1968 Mustang California Special
Tim King and TMI Automotive Products, Inc
Looks Can Be Deceiving
This 1968 Mustang not only looks cool, but it also holds a little bit of special provenance for TMI. First off, it is a California Special or GT/CS. The model had an extremely limited production run of around 4,000 examples, and was only produced by Ford for a little over five months in 1968. Secondly, the Research and Development team at TMI used it as the primary prototype for when the product line debuted.
As you can imagine, this Mustang didn’t start its life like you see it here. The ’68 was found in Northern California with some slightly deceptive pictures advertising its potential sale. Pictures that hid the bad and only showed the good. After picking up the car the restoration process stalled for a few years before getting pushed to the front burner to begin the transformation, one that took four years of hard work to finish.
One of the first things that grabs attention is the unique paint combination. This color scheme is unlike any other Mustang out on the circuit with its two-tone gloss black and matte green laid down by Johnny’s Auto Color in Riverside, CA. A few subtle changes were done to the body such as modifying the rear spoiler for a more aggressive look and adding a front spoiler. The chrome was tamed down by powdercoating the bumpers black, along with the front grille.
With the outside looking great, TMI then set to work making the car shine in other areas. A complete Global West suspension package gave the front more traction, and Mustangs Plus Grab-a-Track reverse eye leaf springs were installed in the rear. A duo of Addco sway bars were added front and rear, and tying it all together are Viking Performance shocks at all four corners.
Keeping the Mustang planted on the pavement is a set of American Racing 18x8 and 18x10 VF482 wheels wrapped with Continental Extreme Contact tires. This tire and wheel combo sits in front of a complete set of SSBC brakes at all four corners. The end result makes this Pony handle just as well as it looks.
Under the hood needed to match the rest of the car and TMI chose the ‘68 302 small block that traced its roots back to the GT40 MKII. Filling the block is a forged-steel Scat crank with a 3.40-inch stroke. An Isky roller cam was chosen along with forged connecting rods and flat-top pistons while a set of 351W cast-iron heads. Rounding out the engine is a Holley Street Dominator intake and an Edelbrock E-Street EFI topped with a K&N XStreme air filter setup to assure the engine had enough breathing room. A Pertronix ignition lights the fuel and spent gasses flow through a set of Doug Thorley headers and a complete Flowmaster exhaust.
Backing the potent 302 is a Modern Driveline five-speed that provides rows and rows of fun. A Currie nine-inch rearend with 3.73 gears finishes off the entire driveline.
They Got You Covered
Looking at the interior, you might think that TMI went to a high end custom upholstery shop, but it’s actually all products from TMI and you can order this exact interior combo directly from them. The best part is that it’s a completely bolt in! The seats are a Pro-Series Universal Sport-XR High Back set in Burgundy vinyl with black suede, white stitching and TMI's signature silver grommets running up the middle. Designed to fit right into the Mustang, they feature upgraded bolstering and recline to offer the ultimate in comfort and performance. These seats are designed by TMI and arrive 100-percent assembled right out of the box; all have to do is take them out, bolt them in, and you are done!
What’s cool about this interior is you can customize it to your liking, just like TMI did here. You can pick the colors including the stitching to make it fit your unique style. For this particular build, TMI chose a combination of Chocolate vinyl and black suede, with white stitching. The waterfall console, door panels and headliner are all available from TMI and can be ordered right off the site to transform your classic ‘Stang any way you choose!