Steve Baur
Former Editor, Modified Mustangs & Fords
April 1, 2011
Photos By: NotStockPhotography

From the time the project was started, the plan was to drop in a newer powerplant, and in this case, it's a supercharged 4.6L, four-valve crate engine-the same one used in the late-model '03-'04 Mustang Cobras. Out of the crate, the modular mill sported the factory Eaton huffer, and the one-off fiberglass hood, of which Joe estimates he has some 10,000 man hours in creating, was built to fit it. When Joe decided to mount a Kenne Bell 2.8 blower on it, the crew had to get creative with the idle air control valve to make it fit. An SCT mass airflow meter and 60-lb/hr fuel injectors were also fitted to the modular mill to complement the 21 psi of boost. After Tuners Inc's Tony Gonyon finished reworking the ECM, the fastback produced a stout 530 rwhp.

Astute readers will note that the 530 rwhp comes up a bit shy of the claimed 720 flywheel horsepower on the cam covers, however the long dyno pulls coming from the 3.50 gears, 29-inch-tall tires, and 21 pounds of boost at 6,800 rpm sent the air charge temps through the roof. Joe plans to swap out the cogs for a steeper set to remedy this. Still, the current 600 or so horsepower at the flywheel is a lot of grunt for this 3,200-pound colt, not to mention the Kenne Bell makes boatloads of torque way down low in the rpm range.

With the body and chassis heavily modified, the headers were also hand-fabricated in-house, and feature 15/8-inch primary tubes and 21/2-inch collectors. Joe tells us that the transmission tunnel is a custom-made piece that allows the T-56 transmission to sit higher up in the chassis, and this allowed him to run the exhaust under the transmission and yet hidden from plain view. The 21/2-inch pipes transition into SLP stainless steel mufflers and exit out double-walled, stainless tips.

As you can tell, considerable effort has been put into customizing the interior space. Starting with a CDC Flashback dashpad, the rest of the interior pieces are handformed in fiberglass or aluminum. The seats are originally from another make, but Steve Holcomb at Pro Auto Custom Interiors (Knoxville, Ten-nessee) reformed them and covered them in butterscotch and charcoal leather. He also whipped up a set of leather door inserts for the door panels that Joe had made. Nearly all of the interior panels, including the rear seat area, are upholstered in the matching leather. Behind the Budnik steering wheel, you'll find a custom dash cluster from Classic Instruments, and an Alpine touchscreen head unit with navigation controls, and a bevy of high-end audio equipment. Joe even customized the MGW shifter, and all of the bright work and trim panels are all one-off pieces that he designed.

As stunning as the exterior of this fastback is, there wasn't a lot of lengthy planning involved.

"We're more of a seat of the pants shop, rather than going off a rendering," says Joe. "There's no exact path. We just wanted to keep it true to a Mustang, but modernize it, make it functional and usable. Less conspicuous are the shaved door handles and vents, stretched rear wheelwells, and sectioned quarters. The front bumper, valance, and rear bumper/fascia are all hand-fabricated pieces, while the front chin spoiler is a factory piece. The fastback is also devoid of any chrome, with many of the trim pieces featuring a brushed nickel appearance.

"We didn't know what color it was going to be until about a week before paint," recalls Joe. That lustrous hue is called Butterscotch Pearl and hails from the Dupont color charts. The contrasting color that adorns the custom hood and flanks the sides is a Charcoal Metallic from BASF with a satin flattening agent.