Mustang muscle: Keeping a Ford in the family

By David Fleet
Brandon Twp.— A half century ago Ford Motor Company put the throttle down and took aim at the Mopar HEMI engine in NASCAR. In 1969 out of Dearborn rolled the limited production Mustang BOSS 429 V8.
About two years later one of those iconic-fastback Ford muscle cars rumbled into Brandon Township and today remains the center of three generations of racing.
Area resident Floyd Williams purchased the car in 1971 when Fred Grande, owner of a Ford dealership located in Richmond, Mich., dropped the car off for a makeover.
“Grande wanted the Mustang to be a street rod, but ended up with a whole lot more,” said Mike Williams, who received the car from his father Floyd as a gift following his graduation from Brandon High School in 1978. Floyd passed away in 2003 and the car remains in the family.
“The Mustang had about 500 miles on the odometer when dad bought it,” recalled Mike. “We made a lot of changes on 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 gear, 14-inch wide slicks and C-6 automatic replaced the stock 4-speed manual transmission. Much of the body is now fiberglass and racing seats replaced the original interior. However, the main chassis, rear quarter panels, roof, floor remain the original steel.
The Mustang stayed in storage for almost 20 years until a few years ago Mike’s son Austin, also a Brandon High School graduate, encouraged his dad to fire the “family car” up.
“It took some time to get me out there, but I’m happy to get the car back out and racing,” said Mike.
So earlier this summer the William’s family revved up the Mustang and raced at Mid Michigan Motorplex running an eighth of a mile in 6.7 seconds.
“It’s really a family affair,” said Mike. “My sister Debbie Williams, owner of Something Different here in Ortonville, along with my wonderful wife of 21 years Anne and my stepdaughters all come out racing.”

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