Modified Mustangs & FordsFeatured Vehicles
1966 Ford Mustang Fastback - The Vision Thing
This Indy-powered, fantasy fastback supposes a world where a factory Ford race car from the States challenged Europe for rallying supremacy
Like the engine, there’s basically nothing production-oriented in the chassis and suspension. The front suspension is composed of Detroit Speed and Engineering’s Mustang Aluma-Frame front clip. Mounted on a lightweight aluminum cradle, it’s a coilover setup designed as a direct replacement and even includes the spindles. With up to 6 inches of suspension travel and incorporating a rack-and-pinion steering system, it radically alters the driving dynamics of any Mustang. And with the T-5R’s 300-pound engine, it contributes to an optimal weight balance that must surely give Porsche drivers fits on tracks like Laguna Seca.
The racing-inspired interior is filled with a rollbar and other competition-oriented accoutrements, which added weight. To keep the T-5R’s curb weight below the 3,000-pound threshold, Strope embarked on an ambitious weight-loss program focused on every ferrous fragment from stem to stern. He started naturally with lightweight Maier Shelby-style fiberglass reproduction parts, including the hood, front fenders, bumpers and more. To further the weight trimmings, Shelby Plexiglas rear quarter-windows and an R-model-style Plexiglas rear window were fitted, along with “shaved” hood hinges and other targeted lightening tricks.
Don’t forget: The T-5R’s engine makes comparable power to a Coyote 5.0, but with its 2,900-pound curb weight, this four-cam ’66 enjoys a nearly 800-pound advantage over a ’13 Mustang GT. That means the new Mustang requires about 8.6 horsepower to lug every pound of portly pony car down the track, while the T-5R’s power-to-weight ratio is a more enviable 6.8—an approximately 25-percent edge.
Strope is nothing if not observant and a man who sweats the details, realizing the spirit and aesthetic of the car are more important than the production date of some of the components. The front chin spoiler, for example, is a modified piece for a ’69 Mustang, while the amber rally lights hanging are from a ’70 Plymouth AAR ’Cuda and the turn signals are the side-markers from a ’68 Dodge Charger. There’s also a period-correct Talbot rearview mirror.
When it came to the wheels, a set of vintage Torq Thrusts or even classic, European “Minilite” wheels would have been too derivative for a car with a vintage Indy racing engine under the hood, so Strope had EVOD Industries produce a one-off set of four-spoke wheels that emulate the design of those used on the ’66 Lotus Ford Indy racing car. They’re stunning and truly fitting for this uniquely powered pony car. The rear rims are 12 inches wide, which necessitated carving out the rear of the inner body for mini-tubs.
There are equally impressive details inside, too, with the highlight a set of dash-mounted rally counters that tick away in glorious analog awesomeness. Tony Branda-sourced Shelby-style knobs, handles, and even an R-model radio-delete plate add to the authentic aura of the cabin, while Strope had the gauges redone by Redline Gauge Works—using Auto Meter guts—with German words because, of course, the T-5 was a German car.
Like we said, the guy is detail-oriented and we find it refreshing that while he used period components wherever possible, he wasn’t obsessed with date-coded artifacts to fulfill what is admittedly a contrived conception for the car. Right off the bat, Martini Racing didn’t sponsor its first car until 1968, so the T-5R’s supposed back story doesn’t quite fit the historical timeline anyway. And you know what? It doesn’t matter.
“This car is more about the spirit and the feel of that era than it is about historical accuracy,” says Strope. “The T-5R never existed, so taking some liberty with the timeline and the parts of the period simply helps make a more dramatic design statement.”
Absolutely. After all, Martini Racing never raced Fords, but then again, laser-equipped wristwatches and machine gun-firing Aston Martins were things of fantasy, too, from an idealized era that signaled the apogee of analog achievement.
Long live the slide rule!
Karl Williams’s 1966 Mustang Fastback “T-5R”
Ford “quad-cam” DOHC Indy racing engine, circa 1966
Aluminum cylinder block and heads
292 cubic inches (originally 255 cid)
Forged steel, 302 Windsor crankshaft (modified)
Lunati forged steel connecting rods
CP forged aluminum pistons
10.5:1 compression ratio
Aluminum cylinder heads with dual overhead camshafts mounted “upside down” for conventional exhaust outlet orientation
Custom hydraulic camshafts by Ed Pink Racing Engines
Custom electronic fuel injection by Ed Pink Racing Engines
Holley Dominator ECM
Original-type distributor modified internally to work with the Holley EFI
Horsepower: 426 at 7,000 rpm
Torque: 362 lb-ft at 5,600 rpm
C&R Racing NASCAR-type four-speed manual
QuickTime bellhousing, flywheel and clutch
C&R Racing nodular third-member
Xtrac 3.88 gears
Custom 2.5-inch stainless steel headers and exhaust by Aaron Cranford (Ace’D Fabrication)
Spin Tech mufflers
Front: Detroit Speed and Engineering Mustang Aluma-Frame cast aluminum front clip with tubular control arms, adjustable coilovers and stabilizer bar
Rear: Detroit Speed and Engineering four-link, including Panhard bar, coilover shocks, stabilizer bar and subframe connectors
Detroit Speed and Engineering rack-and-pinion
Front: Wilwood discs with 13-inch rotors and six-piston calipers
Rear: Wilwood discs with 13-inch rotors and six-piston calipers
Front: EVOD Industries custom ’66 Lotus Ford Indy-style, 17x8-inch
Rear: EVOD Industries custom ’66 Lotus Ford Indy-style, 17x12-inch
Front: Kuhmo Escta V710, P245/40R17
Rear: Kuhmo Escta V710, P295/40R17
Dashpad removed, fabricated aluminum gauge panel with custom instruments by Redline Gauge Works featuring Auto Meter movements, dashboard modified to accept Lucas switches and warning lights, Shelby R-model radio-delete plate is used to mount the rally clock and chronograph, navigator map light mounted on the A-pillar post, navigator foot support, modified Shelby R-style rollbar, period-correct Prototipo steering wheel from MOMO, custom steering column with quick-release steering wheel hub from Flaming River, Shelby Cobra-style pedal pad and throttle pedal assembly, brake proportioning valve and rear brake line lock mounted on the transmission tunnel for easy driver access, two-piece transmission cover plate
’13 Porsche Carrera White exterior color with Martini Racing stripes (painted by Mick Jenkins); Shelby-style Plexiglas rear quarter-windows and R-model rear window; rear roll pan with airflow screens for the diff cooler; Maier fiberglass hood, fenders, bumpers, lower valance, and ’69 Mustang chin spoiler; Pure Vision-modified front fascia with tucked bumper, enlarged lower valance opening, Chrysler foglights/turn signals; Talbot rearview mirror; front and rear fenders flared approximately 2 inches; Shelby-style sidescoops; European-spec taillight lenses; custom firewall pushed back 3 inches; shock towers removed; air inlets molded into the radiator core support; fabricated recess in the inner fender for the oil reservoir; fabricated mounts for the oil cooler and oil reservoir