Muscle Mustang: Keeping a Ford in the family
By David Fleet
Brandon Twp.— Half a century ago, Ford Motor Company lowered the throttle and aimed to the Mopar HEMI engine in NASCAR. In 1969, from Dearborn, the limited production BOSS 429 V8 Mustang was released.
About two years later, one of these iconic Ford muscle cars burst into Brandon Township and remains the center of three generations of racing today.
Area resident Floyd Williams purchased the car in 1971 when Fred Grande, owner of a Ford dealership in Richmond, Michigan, dropped the car off for a makeover.
“Grande wanted the Mustang to be a street cane, but ended up with so much more,” said Mike Williams, who received the car from his father Floyd as a gift after graduating from Brandon High School in 1978. Floyd died in 2003 and the car remains in the family.
“The Mustang had about 500 miles on the odometer when Dad bought it,” Mike recalls. “We made a lot of changes to the car over the years, but we kept racing.
Over the next two decades, the Mustang was transformed into a pro-stock class vehicle. The 429 Boss engine was replaced with a 514 cubic inch Ford Cobra Jet, a Dana 60 rear axle with a 456 ratio, 14-inch-wide slicks and a C-6 automatic replaced the 4-speed manual transmission. ‘origin. Much of the bodywork is now fiberglass, and racing seats have replaced the stock interior. However, the main frame, the quarter panels, the roof, the floor remain in original steel.
The Mustang sat in storage for almost 20 years until a few years ago Mike’s son Austin, also a graduate of Brandon High School, encouraged his father to set fire to the ” family car.
“It took me a while to get into it, but I’m happy to get the car back and race,” said Mike.
So, earlier this summer, the William family revved up the Mustang and raced at the Mid Michigan Motorplex, clocking an eighth of a mile in 6.7 seconds.
“It really is a family affair,” Mike said. “My sister Debbie Williams, owner of Something Different here in Ortonville, as well as my wonderful wife of 21 years Anne and my daughters-in-law are all out racing.”