Chick Key
July 1, 2008

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It's the quiet ones you have to worry about. You think they're at their desks looking at spreadsheets and being good pencil pushers, then you find out they've really been planning total domination.

In the case of mild-mannered Dale Irwin of Van Buren, Indiana, his plot centered on a certain '65 Mustang fastback and building it into an after-dark street predator. As it turns out, Dale has a talent not only as a desk jockey, but also as an automotive engineer. The real story of his car isn't the long list of trick parts installed on it, but what he did with those parts to set this car off from the rest of the street-machine genre.

Dale began with the look he wanted-a clean exterior highlighted by a set of Maier Racing fender flares to allow big patches of vulcanized Goodyear Eagle F1 rubber to reside inside. From there, he went where most car builds should, chassis and handling. Dale cabbaged on to an independent rear suspension system from the venerable '00 Cobra R racing program, complete with 3.55 Gerodisc posi and 31-spline axles. Up front, a complete Chris Alston coilover tubular front suspension and Stainless Steel Brakes' Force 10 disc conversion were chosen to handle the soon-to-be-added horsepower. That's about as far as the build got before Dale's inner engineer took over.

He started with a DVS Restorations IRS installation kit and heavily modified both the kit and the car to accept the massive 17x11-inch Vintage Wheel Works Vintage 45 rims. With some help from the machining experts at Jennerjahn Machine, he reengineered the mounting and even removed the spring perch from the lower control arms for a much smoother install.

About this time, Dale found a deal on an '03 Mustang GT 4.6 2V engine and 4R70W with less than 10 miles on them. Mounting the wide motor in the '65 chassis meant his TCP goodies wouldn't fit in the front as planned, so he began reengineering the front suspension and moved it out to allow for the wider motor to sit down in the engine bay of the '65. This required Dale to design his own shock towers and weld them in place. At the same time, he custom engineered his own power rack-and-pinion system that not only worked with his original spindles, but also allowed for a better turning radius. Careful engineering allowed Dale to improve the car's roll center and all but eliminate bumpsteer.

Boost Is Good
With the 4.6 engine in place, Dale got to work getting it ready to provide horsepower to the big rear tires. First, an Eaton M90 supercharger was installed on the less-than-10-mile motor. Then there was a trip to Danville, Illinois, to see Brad Edington with Total Performance for an ACCEL Gen 7 computer, dual Walbro electric fuel pumps, a set of 42-lb/hr injectors, and Aeromotive fuel rails. The exhaust is handled by a set of Ford Racing Performance Parts shorty headers, Flowmaster mufflers, and a custom 21/2-inch aluminized exhaust system exiting the original GT trumpet holes.

A Baumann Engineering electronic transmission controller was employed to provide computer shifting duties. The '65's chassis allowed Dale a little engineering convenience as well. He built some custom cages for the torque box area that not only strengthen the chassis, but also hold a pair of Derale coolers with electric fans-one for the transmission and one for the intercooler. McCoarts' Auto in {{{Somerset}}}, Indiana, custom plumbed the late-model hydroboost system and brakes. Dale custom engineered the three-point chassis brace to fit the new go-fast goodies residing underhood.

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Interior appointments weren't spared the engineering bug, either. The trap door was customized with a running-horse emblem by utilizing water-jet-cutting technology. The TMI seats were custom embroidered with the running horses as well, and three-point seatbelts keep everyone in place during launches. A JME gauge cluster full of Auto Meter gauges keep an eye on the drivetrain, and a Flaming River tilt column with Grant steering wheel complement the left-side seat. Dale then got in touch with his inner nerd and installed a Sirius satellite radio system and a 110-volt power inverter to run his laptop for tuning the engine computer.

With all of the engineering work done, Dale called on Ross Fones to lay down the '06 Mazda Dark Steel Gray paint job to highlight the smooth lines of the fastback and give it the right night-stalker look. Billet wheel centers and gas caps complement the clean lines of the fastback. The car was finished just in time for the '07 World Ford Challenge, where it took home an award in its first venture into the real world.

So the next time you're walking down the hallway with a stack of TPS reports and a chocolate doughnut, take a look at the quiet guy in the corner cubicle. Chances are he may be planning the next street screamer.

The Details
Dale Irwin's '65 {{{Mustang}}} Fastback

Engine

  • '03 Mustang GT 4.6 SOHC modular
  • Eaton M90 twin-screw supercharger w/intercooler
  • ACCEL Gen 7 w/custom wiring harness
  • 42-lb/hr Siemens injectors
  • Dual Walbro 255-lph fuel pumps
  • Aeromotive fuel rails
  • Griffin aluminum radiator
  • Spal electric fan
  • Derale remote water cooler w/fan
  • Transmission

  • Ford 4R70W four-speed automatic
  • Art Carr 9.5-inch billet torque converter
  • Derale remote oil cooler w/fan
  • Baumann Engineering TCS computer
  • Rearend

  • '00 Cobra R 8.8 IRS housing
  • 3.55 gears
  • Gerodisc posi
  • Exhaust

  • Ford Racing Performance Parts shorty headers
  • Flowmaster two-chamber mufflers
  • Custom x-style crossover
  • Suspension

  • Front: Total Control Products tubular coilover system modified for wider wheelbase, Aldan coilover shocks, custom power rack-and-pinion steering designed by owner
  • Rear: '00 Cobra R independent rear suspension, DVS Restorations IRS installation kit custom modified for tire clearance, Koni coilover rear shocks
  • Brakes

  • Front: SSBC Force 10 11.25-inch disc, four-piston caliper
  • Rear: Factory Cobra 11.65-inch disc, single-piston caliper
  • '03 Ford hydroboost-assist system
  • Wheels

  • Front: Vintage Wheel Works vintage 45, 17x8
  • Rear: Vintage Wheel Works vintage 45,17x11
  • Tires

  • Front: Goodyear {{{Eagle}}} F1 GS-D3, P255/40ZR17
  • Rear: Goodyear Eagle F1 GS-D3, P315/35ZR17
  • Interior

  • TMI seats covers, Auto Meter gauges in JME cluster, Vintage Air A/C, Pioneer stereo system, Sirius satellite radio, Painless interior wiring harness, three-point harnesses, 110-volt power inverter, Grant steering wheel
  • Exterior

  • '06 Mazda Dark Steel Gray R-M Diamont basecoat/clearcoat, Maier Racing fiberglass front fenders, Maier Racing rear flares, billet gas cap