Steve Baur
Former Editor, Modified Mustangs & Fords
September 28, 2011
Photos By: Drew Phillips

So you've been to a vintage race or two and the competitive streak that you had in your younger days has suddenly reemerged, rising from the burden of raising a family that has probably since gone away now that the kids are off to college. You're past street racing at this point, and it just plain looks like a lot of fun running a classic car on the track at full tilt, with a bunch of guys right next to you all thinking the same thing. You could go buy a car in good shape, strip it down, and modify it to competition standards, but that takes a lot of time, effort, and research to pick all of the right parts and get them installed correctly. What if all you had to do was pick up the phone and order a complete rolling chassis equipped with the latest in road-racing gear, and ready for you to drop in a powerplant of your choice? Well, Agent 47 (www.a-47.com) offers just such an option.

Prior to its latest creation, Agent 47 has been busy producing a number of track-oriented upgrades for late-model Mustangs, and the company was ready to turn to a vintage version next.

With Bill Osborne designing the chassis and suspension, the original concept was going to be similar to what he did on R.J. Gottlieb's Big Red Camaro. If you haven't heard of Big Red, YouTube it when you get a chance. We know it's a Chevy, but it's bad to the bone, and the Agent 47 Harbinger was destined to be just as good, if not better.

The Camaro idea, however, never came to fruition, as company owner Corey Weber opted for his favorite Mustang body style, the '69-'70 models. From there, Agent 47 teamed up with Dynacorn to offer a complete rolling chassis that is road-race ready for your vintage racing event, weekend track event, or whatever. Agent 47 tells us that the rolling chassis it provides will weigh a svelte 1,980 pounds with a fiberglass hood and other weight-saving measures.

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The Harbinger is a track-ready, vintage Mustang that either starts with a new Dynacorn body fresh out of the stamping press, or an original '69 or '70 Mustang. Keep in mind that this car would not just be another Mustang restoration project. No, it was destined and designed explicitly for the track.

Agent 47 has campaigned its own '94 Mustang in the National Auto Sport Association's (NASA) American Iron (AI) class, taking the West Coast American Iron Extreme (AIX) championship in 2006. The company now sponsors Ryan Walton, who also has several West Coast championships and lap records under his belt.

In 2011, Agent 47 debuted a new race group, AIX Outlaw, which fits in between NASA's AI and AIX, but runs in the AIX class. With its extensive involvement in road racing today, you can be sure Agent 47 knows how to make a Mustang turn, and turn well.

"We specialize in SLA suspensions," says Agent 47's Bryan Rogers, "and the system on the Harbinger is built to work with modern wheel backspacing and provide more room for larger, more modern brakes." SLA, which is short for "short and long arm," is generally regarded as the better front suspension setup for optimum handling.

Penske Racing Shocks are used up front because, as Bryan puts it, "they are fully rebuildable and upgradeableùyou really never need to buy another set of shocks unless you wreck the car and break them."

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The rear suspension is unique in the Mustang world. The Agent 47 V-link, designed by Bill Osborne, uses a single wishbone (a cross between a torque arm and truck arm from NASCAR tech) along with a Panhard bar to locate the rear axle laterally. Osborne wanted a lot of articulation without a lot of front to back movement.

"It's really good on track and kicked ass on the autocross," says Rogers. "The long arm allows the use of a softer spring for greater articulation, and we're looking to adapt the suspension design to other Mustang models." Ryan Walton is currently running a prototype Fox body V-link in the new AIX Outlaw series and is doing quite well.

Hanging off all four suspension points are one-off Forgeline wheelsùflared fenders offer extra clearance for their massive 18x10-inch size, and the 305mm front and 335mm rear Toyo RA1 tires.

With a suspension so unique, you can imagine that the rear axle would be equally trick, and it is. The Speedway Engineering housing features a Wavetrac differential and full floater axle shafts spinning 4.11 gears. The braking system is also top notch, utilizing AP Racing four-piston calipers that clamp 14-inch rotors up front and 13-inch discs out back.

Getting back to the finishing touches on the body, Agent 47 sourced a number of trim pieces from Scott Drake. Forecast3D, the parent company of Agent 47, supplied all of the molded urethane plastic components. Using a rapid prototyping process called stereolithography, where a vat of resin hardens when subjected to a laser UV light, Forecast3D takes the prototype that has risen out of the resin, and uses it to create a silicone mold. From there, the production components are formed out of urethane. Pieces like the center console and headlight buckets are produced in exactly this way.

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Speaking of the center console, the interior has been fitted with vintage looking Recaro buckets to keep the passengers firmly planted during high-g maneuvers. Said seats have been moved back, along with the dashboard, 6 inches to improve weight distribution, and the only tunes you'll be jamming to come from the 4-inch side exhaust.

This is where Agent 47 leaves the rest up to you. To complete its Harbinger prototype, Agent 47 tapped Ford Performance Solutions (FPS) to build a powerplant comparable to the rest of the chassis. To that end, FPS' Troy Bowen bored and stroked a Dart aluminum 351W block to 402 ci, and topped off it with an easy-breathing set of Avenger cylinder heads and a Pacific Performance Products solid roller camshaft. Backed by a Tremec T-56 Magnum from D&D Motorsports and a McLeod RST twin-disc clutch, the engine produced 567 rwhp and 450 lb-ft of torque.

