Dale Amy
August 1, 2009

In our February 2009 issue we introduced you to Classic Design Concepts' Flashback, a sublime fusion of 1960s style and new-century know-how that won us over with its aggressive, yet civilized, persona, not to mention its thoroughly modern reliability. Oh, and the fact that it had 605 hp didn't hurt. It seems we weren't the only ones impressed by what CDC's gearhead gurus had accomplished, as it wasn't long before CDC boss and chief social director, George Huisman, was contacted by a European businessman with an interesting proposal. Paris-based Bassam Abdallah is a successful industrialist and world-class Mustang fanatic whose idea was to build a unique version of the Flashback for the untapped European and Middle East markets; as we know, the love for the Mustang is world wide. George was receptive to the plan, and what we have here is the intercontinental project's prototype and show car--the Equus Tom 1.

"Equus" is Latin for horse, while the "Tom 1" refers to the fact that this is the very first of the series and that automotive designer, Tom Tjaarda, had a hand in some of its styling details. American-born Tjaarda--whose career has included time at major Italian design houses, Pininfarina and Ghia--is perhaps most recognized in Ford circles for penning the De Tomaso Pantera's aggressive shape during his time with Ghia. With CDC having engineered and assembled our Go Mango Metallic prototype, the business plan calls for the production Equus to be built in India for efficient access to its intended markets.

That being the case, Equus Automotive set in place a plan for an exotic two-week promotional tour across the Republic of India, involving the Tom 1 prototype and nine other Mustangs from Bassam's personal collection. More than just a random cruise, this carefully scripted equine caravan started off in Bollywood (India's Hollywood), was shadowed by a full film crew, and accompanied by a number of stars of India's burgeoning movie industry; the idea being to create one dazzler of a promotional film for the Equus project. While scheduling conflicts kept us from accepting an invitation to join in on this once-in-a-lifetime cultural experience and road trip, Rob Kinnan, editor of one of our sister publications, Hot Rod, did make the January 2009 journey and filed daily reports that can be found at www.hotrod.com under Event Coverage.

There you'll see that it's maybe a good thing we shot and drove the Tom 1 in Florida before it went overseas, 'cause the 2,000-kilometer "Maharajah of the Road" (`maharajah' translates to `king') tour route reportedly traversed some terrain that may have been more fit for pack animals than thoroughbreds. Still, the Equus made it through, showing that it's made of hardy stuff.

We've included an extra-detailed "The Details" sidebar setting out exactly what stuff it's made of, but the basic mechanical formula of the Equus follows that of the Flashback. It begins as a '67-style Dynacorn unibody shell--one that receives specific shock-tower mods to enable insertion of a broad-shouldered S197 GT500 5.4L DOHC crate engine from Ford Racing. A six-speed manual is once again downstream, but this time it's a Tremec TR-6060 (as found under the current Shelby), rather than the T56 used in the original Flashback. Like the Flashback, the suspension and brakes are all ultra-modern hardware from RRS of Australia, though the Equus prototype wears a rather distinctive set of 18-inch rims carved out by Electri-Cal Machining.

Also like the Flashback, the Equus' cabin is where the technological advances of the last four decades--as well as Classic Design Concepts' innovations and craftsmanship--are harnessed in creating an environment fit for a king--or a maharajah. At a couple inches over six feet, I really appreciate the floorpan mods CDC made to increase seat travel by over half a foot, and bump headroom by a couple inches. That and the upscale materials and modern electronic amenities should certainly prove just as irresistible overseas as they do here. But if its looks, handling and comfort don't seal the deal in those distant nations, one stab at the electronic-throttle-control (ETC) gas pedal certainly will, as a torque-twisted, face-splitting grin means the same thing in any language or culture. Indeed!

