Ro McGonegal
May 22, 2017
Photos By: Peter Linney

Ask most any old car hand what the best qualities are for this car-building madness and he will likely not say a word for a while . . . then bleat, “Experience.” That is, the ability to size up a job and its potential pitfalls without making a note or without tracing a single line (although gibberish and wavy lines on crumpled cocktail napkins are admissible). This seasoning happens incrementally and takes years to form. The best way to maintain that logic is by keeping your hands in the water.

Robbie Bryant out of Fort Smith, Arkansas, is one of those people. For the last 15 years he has run KEG Media and by default is an automotive designer. He specializes in lifted trucks, and he unabashedly asserts that KEG (Kustom Edge Graphics) has been the leader in custom design for the past seven years (22 magazine covers; featured on Velocity Channel’s The Lifted Life.) So what is Bryant doing with a vehicle that is as far from a truck as daylight is to darkness? In fact, somebody put a word in his ear. He was motivated by friends at SCT Performance to build an S550 Mustang as a conversation piece for SCT’s 2016 SEMA corral.

Bryant got out his clutch of rumpled cocktail napkins and scribbled a concept that very soon became a design. In May 2016, he bought a new S550. In the aftermath he thanked business partner Tim Dunaway “for his support and input the whole way through. Together, we accomplished the goal we set, a one-of-a-kind Mustang with enough power to go with the looks.”

A lot of what transpires during a project build often comes into shape first on whatever slips of paper are at hand. Robbie Bryant sussed out the major factions of his 2016 widebody on ubiquitous, oft-used cocktail napkins.

As is the norm with current late-model builds, body, suspension, and a power adder get most of the attention and the enhancement. Let’s look at the underlayment: We want something as eye-attracting as it is functional. The trend is to lay ’em down flat when they aren’t running, but when they are up and making noise you want that system to deliver a fluid ride right along with a load of handling response. At this point, Bryant sought Antidote Motorsports in Santa Ana, California, to handle the engine modifications, bodywork, interior changes, and body wrap application.

To set up that Mustang chassis, Bryant brought to bear the entire Air Lift Performance suspension because it features dozens of levels of damping firmness, 128mm struts, two Viair Black Stealth compressors, and an aluminum air reservoir, all of it united with stainless steel lines.

A critical part of this pastiche is the fender/wheel/tire “adjustment.” Since the stock sheetmetal just isn’t wide enough to accept killer-wide rims and tires, whole industries have sprung up to accommodate that system with fiberglass, carbon fiber, or steel renditions. The widebody ones on Bryant’s car are larger than any we have seen yet, more like fender skirts than flared wheel arches. They come from Alpha Male Performance, straight out of oil-dripping Dubai.

Sometimes you find the coolest things in unexpected places. Bryant looked to Alpha Male Performance in Dubai for the monster wheel arches, and tried to fill them with Toyo Proxes friction on 10.5- and 12-inch-wide American Force Muscle wheel Legend hoops.

Although the 20-inch rolling stock is mammoth (275/30, 345/25 Toyo Proxes T1R) and set with modular American Force Muscle Wheel Legend rims (10.5-, 13.0-inch), it appears on the verge of being swallowed by the bulbous cladding. To integrate the rims with the body color, Robbie had them powdercoated with Prismatic Powders Illusion Dorado. Way beneath the cladding we find Wilwood 15-inch rotors hosting six-piston calipers and 14-inch Wilwood plates coerced by four-piston calipers. To keep a lid on it all, the Anderson Composites fiber hood adds a kinky wrinkle to the whole.

We got whoop-ass? The motor chugged a couple of gallons of it. The familiar power-adding prescription begins with a Roval billet 132mm throttle-body, 72-lb/hr fuel injectors, and a supercharger with a high-flow air-to-water intercooler. JBS ceramic-coated headers dump black air into high-flow cats and X-pipe before it passes within a 3-inch MagnaFlow system. After SCT tuned the package it produced 825 hp and 640 lb-ft of torque with a scant 12 psi positive manifold pressure operating on 93-octane fuel. In the meantime the stock six-speed automatic will be dealing with it.

Whoop-ass? It’s in there! The Coyote powerplant churns out 825 hp to the rear wheels on 93-octane.

When Bryant bought this Mustang it was black. A curious mix of vinyl has turned it many shades away from that now. He ordered KPMF Black that was laminated with Matte Starlight Gold. Antidote did the wrap job.

So he could see better in the dark, Bryant opted for Bullseye Retro headlamps featuring Diode Dynamics LED boards. To retain the continuity of the Mustang’s dark “face,” he plugged in a matte black Racemesh grille and a companion section below the bumper. Antidote finished off the field with an Alpha Male ground effects lip.

On the inside, the place is strictly original equipment manufacturer except for the wiggy, bazaar pattern in the etched in the seat bottoms. On the factory buckets, Antidote used some very black Alea Leather Napa Grain leather incorporating the custom stitched pattern and grommets on the outer edges.

And that’s how you build a California Mustang from Fort Smith, Arkansas! Bryant reports: “Cornering is superb and it has plenty of power.” Yeah, take a little snarf of that cyanide pie.

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