The Ford Mustang is considered one of the most popular and iconic vehicles the world has ever seen, and aside from setting sales records and earning millions of fans over its 50-plus year history, it has rich motorsport heritage as well. No doubt, everyone is familiar with Carroll Shelby’s road racing exploits during the ’60s, but at the same time the Mustang was also out proving itself on the drag strip.
Which brings me to a lovely machine that I spotted at the most recent California Hot Rod Reunion at Famoso…
It’s a ’66 Mustang A/FX car built as a tribute to the machine that Southern Californian racer Les Ritchey campaigned in the mid ’60s.
Les lost his life in a racing accident at Fontana in 1966, and this build pays homage to the man and everything that he contributed to the world of factory experimental drag racing during his time.
And while the car certainly carries the look of a vintage race car with its old school mags and gold flake lettering, the wheelie bars and parachute system hint at the modern safety improvements. Check out the width of those Goodyear slicks in the rear too.
Under the hood sits one the most legendary motors Ford has ever produced – the 427 SOHC ‘Cammer’, complete with Hilborn injection and all of the speed parts that made these motors such monsters.
While this a fresh build that wasn’t on the track at the 2015 CHRR, it should make the perfect addition to the existing group of West Coast A/FX racers that can be found at drag events in California.
Whether it’s a road racer or a quarter-mile machine, there’s really nothing better than 1960s-era race cars. This beautiful Mustang is just one more example of that, and a fitting tribute to a racer who was taken away too soon.