Rob Kinnan
Brand Manager, Mustang Monthly
October 18, 2017
Photos By: Jerry Heasley

When we first walked up to Jim Weigle’s all-black 1969 Mustang SportsRoof at the Carlisle Ford Nationals in 2017, it got our attention because it was straight as an arrow and with paint as deep as the ocean. Then we looked under the hood; “Nice, four-cam Cobra motor swap and it looks factory.” As we soon found out, it was.

Say what?

Is there any better-looking car ever made than a 1969 Mustang SportsRoof with a chin spoiler? Discuss.
Notice the extended rocker panels, late-model Shelby script across the trunklid, and a myriad of other details in this photo.

That engine wasn’t even a dream in any engineers’ eyes in 1969. The deeper we looked, the more it became obvious what we were looking at. Jim very skillfully mated the 1969 body to the complete chassis and running gear of a 2014 Shelby GT500, complete with the full 2014 interior, accessories, and even fuel filler. And a few bug guts in the grille proved he drove it to Carlisle from his home in Parkersburg, West Virginia. We had to know more.

Jim describes himself as “a cranky old man” and said he’s loved cars his entire life. He has done very well in many fields of business, to the point that he has the financial means to buy any car he wants. But that’s no Jim Weigle. He has passion to build things that blow people’s minds instead of just writing a check for some fancy Eurotrash supercar. For instance, he showed us pictures of a Bugatti Veyron that a prominent auction company begged him to allow them to sell. When he revealed the secret that it was a total fake, a fiberglass body that (if memory serves us right) was on a Chevy Monte Carlo chassis but from the outside and inside looked 100 percent like a $2 million Bugatti—even the engine visible under the back window was fiberglass fakery—the auctioneer wouldn’t believe him until a thorough inspection was done. When asked why he built it, he just shrugged and said, “I don’t know, it seemed like a fun thing to do.”

The supercharged, all-aluminum, 5.8L GT500 engine is bone stock, but at 662 hp from the factory that’s just fine with Jim Weigle.

About the Mustang, Jim says, “I had a Boss 302 and got to thinkin’ that I’d like to have a 1969 Boss. So I bought a rust-free 1969 body from California and got to measuring, and thought, ‘Wait a minute, I can cut the body off of the 2014 [GT500] over there and cut the body off the 1969 so it drives like a brand-new car and looks like an older car.’”

So that’s exactly what he did. Jim did all the measuring and engineering to mate the two cars together and had a friend who was good at metalwork do the manual labor that Jim’s aged back wouldn’t allow him to do. For the base chassis, he bought a 2014 GT500 with a 5.8L engine and six-speed trans and cut the body off. That alone would make most normal people pause and rethink, but Jim isn’t what you’d call “normal” in any sense of the word, so he pushed on, cutting the body free of its floorpan on the 1969 SportsRoof he had purchased.

Jim reports that making the 2014 interior fit in the 1969 body was really not a big hassle. The most complicated part was some of the plastic trim pieces, which needed some serious reconstruction due to totally different lengths, widths, and everything else between the two generations.

Over the course of 14 months, the two were mated together Frankenstein-style but without a single stitch or scar. It wasn’t easy, but nothing radical ever is. For instance, the desire to retain the 2014 power windows and door panels meant that the outer skin of the 1969 was mated to the inner door structure of the 2014, making a door that is significantly wider and thicker than the 1969 but with all modern internals that work as Ford intended. In fact, once you look inside the car you’d never know you weren’t in a stock 2014 Mustang. The plastic interior rocker and rear panels actually took the most time and reworking to finish and maintain a factory appearance. We didn’t have a lift handy to get under the car for photos, but looking at the build photos it’s apparent that the car is as nice underneath as on top.

Study the doorjamb and you’ll get an idea of how the two generations were mated together. Yeah, we wouldn’t take on a project of this magnitude, either!
Jim had a Ford engineer tell him “no way will you ever make the cap-less fuel filler neck work in a 1969 body.” Consider this a middle finger to that engineer.
Jim used a Boss 429 hood scoop for an extra bit of badassery.
The 2014 GT500 also supplied the wheels. Some suspension trickery was required to make them fit in the wheel openings, and we can’t imagine a better-looking wheel on this car.

After our photo and video shoot with Jim and his son after the Ford Nationals, they packed up and made the four-plus hour drive back to West Virginia. At the conclusion of our shoot, however, we asked Jim what his favorite thing was about the car. He said, “There’s no one certain thing I like about it. I like horsepower and it’s got plenty of that.”

Simple answer about a car and project that was anything but simple.

If the Name Sounds Familiar

Very astute readers of Mustang Monthly and Mustang-360.com may remember the name Jim Weigle. That’s because Jim’s previous automotive adventure was a 2005 Mustang (also black) with a … wait for it … 427ci DOHC “Cammer” engine replacing the 281ci three-valve mod motor (www.mustang-360.com/featured-vehicles/m5lp-0707-2005-ford-mustang-427/). Call it a polar opposite to the 1969/2014 masterpiece shown here. Some guys, they’re just wired differently than the rest of us, and that’s a good thing.

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