Modified Mustangs & Fords
1973 Mustang Mach 1 - Eleanor, Take Two
What Happens When You Meld The Cars From The Original And Remade Gone In 60 Seconds? You End Up With Something Like Fernando Gomez's One-Of-A-Kind Custom.
Other touches include shaved door handles and locks and custom aero side mirrors. From a glance it looks close to stock, but the Mustang's front clip is equally elaborate-especially the spoiler. "For that, we actually built a 1/4-inch-thick wire frame and then we covered it with some special cardboard before using a clay filler. We then applied carbon-fiber layers over it and sanded and prepped them for paint. We had to make sure that it really was aerodynamic and that it matched the rest of the shape of the car. Because it was made in situ, it truly is a one-off. I just hope I don't have an accident with the car and break it because I can't make another one," chuckles Fernando. The same goes for the grille assembly, which combines elements of the original '73 Mustang with the '67 Eleanor. You can also notice how the original grille moldings have been modified and smoothed for a closer fit.
Further adding to the wide-body custom look are rocker panel extensions and a Kamm-style tail that incorporates elements of '67-'68 and '69-'70 Mustangs, with cutouts for the exhaust trumpets in the lower section of the valance. As a modern-day Eleanor, Cougar sequential taillights are de rigueur. Rounding off the bodywork mods are a custom installed sunroof and the paint, which is blue draped over custom silver (in many respects an homage to the '71-'73s, which could be painted blue with silver lower bodies, hood center sections, and decals). A green pinstripe was the final touch on Fernando's car.
Full Cabin Makeover
With any full-on custom like this, what's inside is just as important as the exterior. Fernando went to great lengths to get the right look. The center console was actually fabricated from wood, with foam and then leather added on top. The dash was entirely custom built, but Fernando originally had something else in mind: "At first my plan was to use an '05-'09 Mustang dash, so I bought one from a dealer." However, it was put on the back of a truck and it blew off on the way home-$1,600 down the tubes. But this incident proved to be a blessing in disguise, as it motivated Gomez to build a full custom piece.
The starting point was a cardboard top piece from which a fiberglass mold was created. Auto Meter gauges were installed, along with a premium vintage Blaupunkt European stereo head unit, and the whole thing was trimmed in leather. Looking at it installed in the car, along with the center console and door panels, the look is very early '70s Italian-much like a contemporary Maserati or Iso, but with modern colors and billet fixtures.
As for the greasy bits, it was a case of go big or go home. One advantage to the '71-'73 Mustangs is that you can squeeze in just about any engine you can think of, so Fernando went with a Ford 460 V-8. It has been bored and stroked to 514 cubes and runs an Eagle crank and H-beam rods, SRP forged pistons on a 10.1 squeeze, Trick Flow aluminum heads with 2.2-/1.7-inch intake/exhaust valves, and a hydraulic cam of undisclosed specs. Because of the altitude at his home base, Fernando elected to bolt on a Holley 650 carb atop the car's Victor intake manifold. "I could have gone bigger, but the engine would be starving for air," he says, "and although I might be robbing myself of about 50 horsepower, it still makes over 500 hp, which is good enough for me."
He has a point. The engine also sports custom-made headers, while bolted to the back of the mammoth motor is a TCI-built Super Street Fighter three-speed slushbox. It's designed to get the big Mach moving quickly with a 2.46 First gear, but a 1:1 top gear allows for easy cruising on the open road when required. The car still retains its original 9-inch rear and Traction-Lok, which helps keep the massive Michelin Pilot 335 section rear tires planted on the pavement.