Mustang MonthlyFeatured Vehicles
Classic Recreations 1966 Shelby GT350
Jason Engel, owner of Classic Recreations, brought one of his company's latest projects to Southern California for a tour on some of our winding canyon roads. We took the opportunity to poke around the Shelby-inspired fastback and learn more about Classic Recreations operation.
As Jason explained, "We have a niche business. Unlike a restoration shop, these cars are brand new, and I have cars ready." Well, they're not entirely new, but they are taken completely down to their shells and rebuilt with new components. "These are original Ford stampings, there's a history with the cars."
The constant demand for early Mustangs means that they can focus on just one type of car and have a sort of assembly line of their own, with specialized fixtures and jigs to build the car up from the subframe. Classic Recreations' facility encompasses 41,000 square feet, maintains 16 employees, and has the ability to finish about three cars per month, with each build taking four months. To make sure they have a stock of original Ford sheetmetal to build from, cars are purchased from all over the country and they typically have a couple dozen in stock, about a year's supply. As the cars move through the build process they're shuttled between different buildings that specialize in metal fabrication, bodywork and fitment, paint, and final assembly.
The example here is a 1966 GT350 recreation, with a bit of modern touch to the outside, with fender flares and a more aggressive fascia. There's also a new hood and taillight bezels along with shaved drip rails to set this Classic Recreations build apart. The new pocker panels include side exit exhaust and, like the fender flares, are made from vacuum-formed fiberglass to reduce weight by eliminating unnecessary resin.
It's not just the bodywork that's been modernized, under the skin is a much improved performance platform. The rear suspension uses Detroit Speed's Quadra-Link and Panhard bar to locate a Strange 9-inch rear axle. Up front, Detroit Speed's Aluma-Frame was chosen. It is a cast aluminum cradle that bolts into the Mustang subframe and uses Detroit Speed's forged spindles, tubular control arms, and rack and pinion steering with JRi coilovers. The result is a thoroughly updated suspension with six inches of travel and a much improved camber curve for the road course. Jason emphasized, "That car is ready to go to the track!"
Powering the lightweight pony is a 500hp 5.0L Coyote V8 topped by a Ford intake manifold normally found on the 5.2L Voodoo V8. The Aluma-Frame's mounts helped facilitate squeezing the wide mill into the confines of the early Mustang engine bay, as did relocating the alternator. The Coyote breathes through stainless headers that lead to Magnaflow exhaust and on to the aforementioned side exits in the rockers.
We likely all know the frustration of a project build that's been stalled or delayed. The turn-key solution that Classic Recreations has developed still allows for customization for those seeking a fully-build, fully-functional classic, while seriously streamlining the process by getting a head start on the foundation. That model, and the perennial draw that is the first-generation Mustang, should keep Classic Recreations churning out pony cars for a while.