There’s a certain level of satisfaction that comes from building a racecar from start to finish while doing most of the work yourself. Being able to take a car from a vision in your head to making passes in that car is what drives racers to create some amazing rides. Tony Malone did just that, as he took a 1968 Mustang that was on its way to the shredder and built a killer nine-second car in his own garage.
Malone has been tinkering with cars his entire life and relishes in the culture that surrounds them.
“I love cars because no matter what you have, someone will enjoy what you have done to the car. I have been into cars since I was a kid. You know the old saying, ‘it all started with a 99-cent Hot Wheel’…well, that’s totally me. I started out as a kid building and modifying models and radio-control cars, and then I graduated to full-size cars,” Malone explains.
Malone’s 1968 Mustang named “Bad Bad Leroy Brown” wasn’t his first choice — he was looking for a first-generation Cougar, but couldn’t find one that fit the bill for what he wanted. When he picked up the Mustang it was in less than ideal shape, but that was okay because he wanted a project car. “I built this car from the ground-up in a home garage. Basically, I did everything myself with the exception of the paint, body work, and transmission,” Malone says.
What makes Leroy Brown so bad? Well, for starters there’s a 545 cubic inch big-block Ford powerplant under the hood that generates some serious grunt. Malone assembled the engine himself using a Lunati rotating assembly, Trick Flow 325 power port CNC heads, and a Lunati solid roller cam. Behind the big Ford motor is a Mr. Wendell’s Motorsports Top Sportsman Powerglide and a BTE 5500 stall converter. For electronics, Malone uses an ARC switch panel, K&R delay box, MSD Digital 7 programmable ignition and all Auto Meter gauges.
This was truly a project that Malone wanted to do as much as he could in his own home shop. He did all of the custom tin work by hand for the interior himself. Additionally, he narrowed the 9-inch rearend, filling it with some 4.30 gears.
The Mustang has been put on a diet to help it perform better at the track. Malone added a fiberglass front end, hood, doors, trunk, and bumpers. All of the paint and body work was done by Sniders Paint and Body for Malone.
With all the parts in place, the Mustang has run a best elapsed time on motor of 9.15 at 145 mph, with a 1.29 60-foot time. Malone plans to put some serious miles in this season traveling to Texas, Oklahoma, and Arkansas running the Mustang in heads-up index classes, bracket events, and some grudge races.
Malone’s Mustang is a testament to the dedication it takes to move a project from a pile of parts to a fully-functioning racecar. His Mustang lives up to its name with a killer stance he created, and backs up the look with the big-block Ford power under the hood.