Steve Baur
Former Editor, Modified Mustangs & Fords
February 21, 2012

It's not uncommon for aftermarket manufacturers to purchase a vehicle to use as the research and development mule upon which its line of parts is fabricated off of. What is uncommon is for the car to become an award winner, in particular, one that passes the scrutinizing of Ford's finest and is bestowed the Ford Outstanding Achievement in Design Best of Show award. That's exactly what Matt Lazich's '69 Mustang achieved at the 2010 SEMA show.

Anvil Auto has been in the composite body part business for some time and was looking to venture into the Ford market a few years ago.

"We wanted to really make it known that we were doing Ford stuff in addition to the GM products we make," notes Anvil's Matt Lazich. "We worked on a Firebird project the year before with a guy who was friends with Steve Strope at Pure Vision. He told me that Steve had a '66 Mustang that he was looking to sell, as the previous owner bailed out of the project. I wasn't into that body style, and always liked the '69-'70 style, as it was the beefiest and baddest looking Mustang in my mind." There would be no secretary cars for Anvil Auto, and Matt and Steve both agreed that the Eleanor Mustang of recent times had pretty much worn out the '67-'68 body style as well. They wagered that the '69-'70 model would be the next hot model.

The search for said Mustang began and the first path led them to Mustangs Plus in Northern California, which had a couple of body shells for sale. Matt and Steve agreed that they would be better off finding a whole car, and Steve ended up finding the perfect candidate right in his Simi Valley backyard. Located via eBay, the Mustang was clean and complete. There was a bit of rust on the bottoms of the doors, and the driver-side quarter had been in a minor altercation, but it was otherwise a workable, running and driving car.

Matt, who holds an industrial design degree, began experimenting with model kits to get some ideas on hoods, scoops, and more. Steve called up Tavis Highlander of Highlander Concept Rendering, and the three of them got to work sorting out many of the details of the overall look of the car.

"Steve's builds often have a European style, and he's big into the '60-era race cars," says Matt. "I never liked the ironing board shape on the factory hood, so we cut that part out of the stock hood." From there, Matt raised the center over a wider section of the hood, and while it looked good, it was a bit plain. To add some aggressive appeal, they looked to the Aston Martin DBS, and incorporated its heat extractors. Underneath the heat extractor carbon-fiber hood, Steve wanted to get rid of the inboard lights, but Matt felt that they were part of the essence and look of the '69 Mustang, and proposed moving them behind the grille so they could be seen from the front. Two factory grilles were sacrificed to build one, using the egg crate from a second to fill in where the lights originally were. The lights were then placed behind the grille.

Moving past the carbon-fiber front fenders (they're 11⁄8-inch wider than stock), the doors are still original steel, but Matt passed the idea of widening the rear quarter by Steve.

"It's the one thing I really pushed styling wise, and it ended up turning out really well," says Matt. Steve was apprehensive about the idea at first for a number of reasons, and frankly who wouldn't be. We've all seen wheel flares come out bad at some point.