Steve Baur
Former Editor, Modified Mustangs & Fords
December 5, 2011
Photos By: John Machaqueiro, New Jersey Motorsports Park

It all started around an engine. The '07 Shelby GT500 supercharged 5.4L modular, to be exact. While Ford had great success with its supercharged Thunderbirds, SVT Lightning F150s, and '03-'04 SVT Cobra Mustangs, it was the '07 Shelby GT500 Mustang that put the stamp on the performance envelope with its boosted 500hp powerplant. Erich Bollman of New Castle, Delaware, has been a Ford fan for some time, and currently owns a '69 Boss 302 Mustang, as well as his first car, a '66 Mustang coupe. As owner of Christiana Muscle Cars, a family-owned, restoration and custom build shop, Erich has had his hands on everything from concours restos to full-tilt race cars, both drag and road racing. It was his love of the '69 Mustang body and the impression of the new GT500 engine that he decided to put the two together in an over-the-top custom creation.

The search began with the Boss302.com forums. There, he found that a friend in Virginia had a shell that he was looking to sell. "The quarter-panels were junk, as was most of the floor," recalls Erich, "but that was fine because we were going to modify all of those pieces anyway." A deal was made, and before long, the chassis was stripped and sandblasted to reveal all of its ugliness.

In order to have a plan of action to follow, Erich enlisted the help of designer Murray Pfaff.

"I talked to a couple different designers and I enjoyed talking to him," Erich recalls. "He had good ideas and I liked his designs."

As with most high-end car builds, the projects take on a life of their own, often having a name to describe their direction.

"My best friend from high school, Nicu Nastase, was nicknamed Nasty," says Erich. "He was a Harrier pilot for the Marines and was just shipping overseas as we were doing the design work. I was thinking of him at the time and thought the name fit the car well." And, so, project Nasty was born.

Nasty could have described the condition of the Mustang when it first arrived at Christiana Muscle Cars, but the staff quickly got to work on the metal fabrication and repairs. Before long, the engine was set in the car to measure for the custom front subframe that would eventually cradle the 837-pound, supercharged powerplant. From there, the ride height was set and the wheel sizes were determined.

"I wanted the wheels tucked up as far as we could. We went with the 19s for a bit more ground clearance, without losing the entire wheel in the wheelwell," says Erich.

Once you set a low ride height, especially with a non-stock drivetrain, concessions to the firewall and/or transmission tunnel are usually required. Nasty was no exception, as Erich had to modify the firewall and floor to fit the behemoth mod motor, and he raised the trans tunnel to accommodate the T-56 six-speed transmission. About this time, the exhaust routing was formulated.

"We decided to go under the axles as we had the room," notes Erich, "and we wanted to do a center outlet from the beginning, so we built the fuel cell on top of the trunk floor." The raised height of the tank allowed Erich to fit the fuel door right in the rear trunk filler panel below the rear window. Also in the trunk, you'll find the air tanks and pump for the Ridetech air suspension system, as well as widened wheeltubs all tucked behind the finished trunk interior panels.

Getting back to the body, from the beginning, it was shaved handles and trim for Erich.

"We had some black trim with the wheels, hood, and trunk, and I thought the window trim would look good black as well," says Erich. "We also shaved the driprails, which required quite a bit of work to the window frame area of the door." Two Boss 429 fiberglass scoops were sacrificed to make a taller and wider hoodscoop to clear the Eaton blower and throttlebody of the 5.4. The throttlebody was flipped upside down and a new elbow using a chunk of aluminum and a Bridgeport was fabricated to connect it to the blower. The cold air intake was also hand-fabricated as well. Keeping with the fabrication theme, Erich and his staff hung the sheetmetal to tighten up the gaps and then worked on the door and quarter-panel treatment. Quarter-panels from a '70-model Mustang were used to get rid of the upper scoops, and then the rear marker lights were filled in as well. Custom rocker panels were fabricated to bring the side profile down low, the turn signals were relocated to the lower front valance, the front side marker lights were axed, and the headlight buckets and rear quarter-panel extensions were all molded in.

The bumpers were narrowed and tucked in to the body, while the rear valance was scrapped altogether in favor of a custom bellypan that houses the exhaust tips and the flip-down license plate. Erich also filled the gas filler hole in the taillight panel, but the lights and bezels remain factory. The bulky factory hood latch had to go, and to solve the subsequent latching problem, Erich turned to the hoodpins from the '08 CJ Mustang.

"Its sometimes difficult building cars like these, as you take into consideration the opinions of other people, design trends, possible future buyers, as well as your own ideas and desires," Erich notes. The decklid is the only piece that was left untouched. Final bodywork and paint was next for project Nasty. "I struggled with color right up until we mixed and sprayed it," Erich recalls. "We sprayed out some different oranges and reds and came up with the final BASF Glasurit hue. The local BASF rep was helping and poured in some custom metallic for a one-off color. The accent originally started as straight black with some accidental orange metallic in the paint on the rear filler panel. I thought it would be cool to have an orange metallic in the black accent, and while the orange part didn't work out, the accent did end up as a one-off metallic black." Finishmaster worked with BASF to provide the paint, clear, custom mixing, and the support. Erich and his crew spent a lot of time rewiring the car once the paint was done, as a new chassis harness was installed, followed by the Control Pack from Ford Racing Performance Parts. Further wiring/plumbing included running all of the air lines and electrical wiring for the Ridetech air suspension system that would eventually give Nasty its in-the-weeds attitude.

After shoehorning the mammoth 5.4L engine between the front fenders, Erich went to Afco for an aluminum radiator built to the available dimensions.

