By Amy Himic

Photos by John Martin

Ever since I was a little girl, I had this infatuation with flying. I vividly remember the day Mom took me to my first air show when I was 7 years old. The Blue Angels dominated the sky in all their speed, power and maneuvering. I was awestruck! It was at that moment when I knew what I wanted to do with my life.

Right after high school at 17, I soloed in a Cessna 152 and within three months, I was holding a private pilot’s license in my hand. I completed flight school in record time with all required certificates and ratings, and set my sights on the airlines, one in particular. After flying for several small companies, from Texas to Florida, acquiring more and more flight time and experience, I was hired with FedEx in 1996. It was the company I always envisioned myself flying for — a true dream realized.  

Fast-forward 19-plus years, and I’m soaring the skies as a captain on the MD11, flying domestic and international routes to wherever the boxes need delivering. I feel so blessed to be doing what I truly love.

But over the years, I’ve taken my passion and love for flying and channeled it into all things fast, from flying my tin horse in the sky at Mach .85, to riding my chrome pony on the ground, and my four-legged ones in the field, and now to my 600 hp ’67 Ford Mustang Fastback, with nothing slowing me down. How did the Mustang come about?

It was at a pivotal point in my life about eight years ago, I was watching the movie Gone in 60 Seconds and saw “Eleanor.” I was drooling. I remember thinking, “I want that car.” Then while fishing with my neighbor J.R., I was telling him all about this incredibly cool Mustang I have to build. He said “It’s funny, my son builds hot rods and custom-built cars. He lives a couple miles down the road. You two should meet.”

That’s when it all began. In 2008, I met Larry Burchett, owner of B Rod or Custom, and told him I wanted to be driving an Eleanor someday. He was interested in the project so the hunt began.

After some searching, Larry found a ’67 Fastback that was in really, really rough shape, but had decent bones at a good price. Once he got started, it was anything but easy. There were the usual setbacks (rust, repairs, replacements), but after ordering prefabricated parts that were such poor quality and a total waste of money, Larry was adamant and refused to put his name on an Eleanor built from any kit.

Instead, he wanted to build Bertha: Eleanor’s redhead twisted sister! She would be entirely designed and constructed with one-off parts. But I knew what that meant. Our initial budget was blown and I was about to become car poor! I’ll be honest, it became a love-hate relationship for awhile. We started and stopped, I ran out of money, we regained momentum, lost momentum, had several come-to-Jesus meetings, until finally in the last few years, the beast was unleashed.

That’s when all the magic started to happen. Larry and his team at B Rod or Custom handcrafted molds to custom-make body panels. They lengthened and widened the body, and put a “backbone” down the middle of the car. The Mustang rebirth project was growing literally and figuratively. I also told Larry to marry my passion for flying with my feisty personality, and then gave him creative freedom to design what he envisioned.  

All I can say now is “Wow!” The interior mimics that of a cockpit. It has custom gauges that look like the instrument panel from an airplane, custom seats bolster a five-point harness (which comes in handy when you’re trying to tame a 600 hp pony), and a gear shifter that is straight out of a fighter jet! The candy apple red sparkles in the sunlight, and the matte carbon rally stripes really set a contrast from the metallic flake paint to make it absolutely stunning. He certainly delivered.

Larry has done a phenomenal job. This car really reflects many aspects of my personality. It’s tough, it’s fast, it’s sexy (not sure that one applies). This masterpiece B Rod or Custom created is called “Aviatrix” (a female pilot). The team finished the car in early November and since she rolled out of his garage, she’s been getting recognition everywhere, earning a slew of awards and recognitions. What an exhilarating ride to say the least!

It really has been a whirlwind of activity since we’ve finished the car and entered the show circuit, but I have enjoyed every minute of it. I’ve met some really great people from all over, and have enjoyed the conversations and new friendships. But my favorite part is when I go to these shows and meet other ladies who are car enthusiasts and owners. I look forward to meeting other women and growing this sport. We need more estrogen behind the wheels! Ladies, don’t be afraid to get your hands dirty and run with the boys. Have a clear vision and make it happen, no matter who or what the competition may be. I think it’s safe to say that even with the setbacks, headaches and heartache, we kept true to our vision and in the end it was so worth the wait. Today, I am a proud owner of a gorgeous, badass Mustang designed by a badass builder, Larry Burchett. Now I can fly low to the ground and maybe, just maybe, someday be half as cool as my car is.

Pony Car Replacement

The Aviatrix D7

Given the age of original Mustangs from the ’60s, it’s no surprise that they’re getting harder to find and restore. To remedy that, B Rod or Custom has an all-new P7 Mustang chassis platform.

The CAD-engineered chassis platform features a full frame with the floor, firewall, inner fenders and radiator support plug all welded in. It comes standard with tubular control arms, dropped spindles, rack-and-pinion steering, and a triangulated four-bar rear end with a Currie housing and axles. 

The body is assembled using Dynacorn sheet metal parts and fixture-welded to the platform by B Rod. All parts are assembled, hinged and latched, and the body is jig-welded to the chassis platform for unitized construction.

As noted in the main feature, this package was developed while building the Aviatrix for Amy Himic, a female pilot. Her car runs a 4.6-liter Ford supercharged with a Kenne Bell blower and backed by a TREMEC six-speed. The aircraft theme carries into the gauges and a shifter from an F4 Phantom Jet Fighter. But a P7 Mustang can be built in any way a customer wishes.