Mustang MonthlyFeatured Vehicles
Mach 40 - 1969 Ford Mustang
Reinventing Ford’s Supercar
Imagine Ford, buoyed by the Le Mans success of the GT40 beginning in 1966, decided to take on Ferrari in the showroom in addition to the track. How would a fastback ’69 Mustang look if it morphed to the proportions of the world-beating, mid-engine GT40? Retired engineer Terry Lipscomb wanted to find out. He enlisted Mike Miernik (MiernikDesign.com) to envision how such a car might have looked. After they tried various vent, intake, and quarter-window shapes, Mike and Terry honed in on a GT40-inspired design they felt evoked the original essence of the Mach 1 Mustang. Terry then turned to Eckert’s Rod & Custom (EckertsRodandCustom.com) and Hardison Metal Shaping (HardisonMetalShaping.com) in Molalla, Oregon, to make the two-dimensional renderings into a running, driving reality over the course of three years, starting with a real '69 Mustang SportsRoof. This is how they did it.
The GT40 got its name from the FIA-mandated minimum height of 40 inches. After dropping the roof and sinking the windshield into the cowl, the Mach 40 stands at just a touch over 43 inches tall. Close enough for us. Whether it was Terry Lipscomb’s original vision, Mike Miernik’s rendering, the tremendous sheetmetal work that Colton Hardison and the crew at Eckert’s Rod & Custom put in, or a combination of all three, the lines look good from every angle. That isn’t something you can say about many cars that have been modified to this extent, especially cars from this era. The iconic design of the Mustang fastback has been so deeply ingrained in us that cutting one up to this degree should surely set off alarms when what we expect to see and what’s actually before our eyes don’t match. Despite the shorter nose and the stretched quarter-panels, the Mach 40 still looks like a Mustang from every angle. Now it’s just lower, wider, meaner, and more compelling.
Before any of you jump to conclusions about the intended purpose of this car, know that it never once saw a trailer during our visit to photograph the car for this feature. As you can see from the wet ground, shop owner Dave Eckert wasn’t afraid to drive the Mach 40 in the wet Pacific Northwest elements. In this part of the country, you either drive your car in the rain or you don’t drive it at all. Dave has built a number of cars to this high standard, and they do get driven. Don’t be surprised if you see the Mach 40 on Power Tour® this year.
Readers Rank it
Is this car firing on all eight? Here’s the score from a poll of HOT ROD readers, 1 piston is the worst score, 8 is the best.
Vote on feature cars at HOTROD.com