The Details
Classic Design Concepts/EQUUS Tom 1 Concept

Engine

  • Ford Racing Performance Parts supercharged 5.4L SVT Mustang Shelby GT500 Engine
  • 3.552-inch bore
  • 4.165-inch stroke
  • DOHC 32-valve aluminum heads, 8:4:1 compression ratio
  • Water-to-air intercooler
  • 600 hp at 6,000 rpm, 590 lb-ft torque at 4,500 rpm
  • CDC-designed cold air inlet package
  • Ford Racing Performance Parts engine management system
  • CDC-designed in-tank fuel pump, fuel supply, and return system
  • CDC-fabricated stainless steel radiator plumbing
  • CDC-modified '03 Mustang Mach 1 radiator
  • Spal USA Dual 11-inch electric cooling fans
  • Ford production "drive-by-wire" accelerator pedal

Transmission

  • D&D Performance supplied Tremec TR6060 six-speed manual transmission with D&D Performance short-throw shifter
  • Ford Racing Performance Parts dual disc cerametallic-coated Cobra clutch
  • RRS hydraulic clutch system with production Ford hydraulic release bearing
  • CCI custom 4-inch aluminum driveshaft

Rearend

  • Currie 9-inch
  • 31-spline axles
  • Traction-Lok
  • 3.70 gears
  • CDC modified axle housing to accept RRS 3-Link rear suspension package

Exhaust

  • Ford Racing Performance Parts stainless steel headers modified by CDC
  • CDC-fabricated 2½-inch stainless steel dual exhaust with Pype's mufflers
  • Corsa Pro-Series rear exit 3½-inch polished stainless steel single exhaust tips

Suspension

  • Front: RRS Phase 4 independent front suspension with billet aluminum adjustable coilover strut/steering knuckle system, chrome silicone steel springs, and 1⅛-inch stabilizer bar, RRS power assisted rack-and-pinion steering
  • Rear: RRS 3-Link adjustable rear suspension system with chrome silicone steel springs and Watts Link lateral stability system

Brakes

  • Front: RRS Disc, slotted 14-inch vented Moly-Carbide rotors, six-piston King calipers
  • Rear: RRS Disc, slotted 13.2-inch vented Moly-Carbide rotors, six-piston King calipers, RRS Drum in Disc Parking Brake System
  • Vacuum assisted power brake booster
  • RRS designed "In-Vehicle" integrated hydraulic clutch actuation
  • CDC/EQUUS developed computer controlled braking, traction control, and electronic stability control systems

Wheels

  • Front: Electri-Cal Machining, black center with bright polished trim, 18x8
  • Rear: Electri-Cal Machining, black center with bright polished trim, 18x9.5

Tires

  • Front: Dunlop Sport Maxx, P245/45R18
  • Rear: Dunlop Sport Maxx, P275/40R18

Interior

  • CDC/EQUUS-designed leather surfaced front power bucket seats, leather surfaced folding rear seat system, CDC-modified leather-wrapped '67 Mustang deluxe steering wheel, vinyl-wrapped trim panels, and leather/vinyl-wrapped center floor console, Flaming River tilt steering column, Alea Leather Specialists provided foam shaping and black leather/vinyl trimming, CDC/EQUUS dedicated vehicle build number plate on center console, ACC black cut pile full carpeting in passenger compartment and trunk, Tony Branda rear seat rollbar and '67 Shelby GT-style retractable shoulder harnesses, CDC aluminum pedal covers with matching fixed dead pedal, Classic Instruments IP cluster with CDC/EQUUS-designed TOM 1 graphics, A1 electric power door locks, power windows, and remote keyless entry systems, Vintage Air Gen IV Magnum electronic HVAC system, Becker Mexico 7948 radio head with Rockford Fosgate audio amplification system with four speakers and one 12-inch woofer

Exterior

  • CDC-reinforced Dynacorn Classic Bodies reproduction '67 Mustang bodyshell, RRS front shock-tower reinforcement system and RRS shock-tower notching kit, CDC/EQUUS-designed front fascia with aluminum perforated plate upper grille, rear fascia with integral bumper, leading edge hoodscoop with cowl-transition cap, fixed quarter-panel windows, and lower sidescoops, CDC/EQUUS-designed taillamps with sequential lighting by Northwest Mustang/Classic LEDs, Sherwin Williams Planet Color basecoat/clearcoat Go Mango Metallic (AYZEK2) with 6 percent glass 1-45 Mirror U7-2838-00(Q), PSI Automotive Support Groups-provided surfacing and paint application, Valeo Sylvania HID Headlamps with bright LED parking and rear backup lamps, A-W Custom Chrome-provided chrome plating, stainless steel, and aluminum polishing, Scott Drake smoke-tinted door, vent, and rear backlite glass, CDC/EQUUS engine identification, fender, decklid, and engine compartment badging