As proprietors of the Stay Tuned and Vice Grip Garage channels respectively, Tony Agnelo and Derek Bieri are dedicated to the proposition that it doesn’t take cubic money to go fast and have fun with cars. They’re also big proponents of not taking much of anything—including themselves—seriously. With about a zillion subscribers between them, lots of gearheads agree.

It was just a matter of time before Tony and Derek got together on a project—and this 1967 Ford Fairlane played matchmaker.

Tony found the car on his local Facebook Marketplace and thought it would be a great project for Vice Grip Garage. He convinced Derek to buy the Fairlane sight-unseen with the promise that the Stay Tuned team would throw together a small block for it. Tony even talked Derek into coming up to Pennsylvania to help put the car together and flog it at Maple Grove Raceway before driving it 900 miles to Vice Grip Garage headquarters in Tennessee.

Turns out the Fairlane was a local legend of sorts in Tony’s corner of Pennsylvania. A guy named Ted Carl built it in the late 1960s and cleaned up at Maple Grove and other local drag strips through the early 1970s. The car had been stored for almost 40 years when Derek bought it. The 427 ‘medium riser’ big block Ford and four-speed were long gone, but the homemade ladder bars, a driver’s seat out of some sort of bus, a sketchy roll bar, and questionable suspension modifications were all present and accounted for. Even the ancient rear air shocks were in working condition.

Tony out and out lied to Derek about the engine. Instead of a mildly warmed-over 302, the Stay Tuned team built a potent street motor out of a 5.0L from a 1987 Mustang. The short block was deemed acceptable, but most everything else went in the scrap pile. After a call to Summit Racing the new parts came rolling in. The camshaft was pitched for a Summit Racing™ ‘F303’ hydraulic roller camshaft rated at .550/.540 inch lift. The factory iron heads were replaced with Summit Racing™ Precision Cast aluminum heads fitted with 1.6 ratio Summit Racing aluminum rocker arms. The EFI system was tossed for a Summit Racing™ Stage 2 intake manifold topped with a 750 CFM Holley 4150 Street HP carburetor. Check out the parts list below to see what else Stay Tuned bolted on the little 5.0L.

As for the drivetrain, Tony and Derek threw in a T-5 five-speed transmission of questionable condition and a new Hays Hot Street clutch kit. The Fairlane already had a 9-inch rear axle, It got a new third member with 4.11 gears and a Detroit Truetrac differential.

In keeping with the cheap is neat theme, the manual steering and four-wheel manual drum brakes were retained. Being cheap doesn’t mean being unsafe, so the brakes were completely gone through. As Derek said, they were just fine.

So, was the Stay Tuned/Vice Grip Garage Fairlane a match made in YouTube Heaven? Did it make it down the track and get Derek back to Tennessee in one piece without serious mayhem? Spoiler alert: kind of.

But don’t take out word for it. Grab a beverage and some snacks, then settle down to watch these videos to see exactly how everything came (barely) together.

Stay Tuned

Vice Grip Garage

1967 Ford Fairlane Project Parts List

Long Block

Intake & Ignition     

Exhaust System

Engine Accessories


Wheels & Tires


Derk Bieri and Tony Angelo with 1967 Ford Fairlane
Is this a match made in YouTube heaven or what? Derek Bieri of Vice Grip Garage and Tony Angelo from Stay Tuned were brought together by a 1967 Ford Fairlane project. The goal? Swap in a small block and a T-5 five-speed, get the car running, then take it to Maple Grove Raceway and flog it on the track before Derek drove the car 900 miles back to Vice Grip Garage Central in Tennessee. No nitrous oxide or turbos were harmed (let alone used) during the build. The same cannot be said for the pizza. (Image/Stay Tuned)
Tony Angelo and Derek Bieri Installing Ford 5.0L in 1967 Ford Fairlane
The joys of having an overhead crane. The engine is a 5.0L out of a 1987 Mustang. Derek just wanted a warmed-over junkyard motor. What he got was a fairly stout engine upgraded with a Summit Racing hydraulic roller camshaft, Summit Racing aluminum heads, a 750 CFM Holley carburetor on a Summit Racing aluminum intake, and some other performance bits. Tony did try to disguise the 5.0L as a cheapie build, but Derek saw right through that. (Image/Stay Tuned)
Exhaust System on Stay Tuned-Vice Grip Garage Ford Fairlane
The exhaust system features a pair of Summit Racing™ long-tube headers with 1 5/8-inch primaries and a metallic-ceramic coating. They’re bolted to a Pypes three-inch X-pipe fitted with a pair of Summit Racing™ straight-through mufflers with turndown tips. (Image/Stay Tuned)
Derek Bieri Painting Ladder Bars on Stay Tuned-Vice Grip Garage Ford Fairlane
Derek was so tickled with the Fairlane’s homemade ladder bars he gave them a shot of Chevy orange paint to make them stand out. The bars are welded solid to the axle tubes, which we imagine made for a comfy ride. It’s kind of hard to see, but the leaf springs were moved inboard by the original owner to make room for slicks. (Image/Stay Tuned)
Stay Tuned-Vic Grip Garage Ford Fairlane at Maple Grove Raceway
The Fairlane at Maple Grove Raceway, ready to make some passes. For a race car that was built in a guy’s garage almost 60 years ago, it’s in pretty nice shape with just a few hints of rust. The tires are Mickey Thompson Sportsman STs (275/60R-15 rear, 215/70R-15 front) on some chrome rims. On the track, the Fairlane ran—well, you’ll have to watch the video to find out. (Image/Stay Tuned)
Derek Bieri Driving Stay Tuned-Vice Grip Garage Ford Fairlane
Not to give away the ending, but here’s a taste of the weather on Derek’s trip home in a car with no wipers, no heat, headlights hot-wired to the battery, and a hole in the floor that let the water in. Just another Vice Grip Garage road trip. (Image/Vice Grip Garage)
Author: Alan Rebescher

Editor, author, PR man—Alan Rebescher has done it all in a 25 year career in the high performance industry. He has written and photographed many feature stories and tech articles for Summit Racing and various magazines including Hot Rod, Car Craft, and Popular Hot Rodding, and edited Summit Racing’s Street & Strip magazine in the 1990s. His garage is currently occupied by a a 1996 Mustang GT ragtop.