Paxton-blown Windsor-powered ’68 Mustang fastback

Kyllie Garrett’s 560hp Mustang fastback melds Shelby heritage with tough modern styling

Photographers: Ellen Dewar

The Elite Hall at Summernats has been so well-stocked over the past couple of years that we’re still playing catch-up on all the new rides, and Kyllie Garrett’s ’68 Mustang is a fitting example. Unveiled at the ’Nats back in 2022, it’s a gorgeous showcase of current-day styling and functionality, without sacrificing an ounce of what’s made the first-gen fastback so damn cool for almost 60 years.

First published in the October 2023 issue of Street Machine

Windows: “The one-piece window kit eliminates the quarter-windows, but only one place makes it,” Kyllie says. “I’ve spent 300-plus hours on both doors trying to get it functioning right with no luck, so it’s rocking the window delete at this stage”

The Ballarat mum’s hometown may host plenty of streeters, but this one was rescued from interstate. Kyllie bought the car sight-unseen in 2015, having put up a wanted ad on Gumtree. “I had a guy from Port Pirie in SA call me and tell me about this Mustang he’d had in his shed since the late 80s,” Kyllie says. “I was hesitant about the state of it, but I jumped in the car the next day and made the 1200km round trip. It was a complete J-code Deluxe fastback.”

Kyllie pieced together as much as she could locally from businesses like Ballarat’s Griffs American Auto Parts & Restorations. Some key bits, like the front suspension and one-piece door glass, couldn’t be found in Australia, so she honoured the tradition of flying to Seppoland, buying as much stuff as possible, and dragging it halfway across the world. “I remember coming back through customs with many kilos of luggage and declaring what I spent, only to be waved right through the gates,” Kyllie laughs. “Straight home I went!”

Wilwood brakes sit behind the anodised big-and-little Enemies Racing wheels, and the ’Stang sits on TCP coil-over shocks front and rear, with a McDonald Brothers four-link in the back

The Mustang’s previous owner had started a right-hand-drive conversion, which Kyllie stuck with, but just about everything else has been replaced or heavily modified. The smoothed exterior features deleted drip rails and outer door handles, while the typical ’68 Mustang rear indicator lenses were ditched and the bumpers tucked. The standard quarter vents were replaced with a minimalist cut-out design, while steel extensions kick the rear end up to match the fibreglass bootlid and spoiler. The whole lot wears paint laid on by Bayden Roberts.

Kyllie chose a no-fuss option to live under the fibreglass Shelby bonnet, grabbing a pre-built 347 Windsor from Ford Performance, and she hasn’t worried about cracking open the stout little crate motor. She instead bolted up a side-mount Paxton blower, as was optional on ’66-’67 Shelby GT350s. Back then, the force-fed 289 combo was good for a claimed 390hp, but with more cubes, a 750 Demon blow-through carb and Edelbrock manifold, Kyllie’s modern version makes a solid 560hp at the crank. Behind the mill is a 3000rpm converter and manualised C4 built by Ballarat’s MDT Race Engines & Autos, followed by a fabbed nine-inch rear.

The side-mount Paxton blower pays homage to the original ’66-’67 Shelby GT350s. Fewer than 50 cars were factory-fitted with the optional extra, and they’re a holy-grail piece for Shelby Mustang collectors today. They work all right too, with 560hp from Kyllie’s example!

Disappointingly, Kyllie says she was initially ripped off by some dodgy operators during the build process. “I was taken for a ride and learned my lesson fast,” she says. “It made the build tedious, and I was ready to close the shed for good and let someone else find it in 20 years, covered in dust. But I persisted, trusted my gut and got it finished – now I have a shortlist of professionals I trust for advice.”

High on that list is Andrew Hodges from Hodgey’s Hot Rodz & Customz, who entered the picture after everything had been dummy-fitted and painted. “I had an unlucky turn and needed some help,” Kyllie explains. “I made a few calls and Hodgey turned up at my place one day. He basically took on IKEA’s version of a Mustang and put it all back together for me. He was amazing in his team’s ability to manage and find fixes for problems before I even knew they were a problem!”

Trim from Mustangs To Fear was modified and installed by Griffs Trim Shop in Ballarat, with Mercedes-sourced carpet to match. The gauges are all from Dakota Digital, sitting behind a wheel from Billet Specialties. Like most of the blacked-out parts, it was anodised by TP Performance Coatings. The headlights, demister and thermo fans are managed by the billet buttons in the dash

In between running her popular Kombi for a Cause coffee business, Kyllie found time to hit Canberra for the Meguiar’s Great Uncover at Street Machine Summernats 34. “For a female, that’s an amazing honour, and I’m not employed in the motor vehicle industry – it’s a hobby and a passion!” she says. “Even now, I’m still ironing out the kinks. I drove it this year to the Queenscliff Rod Run, which was lots of fun, and I’ve spent time in the shed sorting out a few issues since.”

Not coming from a professional automotive background means Kyllie’s been teaching herself as she goes, which she reckons is all part of the fun. “I now know how to pull off and pull apart the supercharger and the oil lines, and I can usually troubleshoot most things with good music, a warm heater and possibly a few brews,” she laughs. “I have a few things going on in the shed – the next will be a ’32 mini-rod for the kids. I’m hoping to finish that by Christmas.”


Kyllie enjoys the lifestyle of the car scene, especially as her two kids, Kleo and Nixon, like to take part as well. “They’re always with me and enjoy the atmosphere too,” she says. “Nixon is often in the shed with me learning and watching – I had to teach him his numbers earlier than expected so that he could pass me the right spanners!

“I’m able to show them they’re capable of anything if they just have a go. It definitely gives them a little street cred on a Friday when I pick them up from school [in the Mustang] and go for ice cream.”


Paint:Super Deep Black
Type:Ford Performance 347ci Windsor
Induction:Demon 750 carb, Edelbrock manifold
Supercharger:Paxton side-mount
Fuel system:Holley
Cooling:Custom Aussie Desert Cooler, twin thermo fans
Exhaust:CAE extractors, custom twin pipes
Gearbox: C4
Converter:TCE 3000rpm
Diff:9in, Truetrac centre, 3.11:1 gears
Front:TCP coil-overs, RRS steering rack
Rear:TCP coil-overs, McDonald Brothers four-link
Brakes:Wilwood discs (f & r)
Master cylinder:Wilwood
Rims:Enemies Racing; 17×4.5 (f), 15×10 (r)
Rubber:Mickey Thompson 26×6.00R17 (f), BF Goodrich 275/60R15 (r)

Lee’s Auto Detailing; Matt DeSpirt at MDT; Neil at Romsey Auto Electrical; Hodgey’s Hot Rodz & Customz; Griffs American Auto Parts & Restorations; Mustangs to Fear; Bayden Roberts; the members of the Ballarat Road Rodders, who are a great family-oriented club and assisted me with the final stages of the build.