the car was built with a host of raw cast-aluminum and black-finished pieces to capture the Trans-Am performance décor of the past.
Upon purchase, the original paint on the car was in tiptop shape, so the Boss stripe kit and flat black hood accent were added. To drop the stance a touch, the front was brought down with lowered front springs and de-arched leafs in the rear, and the mild stance enhancement is capped off with COYS model 67 wheels with 18 x 8-inchers up front and 18 x 9-inchers in the rear wrapped in BF Goodrich rubber. The wheels are finished off with custom-made flat caps created from a CAD drawing and cut by one of Jay’s buddies on his hydro-jet cutter. Disc brakes handle stopping duties up front, with the factory drums pulling down the rear.
The fun meter is pegged with the power train combo that moves the vintage Blue Oval metal down the road. Between the seats sits an original top loader four-speed with a fresh clutch to ensure smooth gear changes. The original 302 small-block was removed and stuffed with fresh, mild street components for reliability and a bit more oomph to shove Jay back in the seat when the gears are pulled and the loud pedal is pounded. Before the 302 went back in the car, Jay spent countless hours de-greasing, scraping, sanding and painting the engine bay. There were a few factory annoyances Jay did not care for and chose to modify. The factory heater core firewall cover was replaced with one Jay fabbed out of aluminum. He also chose to remount the A/C compressor by fabricating a bracket that located it under the alternator and the factory A/C components were replaced with aftermarket goodies requiring custom brackets and custom A/C lines. The voltage regulator and starter solenoid were also relocated for a cleaner look, while the battery was placed in the trunk with cable running through the frame rail for a cleaner look.
Jay enjoys driving the Mustang and puts it through its paces on a regular basis, flashing back to vintage race days with every push and pull of the hammer. He is quick to point out that the car has many dead giveaways that it is not a real Boss, and he would never portray it as such. It’s just a fun driver that he built at home with his own tools and a grip of passion. Jay’s dad is undoubtedly smiling down on him and his creation, and is most surely riding shotgun every time Jay cranks the key and shoves the old top loader into gear.