Frank Adubato was looking for a new challenge and a friend had an old Mustang that had been sitting idle for decades. Four years later, the resident of Ocean County, NJ, now enjoys driving a stunning tribute to the 1968 Shelby Green Hornet.
A team of four found the needed parts and did the mechanical, body work, painting and other customizing and restoration in Toms River. Much of the car is orig- inal or rebuilt, while other parts are new and/or modified. The cost was north of $100,000, according to Adubato.
“It is a pleasure to drive,” says Adubato, a resident of the Jersey Shore town of Mantoloking. “Everyone who sees it gives the high-five and wants to hear all about it. Every detail is exact.”
To view a video of Adubato’s tribute car, go to: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=0lFGst9o4Ho
When the project started in 2014, the end result was not part of the plan. “I was looking for a new project and a friend had a 1967 Mustang coupe, which I bought from him,” Adubato explains. “It was sitting in his shop for about 30 years, and he felt it would be a good project for me. Part of the way through the restoration, I learned about the Green Hornet and decided to do the Mustang the same as it.
“We started with a ’67 Mustang and made it into a ’68 to facilitate making the Green Hornet. However we kept the original engine, trans and rear.”
Jerry Lupo oversaw the project. Jim Girtian did the mechanical work, Bill George did the body work and George Thormann did the painting.
“Locating some of these parts was a great challenge, such as finding an original Shelby steering wheel,” says Lupo. “Another item which was difficult to find was an original set of 1968 Shelby bucket seats, as they were different from the 1967 model. After almost two months of searching, I found them in Minnesota.”
The Shelby Green Hornet was not the first restoration project for Adubato, who is known to family and friends as “Buzz.”
“I started many years ago when I restored my mother-in-law’s 1962 Cadillac Coupe de Ville, which she bought new,” Adubato says. “A year or two later I did a 1964 Cadillac convertible. I also have restored a 1983 BMW 633 CSI, which I bought new. That car is my daily driver, and I still have the two Cadillacs.”
Don’t be surprised to see Adubato tooling around the Garden State in his 1968 Shelby Green Hornet tribute car – it is on the road, with historic license plates issued by New Jersey.
NOTE: Frank Adubato is available for interviews, by request. ADDITIONAL PHOTOS: Available by request.