"You install one thing and you have to move three things to make it work," quips Erich. To feed the thirsty supercharged beast, Erich turned to Aeromotive for help in building the return-style fuel system using Aeromotive billet fuel rails and one of the company's A1000 fuel pumps. Speedway Motors supplied the aluminum fuel tank.

Finally, attention was turned to the interior space. The custom center console was built out of steel and wood, and hides much of the wiring that was fed up the center of the car. Erich and his crew also welded up the rollbar and mounted a pair of Scat bucket seats. Bob Montgomery of New Castle Auto Upholstery (Newport, Delaware) later dismantled the seats, swapped out the padding, and reupholstered them in black leather with orange stitching. Bob hand-formed the sail panels with integrated speaker pods, as well as the rear seat delete. As for the spare, Erich responds, "I hadn't really seen a Pro-Touring car with the spare wheel, and I liked the way that the old Shelby's did it." Erich also liked the look of triple master cylinders, so he ordered the Wilwood package, which comes with the trick pedal assembly, and he recessed the masters into the firewall.

With so much work put into the car at this point, it's hard to think that there was still much left to do. This is where the underpinnings come to play.

Wanting a great stance as well as great performance and ride characteristics, Erich turned to Ridetech for one of its air suspension systems.

"I've been working with them over the last three years to constantly equip the Mustang with the latest Ridetech updates," says Erich. "They were great to deal with and their support is excellent."

For rolling stock, Bonspeed's Huntington design was chosen.

"We gave Bonspeed all of the measurements that they asked for. For a fee, they send out two-piece wheels to test fit, and we ended up changing the backspacing on the rear so it was worth it."

Once Erich was ready to stir the gears in the D&D Performance T-56 six-speed, he took Nasty to JDM Engineering in Freehold, New Jersey. The engine wouldn't run correctly with the changes made to the cold air intake and mass air meter placement, but JDM's Jim D'Amore worked his SCT custom tuning magic to straighten out Nasty's bad habits. As you can see from the photos at New Jersey Motorsports Park, Erich isn't afraid to turn a wheel in anger, no doubt attesting to Nasty's inherent attitude. We caught up with Erich and his Mustang at the Goodguys Columbus show where Nasty was competing for Street Machine of the Year. While it didn't take the top prize, Nasty was awarded the Ford Performance Award. As part of the Street Machine of the Year competition, Erich took the Mustang out on the autocross, and set the crowd off with probably the best burnout of the weekend. Did we mention that Erich owns and races an '08 Cobra Jet Mustang in NHRA competition--Shelby-powered of course. So what's next for Erich and project Nasty? Well, the Mustang is destined for a number of shows to add to its already impressive collection of awards, while Erich begins his next endeavor--a '69 Mustang that was originally raced in A/Sedan in the '70s in SCCA. Erich says it'll be close to original with exceptions made so that Erich can run it in the SVRA's vintage class. That sounds pretty nasty, too.

Photo Gallery

View Photo Gallery

The Details

Engine

  • Shelby GT500 5.4L DOHC Crate Engine from Ford Racing Performance Parts
  • Factory rated at 500 hp at 6,000 rpm, 480 lb-ft of torque at 4,500 rpm
  • Cast-iron cylinder block, aluminum four-valve cylinder heads
  • Eaton Roots-style supercharger
  • Aeromotive fuel system
  • Custom cold-air induction tube
  • Custom computer tuning by JDM Engineering (Freehold, NJ)

Transmission

  • Tremec T-56 six-speed manual from D&D Performance (Wixom, MI)
  • McLeod dual-disc RST clutch/flywheel
  • D&D Performance shifter

Rearend

  • Moser 9-inch rear
  • Nodular iron center section
  • Traction-Lok differential
  • Moser 28-spline axles
  • 3.73 gears

Exhaust

  • Cast-iron exhaust manifolds
  • Custom 2-1/2-inch tubing
  • Spintech mufflers
  • Custom center rear outlet

Suspension

  • Front: Ridetech Strong Arm control arms, Shockwave air springs
  • Rear: Ridetech Airbar triangulated four-link, Shockwave air springs
  • RidePro air system

Brakes

  • Front: Stainless Steel Brakes Corp disc, 13-inch rotors, four-piston calipers
  • Rear: Stainless Steel Brakes Corp disc, 14-inch rotors, four-piston calipers
  • Wilwood triple master cylinder kit

Wheels

  • Front: Bonspeed Huntington, billet aluminum, 19x8
  • Rear: Bonspeed Huntington, billet aluminum, 19x10

Tires

  • Front: BFGoodrich g-Force TA KDW, P255/35ZR19
  • Rear: BFGoodrich g-Force TA KDW, P295/35ZR19

Interior

  • Custom center console with integrated air suspension controls, Scat bucket seats in black leather, JME/Auto Meter gauge cluster, custom inner sail panels, Alpine 6-inch door speakers, Alpine 6x9 rear speakers, Alpine head unit, LeCarra Mark 4 Supreme steering wheel, custom rollbar, G-Force five-point harnesses, fullsize spare wheel/tire, upholstered trunk area, all upholstery by Bob Montgomery of New Castle Auto Upholstery (Newport, DE)

Exterior

  • Custom "Nasty Orange" BASF Glasurit basecoat/clearcoat paint, shaved driprails, custom quarter-panels, custom rockers, molded headlight buckets and rear quarter extensions, smoothed taillight panel, filled in gas door, custom rear bellypan, frenched turn signals, custom center exhaust outlet, painted window trim, front and rear bumpers tucked and recessed, custom hoodscoop, relocated gas filler door, flip-down license plate, all body modifications and paintwork done by Christiana Muscle Cars (New Castle, DE)

Photo Gallery

View Photo Gallery