Dale Amy
December 28, 2013
Photos By: Drew Phillips

It may seem a strange career dichotomy, but Chris Mangum is the head-honcho-in-charge of both Mangum Automotive Designs/MAD Industries—a design shop with quite a history of custom car, truck, bike, and boat builds—and DSO Eyewear, longtime West Coast purveyors of trendy, high-fashion sunglasses.

Only in the universe-unto-itself that is sunny Southern California could such an odd business juxtaposition seem even remotely plausible. Yet, both are highly successful enterprises that are together represented in this '13 Mustang that Chris and his MAD Industries crew built for last November's SEMA show in Las Vegas.

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Interestingly, Chris—a self-proclaimed, lifelong gearhead—initially got into the car building business only as a way of helping to promote his well established eyewear products. He reasoned that his sunglass customers (DSO got its start around 1993 in the action-sports sunglass niche) loved tricked-out cars, bikes, boats, or anything fast, so he decided to build a few such hot rods to park in his eyewear promotional displays in various action-sports venues. And people loved it.

Better yet, it turns out his in-house-designed-and-built vehicles were of sufficient creativity and quality to attract not only potential sunglass customers but also the attention of some major OEM auto companies, with the result that Mangum Automotive Design soon started signing contracts to build show cars for major automotive manufacturers.

That was around 1999 and, today, MAD Industries is a four-man shop kept busy building vehicles primarily for those corporate customers, as well as for occasional well-heeled individuals (think professional athletes) who can afford to have a car, truck, bike, or boat tricked out and modified to their own personal tastes. With this kind of clientele, how long can it be before we see a TV reality show centered around MAD Industries?

Anyway, despite its dual promotional role, Chris' California-cool GT—which gathered a Best of Show design award from FoMoCo at 2012's SEMA show—somehow manages to avoid wearing any corporate graphics or logos whatsoever (other than on its license plate). This was intentional on Chris's part, as the coupe was destined from the beginning to appear in Ford's own corporate display at the show, where it's more about quality presentation than shameless self-promotion.

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Having done a number of SEMA builds in the past, Chris turned to a number of trusted aftermarket partners whose hardware helped make the project what it is. One of the great things about the Coyote is that you don't need to mess much with it to end up with bountiful and fully civilized power. To achieve the coupe's 580 rwhp, all MAD Industries did was bolt on Ford Racing's 2.9-liter Whipple twin-screw, pullied for 9 psi.

If that part was simple, prepping for the planned chassis, exterior, and cabin enhancements required much disassembly of the brand-new GT. 3d Carbon supplied its front and side splitters, along with a wing and diffuser for out back. Classic Design Concepts sent out one of its new Performance Grilles, specific to the '13-'14 Mustang, and the MAD crew then floated a pony in that grille and crafted up a lower grille to match. Then CW Restoration slathered the coupe in contrasting sections of BASF tri-coat Pearl White and black, topping it with clearcoats wet-sanded to no less than 5,000 grit! A set of MHT Niche Monza A440 rims were custom finished to match and wrapped in Pirelli P-Zero Neros. And though you'd never know to look at it, the whole front end wears a clear bra of Scotchgard Paint Protection Film.

The chassis is a sporty blend of Eibach coilovers and sway bars, mixed with various Hotchkis rear suspension bits, and finished off with a full set of Brembo GT binders, all as detailed in our accompanying Tech Specs.

The interior was basically gutted and the dash, headliner, pillars, door panels and center console were re-skinned in Katskin raven suede, with white leather accents. Katskin also reupholstered the seats in a combo of Tuscany leather and perforated suede. For contrast, the instrument panel is sprayed in Pearl White. In the center stack is a Rosen Entertainment double-DIN multi-media/navigation unit with a 7-inch screen, and Rockford Fosgate hardware powers all the tunes with authority.

Looking at the overall result, it's a shame that, for the next couple years at least, this well-embellished GT will see virtually no running time as it gets trailered from show venue to show venue. After that, however, Chris may just slap on some DSO Eyewear shades and finally get his latest creation good and dirty.

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5.0 Tech Specs

Engine and Drivetrain
Block: Low-pressure cast 319 aluminum w/ pressed-in thin-wall iron liners
Crankshaft: Forged steel, fully counterweighted and induction hardened
Rods: Powered metal forged I-beam
Pistons: Hypereutectic, short-skirt, flat-top w/ four equal valve reliefs and moly friction-reducing coating
Camshafts: DOHC with Twin Independent Variable Cam Timing
Cylinder heads: Four-Valve aluminum
Intake manifold: FRPP/Whipple w/ Cobra Jet oval throttle body
Power Adder: Ford Racing/Whipple 2.9-liter twin-screw blower, 9 psi
Fuel system: Stock returnless w/ FRPP 47-lb/hr injectors
Exhaust: Stock manifolds w/ Gibson X-shaped crossover, and Gibson axle-back kit, black ceramic-coated
Transmission: Stock Select Shift six-speed automatic
Rearend: Stock w/ FRPP axle girdle and Amsoil Dominator synthetic fluids

Electronics
Engine management: Stock Copperhead w/ SCT tune
Ignition: Stock coil-on-plug
Gauges: Stock

Suspension and Chassis
Front suspension
K-member: Stock stamped steel
A-arms: Stock reverse L
Struts: Eibach Pro-R2 double-adjustable coilovers w/ remote reservoirs
Springs: Eibach Pro-R2
Brakes: 15-in Brembo GT w/ two-piece rotors and six-piston monoblock calipers
Wheels: MHT Niche Monza A440, three-piece forged, 22x9-in, custom finished
Tires: Pirelli P-Zero Nero, 265/30R-22

Rear suspension
Shocks: Eibach Pro-R2 double-adjustable coilovers w/ remote reservoirs
Springs: Eibach Pro-R2
Control Arms: Stock w/ Eibach 36mm, tubular, three-way-adjustable sway bar
Brakes: 13.6-in Brembo GT w/ two-piece rotors and four-piston monoblock calipers
Wheels: MHT Niche Monza A440, three-piece forged, 22x10.5-in, custom finished
Tires: Pirelli P-Zero Nero, 305/30R-22

Horse Sense: Chris Mangum's MAD Industries (www.mad-ind.com) in Costa Mesa, California, has done more than 40 custom car, truck, bike, and boat builds over the last 12 years.