Jerry Heasley
February 1, 2008

Restomodders have gone all out in their efforts to engineer a 21st century ride into a classic '60s Mustang. The only place to take the opposite approach, grafting '60s styling onto a 21st century ride, is Retrobuilt, a restoration company in Ozark, Missouri. The company specializes in Mustangs, Shelbys, Mopars, and just about any high-end musclecar.

With its upcoming project, the innovative company has gone over the top. With it, there can be no sacrifice of modern-day Mustang performance, but the coveted lines of the '67-'68 fastback shine through. From the top of the doors down, this '07 Mustang GT-now officially dubbed the RSC-GT for Retrobuilt Super Car-is all sheetmetal from a '68 fastback.

"A lot of love went into this car," say Tony Beam and Clinton White, the designers on the project. Actually, artisans John Emhoff, Mike Buske, Ryan Weaver, Brett Clark, Clay Grube, and many others at Retrobuilt poured 1,200 hours of sweat into this Mustang. The design began with '68 fenders, doors, and quarters. Of course, these older body parts don't fit the S197 platform. As Tony says, the panels had to be elongated, stretched, and made taller.

Retrobuilt's goal was to incorporate the look of the past into the '07. This radical surgery had to be pulled off while "retaining all the fender mounting points, door gaps, bumper mounting points on the rear, and trunk gaps," says Tony. The custom car business has come a long way since the '50s. Tony spoke the language of a Big Three automaker when he said, "We're in the process of digitizing those panels for dyes and stampings in steel."

That's right. Retrobuilt is producing this highly modified Mustang in steel and launching its RSC-GT into production. The quarter-skins, door skins, and complete fenders will be stamped out of steel for the production car which will be built in series.

There will be some styling changes from the concept pictured here. An auto company uses focus groups to gauge interest in the new designs. These days, a company can get good, if not better, results using the Internet, which is what Retrobuilt did. "You can't make a car everybody likes-I'm getting mixed feedback on some of the Mustang forums," Tony says.

Forum discussions seem to be a grand way to gauge reaction of a new design from a large group of people. Mustang forums tend to be filled with hardcore Mustang enthusiasts as opposed to the general public. That's OK since enthusiasts appear to be this car's market, but we're guessing there are a few enthusiasts reading this magazine, so feel free to chime in.

After reading what Mustang people have to say on the Internet, Tony says the hood design is probably going to change, referring to the extremely wide and novel scoop at the leading edge of the hood. The beautiful custom hoodpins will undoubtedly remain. The rear bodywork is another area that's apt to undergo revision. "The Saleen-like bumper cover, for legal reasons, is probably going to change on the actual production car.

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"The aluminum tail panel was a big production from a machinist's standpoint. It's solid billet, designed to replicate the '67 optional deluxe ribbed tail panel." Retrobuilt also re-created the classic look of three separate taillights and rewired them to work in unison, similar to a '67 or '68 Mustang.

Likewise, the company modified the frontend with a set of '67 headlight buckets grafted together with a newly fabricated grille surround. The lower bumper cover is also a new fabrication made to give an Eleanor look. The S197 is about 8 inches longer than a '67 model, so none of Retrobuilt's newly fabricated parts will fit a stock car. The hood is another new piece. Retrobuilt used three hoods to make the prototype on this concept. It's between 6 and 7 inches longer than stock.

Obviously these guys are serious, and for fans of this old-meets-new approach, Retrobuilt has some big plans. The company is working on other variations of the theme, including convertible, Bullitt-style, Shelby-style, Mach-style, Boss-style, and even Boss '69-style versions, with the latter promising 700 hp. Whether or not these cars are your cup of tea, one thing's for sure: Retrobuilt Mustangs attract attention, and they might just set the hearts of Mustang Melvins aflutter.

Tech Specs
Engine And Drivetrain
BlockStock aluminum 4.6
Displacement281ci
Rotating AssemblyStock
CamshaftsStock
HeadsStock Three-Valve
IntakeStock
Throttle BodyStock
Fuel SystemStock
ExhaustStock
Power AdderPaxton SL H.O. supercharger
TransmissionStock five-speed w/Hurst short-throw shifter
ClutchStock
RearendStock 8.8

Electronics
Engine ManagementStock w/Paxton tune
IgnitionStock
GaugesStock

Suspension And Chassis
Front Suspension
K-memberStock
StrutsStock
SpringsSteeda
BrakesBaer Brakes w/drilled and slotted Decelarotors, repainted red
WheelsCarroll Shelby Wheels CS69 black/polished 20x9-in
TiresToyo Proxes
Rear Suspension
ShocksStock
SpringsSteeda
Control armsStock
BrakesBaer Brakes w/drilled and slotted Decelarotors, repainted red
WheelsCarroll Shelby Wheels CS69 black/polished 20x10-in
TiresToyo Proxes