United States Air Force Lieutenant Colonel Chris Reynolds has experienced his share of high flying American muscle. Although the now retired Division Fire Chief and current Dean for Academic Outreach & Program Development at American Military University may have reached his cruising speed, don’t think for a minute he’s slowed down.
“I started in the hobby while in my twenties with old Jeeps,” says Reynolds. “A colleague had a 1965 Mustang Fastback back in the early ’80s he was selling for $1,200,” recalls Chris. “It was the most beautiful black Mustang that I had ever seen with a 289 four-speed and I really wanted that car but unfortunately, I didn’t earn enough back then as a young firefighter/paramedic to afford it.”
As you may expect, rising through the ranks would provide Lieutenant Colonel Reynolds the opportunity to eventually pilot his own share of high performance machines. “My first car was a ‘69 Camaro that was butternut yellow with a black vinyl top. It was a straight-six with a two-speed Powerglide transmission [shifted] on the column.”
From these modest beginnings Chris would enjoy a string of C1, C2 and C3 Corvettes and first-generation Camaros, but Reynolds tells us: “it isn’t so much about the ones that I once owned or built, it’s more about the one I have now.”
“This 1966 Mustang GT435 SC Fastback puts them ALL to shame,” says the Lieutenant Colonel emphatically! “You just cannot put into words the awesome raw horsepower, torque, sound, and feel this Mustang provides. I can confidently say the BEST classic car that I have owned is my 1966 Mustang Fastback – although my 1967 Camaro SS/RS isn’t happy about it!”
For Chris, his decision was clear, “The best thing about building a Pro Touring/restomod is you have the benefit of new technology, safety and reliability wrapped in a classic body. My Mustang is a ’66 from the outside, but on the inside it is 2018!”
From the car’s new 2015 Coyote engine and Tremec T-56 Magnum transmission to the Moser 9-inch with Eaton TruTrac and Wilwood brakes, this baby is all about comfort, speed, performance, and safety for this Air Force Veteran.
Opting for Heidts Pro-G IFS that was specifically designed for the Coyote transplant, Reynolds says, “it now carves the corners like a Formula 1 race car!”
Having driven the car approximately 1,200 miles (round trip) from Tampa to Biloxi for Cruising the Coast, Lieutenant Colonel Reynolds says, “The looks the car gets cruising down the interstate in 6th gear doing 80 at 2,400 rpm getting 24 miles to gallon is priceless!”
For Chris, the message is clear, “My advice is to involve your family in the hobby. Encourage youngsters to ask questions, sit in the cars and unlike most classic car owners, touch them, admire the engineering and appreciate the relative simplicity of brute horsepower through cubic inches!”
True to his word, Chris and wife Laura Lee spread their wings with the Mustang Club of Tampa, The Tampa Bay Antique Vehicle Association, and the always fun, “Old Fart Cruisers.”
Says Lieutenant Colonel Reynolds, “ Our generation is the luckiest of them all—we grew up during the heyday years of the muscle car wars. We waited with baited breath each year for the pony car shootout to see which would come out on top—the Mustang or Camaro.
“I often have people say to me ‘you’re a Ford guy’ when I drive the Mustang. I get the same comments when I drive the Camaro — ‘you’re a Chevy guy…’ I tell both groups, ‘No… I’m a Car Guy!’”
We certainly tip our wings to that.