August 11, 2007

When the Mustang was introduced in 1964, the buying public fell in love with it. Innumerable performance manufacturers were born to supply the needs of buyers wanting more performance. The Mustang began the ponycar wars, even though it wasn't the first of the breed. With every new Mustang generation, except possibly the '74-'78 models, the performance market felt a boost.

You need look no further than the Fox Mustang, specifically the '87-'93 models, to see the huge jump in motorsports sales and events produced by that car. What the automotive public saw as a crude experiment, a generation hungry for a car of its own embraced. Leading up to the '05 reintroduction, the platform was aging. Mustang enthusiasts and manufacturers alike needed a boost.

The '05 Mustang rejuvenated a generation. It also restarted a ponycar war, with GM and Dodge reintroducing vehicles aimed at competing with and stealing the Mustang's thunder. One company looking to keep the Mustang in front is Ultimate AutoSports [(407) 654-4876; www.ultimateautosports.com] in Apopka, Florida.

Ultimate Autosports' Matt Tyner followed the Mustang's progression the way the rest of us did. He began with a '68 Mustang fastback and has owned just about every other Mustang model made since. Matt opened Ultimate AutoSports in February 2004 for the resale of performance vehicles, including Mustangs. He obtained an automobile dealer's license so he could buy cars at auction. Once back at Ultimate headquarters, Matt takes the cars, modifies them, and resells them.

But just buying and reselling wasn't good enough. "After the '05 Mustangs came out, our business changed drastically," Matt says. He decided to focus solely on Mustangs, specifically the '05-and-up models. Matt tested the waters in September 2005 with a current-year Mineral Gray Mustang GT. "We only did the basics-20-inch wheels, a custom hood, a rear ducktail spoiler, upper and lower sidescoops, and lowering springs. It sold quickly, and it actually shipped to the United Kingdom." Ultimate followed that success with another '05 Mustang; it was Torch Red with white stripes and Boss Motorsport wheels. "It also sold quickly," Matt says.

Before Ford introduced any Shelby-themed Mustangs, Matt took his past theme a step further by giving names to the Mustangs he resold. He calls them "editions," so we'll go with that.

The edition you see here is the U66, and its designation is U66-01 since it's the first of its kind. The U66 borrows styling cues from the '66 GT350. No word if it dynos at 306 hp as the GT350 did, but if this car doesn't scream GT350, we don't know what does. The hoodscoop, the sidescoops, the stripes, the Mahogany steering wheel, and the American Racing Equipment Torq-Thrust wheels all revert to the '60s. What else do you need? The only thing missing is a pair of Shelby cam covers, but as far as we know, no one makes those-yet (hint, hint).

Ultimate AutoSports has six editions available. Along with the U66, there's a U67, a U68, a UPT, an ES1, and an ES2. The U67 and U68 editions feature '67 and '68 Shelby styling cues, respectively. The UPT is a Pro-Touring-style, while the ES1 and ES2 carry Eleanor-style exterior upgrades.

With each edition, Matt hopes to carve a niche for Ultimate Autosports-built Mustangs. Furthermore, every car will provide the new owner the excitement a Mustang should provide-and then some.

5.0 Tech SpecsEngine And DrivetrainBlockStockDisplacement 281ciRotating AssemblyStockCylinder Heads Stock Three-ValveCamsStockIntake Manifold Stock, Midwest Auto Gear plenum coverThrottle Body StockMass Air C&L PerformanceFuel System StockExhaust Stock with Pypes Performance Exhaust Violator axle-back systemTransmission StockRearend Stock 8.8

ElectronicsEngine Management Stock computer, DiabloSport Predator tuneIgnition Stock Gauges Optional MyColor treatment

Suspension And ChassisFront SuspensionK-member StockControl ArmsStockStrutsStockSprings H&R Super SportBrakes Stock, drilled and slotted rotorsWheelsAmerican Racing Equipment Torq-Thrust 20x9-inTires Toyo Proxes 245/35Rear SuspensionShocksStockSprings H&R Super SportControl Arms StockBrakes Stock, drilled and slotted rotorsWheels American Racing Equipment Torq-Thrust 20x10-inTires Toyo Proxes 295/30Chassis StiffeningBolt-in single-hoop rollbar