Modified Mustangs & FordsFeatured Vehicles
1969 Ford Mustang - Coyote Cruiser
Tom Izzo’s ’69 Mustang Sportsroof blends vintage style and the latest 5.0 engine to create a thoroughly contemporary street machine
"The suspension change and corresponding elimination of the shock towers frees up about 10 inches at the top of the engine compartment of 1967-1970 Mustangs," says Izzo. "It's space that makes the engine swap so much easier. Besides that, if you're running a modern engine like the Coyote, you really want to experience it in a car with a more modern suspension system that's direct and responsive."
At the rear suspension, the fabricated 9-inch axle housing that was one of the car's selling points turned out to be an unexpected source of additional cost and time.
"We discovered the previous owner had welded all of the suspension brackets incorrectly, which left the rearend offset," says Izzo. "That had to be changed, of course, so we ordered a new, stock-width housing from Heidts and added a new 9-inch center section and axles from Strange."
When it came to installing the Coyote engine, the engine compartment's newfound space was a welcome enabler, but engine mounts were still required and fabricated in-house at Speed Inc. The same went for the transmission mount to install a Tremec TKO600 five-speed manual transmission. Also, the oil pan and tubular headers that were part of the crate engine package had to be tweaked, too, to fit the contours of the vintage Mustang's engine compartment and chassis. The headers proved the most difficult aspect of the swap, as a couple of the tubes had to be cut out and rerouted to clear the chassis and steering system. They flow into a scratch-built, 3-inch stainless steel exhaust system quieted somewhat by a pair of Flowmaster mufflers.
On the cooling side of things, there was plenty of room for a radiator and electric fans to fit the original location, but hoses to and from the engine had to be custom-made. A Strange small-bore, manual brake master cylinder was used as well, leaving plenty of space at the rear of the engine compartment.
And while dropping in the 412-horsepower 5.0L engine would be plenty for most people, Izzo already had a well-established proclivity for forced induction, as evidenced by his Terminator-powered Shelby clone. So, it was no surprise he couldn't leave well enough alone with the Coyote.
"Before we even sent the car out for tuning with the stock engine, our fabricator Dan Marks talked me into adding a blower to it," says Izzo. "I have always loved the instant throttle response and reliability of Roots-type superchargers, so it was a no-brainer."
Photo GalleryView Photo Gallery
With a custom induction system fabbed, of course, at the shop, Izzo bolted on a Roush R2300 intercooled supercharger system. The "2300" in the name comes from the blower's displacement. It also uses Eaton's TVS four-lobe rotors, which deliver a more efficient and broader range of power than conventional three-lobe rotors. In a nutshell, the design enables the power to build quicker at lower rpm and sustains it farther at the high end of the tach, where superchargers traditionally fall off.
Even with the Coyote engine's high 11.0:1 compression ratio and hypereutectic (cast) pistons, the blower system pushes 12 pounds of boost into it. A custom-fabricated, high-capacity heat exchanger reduces the charge air temperature by about 100 degrees F before the force-fed air enters the engine, which gives the charge a denser kick and reduces the chance for piston-killing detonation.
"The supercharger was a tremendous addition to the project and really transformed the performance and capability of the car," Izzo says. "It made 567 horsepower at the tires on a Mustang chassis dyno. That's about 680 horsepower at the flywheel. It's a helluva package."
It's a relatively unassuming package, too, at first glance. Izzo intentionally gave the car a generally stock appearance, with old-school Grabber Blue paint and oh-so-appropriate Boss 302 graphics. The Boss 429-style hoodscoop and 18-inch Magnum 500-style wheels evoke classic muscle car aesthetics, too, but with a contemporary twist. It is a similar story inside the Mustang, where the basic black cabin is trimmed as it was in 1969, but with a few subtle enhancements like a Billet Specialties steering wheel and LED-lit instruments from Auto Meter mounted in a gauge insert from Year One.