It seems as if it was just yesterday when we met with Shannon Guderian of Latemodel Restoration Supply at the '00 SEMA show. Shannon had a dream of building a company dedicated to restoring '79-and-newer Mustangs. Even then it was a somewhat foreign idea to the aftermarket, but we knew he was on to something, and we even wrote a little about it. During the last four years, LRS has exploded into one of the most successful Mustang aftermarket companies in some time, but the thing that has always remained is Shannon's love for these cars.
At the outset of his idea for LRS, Shannon felt a stirring in his soul that he hadn't felt since he'd been around vintage Mustangs. The simple smell of the car's interior brought back fond memories, but this time it wasn't a '60s Mustang, rather it was an aging Fox. "I started to recognize my own feelings for these cars," he says. "It reminded me of how I felt about my '65 Mustang." At that point, the idea of restoring such cars made all the sense in the world.
Many years later, Shannon has made more than cents on his idea, but he has never lost his passion for these cars or the people brought together by them. Such is the story of the '84 GT350 you see here. Shannon spotted it wasting away in a wrecking yard. It had a good front bumper cover and the original wheels, so he decided to save it from being pillaged or-worse yet-crushed. This was no run-of-the-mill four-banger- it was an anniversary car, after all.
From there, Shannon and his crew fixed up the knocking engine, performed some simple restoration, and sent the car off to Shannon's uncle Ted Vaughn for a paint job. The car came back looking great, but it was just taking up space at LRS. Shannon has several other cars-including two '79 Indy Pace cars, an '82 GT, an '86 SVO, an '00 Cobra R, an '01 Lightning, an '04 Mach 1, and a wildly modified '04 F-150-so he wasn't driving the car every day. When it came time for LRS to move to a larger stable, the car ended up sitting in Shannon's driveway.
It was there he looked at the nice paint job and thought the '84 was being squandered. Then one day Shannon was walking through the LRS warehouse.
He looked up-there on the shelf was an '03 Cobra crate engine. Think of how tempting that would be. The light went off. How about a four-eyed car with an '03 Cobra motor? Shannon thought. Twenty years later, Shannon could celebrate another anniversary with a 390hp injection in the '84 GT350. Had he kept it stock, we might have called it a GT390, but we know few '03-'04 Cobra engines remain stock.
Such is the case here, but this was not to be another dragstrip terror. Shannon loves to hit the road course, so why not turn this baby into a one-of-a-kind open-track machine? For about six months the car progressed as a fun project to keep Shannon's mind off the stresses of running a quickly expanding business. He spent his evenings stripping the interior and replacing all the old parts with fresh gear. Then he received a call about the celebrity road race at the Mustang's 40th Anniversary show in Nashville, Tennessee. Sure, he could just take the '00 R-model, but the LRS crew wanted to be represented with the Cobra-powered '84.
This launched a three-month sprint of late nights and frayed nerves, culminating in the car's debut at the Mustang's 40th Anniversary. Unfortunately, more than nerves were frayed there. On the car's maiden voyage, the front tires rubbed the neatly hidden wiring harnesses inside the fender. The LRS team didn't want to chance burning this beauty down, so it didn't race. The car did draw quite a crowd in the corral display, including us, as we took advantage of its off-track time for these photos.
So what began as saving a stray Fox from the pound turned into a learning experience for Shannon and the car. He learned some vital lessons about maintaining priorities while chasing a fantasy, and this old, four-eyed Fox learned 400-or-so new tricks.