Agent 47 went to Jones Racing Products to equip the engine with the necessary accessories. The alternator, power steering pump, accessory drive system, nylon-braided hosing, overflow tanks, and other critical components all came from the Ottsville, Pennsylvania, company that outfits all sorts of race cars. Wizard Cooling (West Falls, New York) was called upon to supply the superior cooling components.

Most of the Harbinger's parts are for sale through Agent 47 with the exception of the Harbinger-specific badging (which only comes with a complete Harbinger rolling chassis). The lightweight exterior trim pieces, suspension, wheels, seats, and everything else are yours for the taking.

Suspension designer Bill Osborne unfortunately passed on before he could see the project completed. Corey Weber, Josh Tieman, Lathe Sailor, Mike Winston, Roger George, as well as Bryan Rogers himself saw the project until the end, and the finished machine has proven to be the very capable performer that it was intended to be.

"The Harbinger was built using tomorrow's technology," says Rogers. That should give it a step ahead of the competition, at least until they buy one.

"We'd like to see a series utilizing these cars and are looking to support such a series," say Rogers. Wouldn't that be a sight? Vintage Trans-Am racing reborn. Whether you're interested in the Harbinger, a racing series for vintage muscle cars, or both, Agent 47 would like to hear from you.

Backed by a Tremec T-56 Magnum from D&D Motorsports and a McLeod RST twin-disc clutch, the engine produced 567 rwhp and 450 lb-ft of torque

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The Details

Agent 47 Competition Products' Harbinger

Engine

  • 402ci Windsor V-8 built by Ford Performance Solutions (Anaheim, CA)
  • 4.130-inch bore
  • 3.75-inch stroke
  • Dart aluminum engine block
  • RaceTec forged aluminum pistons, Oliver forged steel I-beam connecting rods, RPM 4340 billet forged steel crankshaft
  • FPS Avenger XTC CNC-ported aluminum canted-valve cylinder heads, REV 2.20-inch intake/1.675-inch exhaust valves
  • Pacific Performance Products solid roller camshaft, 258 duration at 0.050, 0.637-inch valve lift
  • T&D 1.70:1 aluminum shaft-mount rocker arms, Manley 8.55-inch pushrods
  • Edelbrock 2938 Victor 351-Y single-plane intake manifold
  • Holley HP 830-cfm four-barrel race carburetor
  • 10.7:1 compression ratio
  • MSD distributor and ignition
  • Custom dual-snorkel air induction box with filters mounted in center driving light bezels
  • Jones Racing Products (Ottsville, PA) front accessory drive, alternator, power steering pump

Transmission

  • Tremec T-56 Magnum six-speed manual from D&D Performance (Wixom, MI)
  • McLeod RST twin disc clutch and flywheel
  • Agent 47 carbon-fiber shifter handle

Rearend

  • Speedway Engineering (Sylmar, CA) full floater 9-inch housing
  • Wavetrac differential
  • Richmond 4.11 gears
  • 31-spline axles

Exhaust

  • Custom stainless steel long-tube headers by Richard's Performance (Oceanside, CA) 2-inch primaries and 3-inch collectors, Inline resonators and Spintech mufflers

Suspension

  • Front: Agent 47 SLA, Penske shocks
  • Rear: Agent 47 V-Link NASCAR-style wishbone suspension with Panhard bar, Penske shocks

Brakes

  • Front: AP Racing, 14-inch discs with aluminum hats, four-piston calipers
  • Rear: AP Racing, 13-inch discs with aluminum hats, four-piston calipers

Wheels

  • Front: Custom Agent 47/Forgeline Titanium/Black forged aluminum, 18x11, 6-inch offset
  • Rear: Custom Agent 47/Forgeline Titanium/Black forged aluminum, 18x11, 6-inch offset

Tires

  • Front: Toyo Proxes RA1, P305/35ZR18
  • Rear: Toyo Proxes RA1, P335/30ZR18

Interior

  • Vintage Recaro bucket seats, Schroth harnesses, Sweet steering column, Momo quick-release steering wheel, JME gauge cluster with Autometer instruments, Forecast3D center console switch panel and door panels, V&J Upholstery (Vista, CA) carpet and upholstery, Dashboard and seats moved backwards 6 inches for weight balance improvement, integrated rollcage and chassis support, trunk-mounted battery, fire suppression system, rear seat delete, Forecast3D DMLS (direct metal laser sintering) cobalt chrome serial number plate

Exterior

  • Dynacorn '69 Mustang Sportsroof body, Agent 47/Maier Racing fiberglass air extractor forward-tilting hood, shaved driprails, flared fenders, urethane headlight buckets and front splitter with brake ducts, Agent 47 and Harbinger trim pieces, SEM Hotrod Black single-stage paint by Steve McKay of Poway, California

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