What’s it like to drive a 1000HP 1968 FORD MUSTANG FASTBACK?

What’s it like to drive a 1000HP 1968 FORD MUSTANG FASTBACK?

One of the greatest things about doing these articles is experiencing parts of Malibu that I never knew existed. 

And that’s what happened when Jim Martinez reached out to me from high up in the hills of Deer Creek off of Pacific Coast Highway. 

My weekly ride was a brand-new Hyundai with 2,000 miles on it when I headed out to finally meet Jim. From the bottom of PCH, it took about 20 minutes to meet up with him in his truck — but not at his home. He was on the side of the road, waiting for me to follow him another 25 minutes up and down some of the most hair-raisng dirt roads I’ve been on. And this was a challenge for this brand new Hyundai.

A roller coaster ride later and massive sweat-beads later, we arrived at Jim’s pad to see his black beauty, the 1968 Ford Mustang Fastback GT. Being a retired heavy crane operator and equipment general foreman on the TransAlaskan Pipeline, Jim now spends his time in the hills of Malibu working on cool cars, going to car shows and developing his land with endless amazing views.

Bought in Oregon, the Stang is now his focus. A 3,400 lbs., over 1000 horsepower beast with a Bill Mitchell Aluminum Block and Heads, high-port rotated 10-degree Valves & a Vortec XSI Supercharger. It’s so raw that this monster needs a 10-point roll cage and three hands on the wheel.

“I always had Roadsters and conventional California Hot Rods,” Jim said. “Saw Bob Estes’ CanAm Racers in the mid-2000s and really loved the lines. Spent the next two years looking for one.”

The more we walked around this car, the more I was reminded of McQueen and his Bullet. But the knowledge that Jim’s car was over a grand in horsepower left me feeling like this terror could unleash at any second. “It can be terrifying…” exclaims Jim. “So you really have to be careful.”

“Wherever I go, Motorheads give me compliments and in turn, tell me about their cool cars.” And is there any other place to enjoy working and driving? “Malibu is my home,” continues Jim. “Motorcycle work. Car. Truck. The Ocean, beaches, mountains, the love of life.”

To me, life is balance. And Jim’s love of horsepower and rawness of the machine, merged with his love of beauty, simplicity and peace is what makes Malibu our jewel in the rough. I left Jim feeling as if I was given a gift to remind me that living is about remembering how to play as a child. My imagination leading to fulfillment of a dream. In other words, cause and effect in every moment. My experience in driving there, seeing his great cars including his next project (a ‘50’s Ford Pickup), watching him talk about what he loves and seeing the views for myself made for a day I’ll never forget. Especially being grateful for surviving the drive down the mountain.

Thanks Jim for taking the time to show me what you love, and I’m looking forward to the day of being terrified when the car’s done.

You can watch the episode I did with Jim here on YouTube at http://fireballtim.com/?s=jim+martinez