Isaac Mion
April 4, 2011

She explained to the owner that he owned my first car and that I had missed it since selling it years before, said Mark. Thankfully, he completely understood and wished that he could have the opportunity to own his first car, and he offered to let us see the car and see if it was something we would like to purchase. But wait, it gets better.

We met the following weekend and after several hours of speaking, we learned that it was the same car I had called about months earlier and missed due to the weather! said Mark.

A deal was struck and Mark brought his Pony back to the stable. It wasn’t long before the old horse got a makeover.

Sean Blea and I discussed the restoration and restomod options, said Mark. Sean had been dreaming of taking a ’70 SportsRoof and doing an SVT Terminator conversion. He said he could make everything from an ’03-’04 Cobra fit into a vintage Mustang like mine. Getting nearly all the running gear and mechanicals to work on a chassis meant for a car built 30 years previous didn’t happen overnight, however.

First, Blea, his righthand man Rick Mathis, and their team of specialists, media blasted the car and performed the necessary body restoration. While that took place, Blea located a low-mileage ’03 Mustang Cobra that had been totaled and arranged to have it delivered to his shop. An AJE Racing K-member provides a cradle for the 390hp, 4.6L supercharged engine, and upgrades to the front suspension consist of two 600-lb/in coils and adjustable struts, as well as a tubular stabilizer.

Now the advantage of the AJE Racing K-member is that it can be ordered to the specifications of the new motor. Thus, mounts aren’t needed. Of course, the larger motor didn’t just slide right in.

The bulk of the heater protrudes 3 or 4 inches into the engine bay on the stock vehicle, said Sean. To make room for the motor, we had to flatten it on the passenger side. Then we had to add reinforcement ribs on the firewall because without the curves or bends, it would have basically been a piece of flimsy sheetmetal.

This firewall conversion also allowed for the Tremec T-56 transmission to slide in like a penguin at a black tie dinner. However, the fitment of the Cobra’s independent rear suspension and Cobra-specific gas tank required quite a bit of modification. While the original wheelhouses were retained, Blea’s plasma cutter found its way through much of the rear end of the car.

We cut from the torque box to the taillight section and everything in between, noted Blea. Then, we did the same to our late-model donor car, carefully measured and measured again, made our cuts, and set the entire late-model floor beneath the ’70. We then tied it all together, thus allowing all of the late-model components to literally fall into place.

Since they installed the entire rear floorpan from the ’03, the rear seats bolted right in. All that needed to be adapted was the trim and a few custom-fabricated panels. The front end of the cabin wasn’t as simple.

We had to remove about 34-inch from the dash on each side to get the Cobra unit to fit, said Mark. The front seat perches were removed to provide proper driving position and room for the power front seats.

Once the cabin layout had been established, they tore it all apart so they could get their spray on. At first they looked at samples of the stock Ford Red Fire Metallic, but Mark wanted a little more pop.

Getting the color right was quite a challenge, said Sean. The lines didn’t seem to stand out in certain lighting. To remedy this, they added some House of Kolors Candy Tangerine and some additional metal flake, and the result is alerting enough with the blacked out hood and custom-made SVT reverse C-stripes.

We decided to blend a modern SVT/Boss Mustang theme for the exterior, said Mark. Rear window louvers and a rear spoiler completed the look we were striving for.

Nitto NT555R radials (P275/40R17 fore and P315/35R17 aft) take care of the final transfer of power to the ground. They wrap American Racing Shelby Limited Edition rims 17x9 front and 17x10.5 rear.

The brakes that bring all this madness to a halt are Cobra 10th anniversary two-piston calipers with 13-inch vented Brembo discs up front, while the rears are 11.65-inch discs with the factory single-piston Cobra calipers. What’s probably more impressive is that the Cobra’s antilock braking system was also carried over to the old horse.

The ABS is part of the factory braking and traction control system on the Cobra. It would have been more work to remove these items, therefore both of these items are part of our conversion, and work perfectly and have been thoroughly tested, recalls Blea.

To date, the car has been entered in a couple of shows and has won Best Engine and Best ’67-’73 Modified at the 16th Annual Mustang and All-Ford Stampede in Colorado Springs, Colorado, as well as the Award of Excellence-Peoples Choice award at the Horsefeathers Car show in Greeley, Colorado.

With perseverance, some shrewd inves-tigation and an almost fanatic desire to find his original sweetheart, Mark succeeded in reigniting the spark that drove him to so many memorable experiences.