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The Fony Pony

The Fony Pony

"The Fony Pony"
By Dave Brackett


In early 2007, I needed a new project. I had always wanted to build a funny car to drive on the street. I started to sketch one and was looking for one piece bodies. I wanted to have hydraulics tilt up the body to get in and out. I decided this was not practical for the street for safety reasons and I could not get out of the car in a garage, so I decided to build a gasser style car for the street with a funny car look. It would have a one piece tilt up front end. 
   I was at a car show with friend Al Steward and we were walking down opposite sides of a row of cars. I saw the rear of a late 60's Mustang ahead and remarked to Al. He said there was no Mustang ahead. When we got to the Mustang, I said here it is and Al said this is not a Mustang. I now had the idea for my new car. The car we were seeing was a 1976 Toyota Celica Liftback. The rear did look a lot like a Mustang, but the front did not. The Celica was a light car, with unibody, perfect for a light street car.


I found a 1976 Celica for sale, with no motor, so I bought it. I then went to a Mustang wrecking yard and bought a complete 67 Mustang front end and rear bumper. I removed everything from the Celica, cut off the front end at the firewall and pressure washed the entire body. I was ready to build a front clip. 

   I wanted a 6.71 Blown 350 Chevy for power, so I took a dummy block with heads and blower and moved it as far back as I could till the blower hit the windshield. I wanted a straight tube front axle, but with the short 100 inch wheelbase, the axle interfered with the front blower pulley. I decided to build a strut type front suspension. I purchased aftermarket front struts and proceded to build the clip and front suspension.


By now the motor was ready to go, so I had a turbo 400 automatic built with Art Carr stall converter, bolted them together and placed them in the car. The motor was well back in the cab, so I moved the firewall back to the rear of the stock dash and fabricated a new floorboard and trans tunnel. Motor mounts were next, then Pinto rack and pinion and front frame horns to support the front sheet metal and bumper. Wilwood disk brakes completed the front.

I had a 9" Ford rear end narrowed and mounted it with long ladder bars that ran to the new rear motor cross member and reused the Toyota Panhard bar, springs and shocks. Later model rear disk brakes were added. The car was now on it's own wheels. Now to address the body.

The Mustang front end was 8 inches wider than the Toyota body, so I narrowed the front end and welded fenders and hood together as a unit. I also narrowed the grill and bumper to fit the new body. I then fit the rear of the front body section to the Toyota cab. After building a mechanism to slide the body forward and tilt it up, and framed in a hole for the blower, then moved to the rear of the car.


I narrowed the Mustang bumper to fit the Toyota, having to recurve it to fit the body, removed the center part of the Toyota tail light bezel and license frame and fabricated a new rear center panel adding a Mustang gas cap. All Toyota references were removed and Mustang scripts put on the front end. I built aluminum floorboards in the rear and made a compartment to house the fuel cell and battery, accessing them through the hatch back. I built a roll cage with removable hip bars for street use, installed aftermarket racing seats, moved the stock parking brake rearward and built a console for my gages and switches, since the original dash was now covered. I then added a racing shifter for the automatic and aftermarket pedals for brakes. I built a new throttle, and made my own steering shaft setup, with removable steering wheel.


Bodywork and paint was next, then minimal interior upholstery, seat belts and I was ready for a test drive. All went well, the car handles like a sports car, because it is very light, just over 2000 pounds. It rides nice with the front struts and rear Toyota suspension. With the seats moved 14 inches back to accomodate the motor placement, access through the doors is very easy. I was concerned about visibility with the blower scoop, but the car is on such a dump, I easily look over the scoop and can see both front fenders.

The 350 Chevy motor, built by Wayne Foth, has steel crank, h-beam rods and forged pistons to handle the 6.71 Weiand blower. With Dart aluminum heads, hydraulic Comp Cam and Edelbrock Carbs, the power should exceed 550 hp. I contacted friend Darryl Bassani, who sent me materials to build custom step headers, including a pair of his super polished stainless mufflers. The mufflers go over the header collectors, not much weight here. 

   The car seems quick, I have not yet raced it, but look forward to that next year. With it's light weight and powerful motor, I geared it for 115 mph at the eight mile drags. I won the founders trophy in the first car show, and have been having a blast going to cruise nights. Because the car is a mix of so many different cars, I decided to call it the "Fony Pony". It is fun to listen to people argue about what kind of car it is. My dream of a Funny Car on the street, didn't work out, but this car still has that look. Lots of good cruising to come.

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