Buzz’s 1967 Ford Mustang Green Hornet Tribute

Many tribute cars have been made in honor of highly-prized, well-known muscle cars over the years, but Buzz Adubato decided to go a different route with his 1967 Mustang Coupe.

When a friend asked if Buzz would like to purchase a 1967 Mustang that was sitting in his garage for almost 30 years, Buzz decided to jump on the deal. Buzz decided to give a nod to a lesser-known, but quite interesting facet of Mustang history instead of restoring the car to its factory condition or upgrading it to street-terror status.

The Green Hornet is a Shelby American prototype based off of a Ford Motor Division prototype for the California Special Mustang. The car carried the EX 500 designation on its flanks, amid the Carroll Shelby-esque racing stripes.

The relationship between Ford and Shelby American was beginning to blossom in the late-’60s. Ford started to take over more of the daily operations. Naturally, they sent over one of their own, Fred Goodell, to oversee it all. Fred was the chief engineer of Ford’s International Division and moved over to Shelby as their chief engineer.

Shelby now had a close relationship with Ford, and it was easy for technology and parts to flow back and forth between the two entities. Ford had been working on prototype cars for the national California Special Mustangs and reportedly built two versions. One was a Lime-Gold hardtop featuring a deluxe interior with a 390 cubic-inch engine and C6 transmission under the hood.

Buzz’s Green Hornet may not have the super-torque-monster 428CJ, but his 289 does have A/C and power steering.

After Ford was through toying with the C/S idea, the car found its way to the Shelby American facilities for round two of its prototypical ways. The 390 was tossed, and a new 428 Cobra Jet V8 found its way under the hood. The Cobra Jet was topped with a Conelec electronic fuel-injection system. It was also equipped with a complete independent rear suspension, although still based around the Ford 9-inch rear-end. The rest of the car’s suspension was updated to Shelby specs and the car received disc brakes and 10-spoke wheels at each corner. The car was dubbed “EX 500” and “Green Hornet” by its creators. It was supposed to be scrapped like many other prototypes, but somehow, it survived this fate. It is now in the hands of car collector and auction-tycoon, Craig Jackson.

Suddenly Buzz Adubato found himself owning his very own Mustang. He instantly thought it should pay tribute to this historic chapter in the car’s history. Buzz’s Mustang doesn’t have the provenance of the original Green Hornet. It does carry the vibe of being a super-fun car to drive, though. The original Green Hornet’s deluxe interior has the fittings for air-conditioning, but the compressor and other bits likely left the chassis in the name of performance. Buzz’s car does have A/C, and even uses an upgraded, more efficient Sanden compressor. There is also power steering in Buzz’s Mustang.

The original Green Hornet featured a Conelec fuel-injection system atop the big-block. Buzz's car has Shelby logos on the valve covers and air filter with the 428 Cobra-Jet badges on each fender.

Some items didn’t make it into the tribute’s build. Among them are the 428ci engine, Buzz’s Mustang uses the original 289ci small-block instead. There was also no need for a beefy independent rear suspension or C6 transmission in Buzz’s build. For fuel, Buzz’s Green Hornet relies on a good ol’ carburetor instead of fuel-injection to get the job done. It does it quite nicely, too.

What started out as a simple coupe has been transformed. Now it wears a Shelby dress featuring front and rear bits that emulate the correct parts for a proper conversion. The sunken back grille and '65 T-bird taillights make the transformation all the more believable.

Buzz admits that he has no plans of parting ways with his tribute Mustang, but being the realist that he is, if someone wants to have it more than him, he’s open to speaking with them about it. We think it would be a great car to take to events and it IS a great way to share the history about the original Green Hornet. Which, when you think about it, is the very purpose for making a tribute!

About the author

Andy Bolig

Andy has been intrigued by mechanical things all of his life and enjoys tinkering with cars of all makes and ages. Finding value in style points, he can appreciate cars of all power and performance levels. Andy is an avid railfan and gets his “high” by flying radio-controlled model airplanes when time permits. He keeps his feet firmly grounded by working on his two street rods and his supercharged C4 Corvette. Whether planes, trains, motorcycles, or automobiles, Andy has immersed himself in a world driven by internal combustion.
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