Steve Baur
Former Editor, Modified Mustangs & Fords
June 4, 2012
Photos By: Isaac Mion

When you've been racing circle tracks for 20 years straight, there isn't a lot of time for hot rods at home. That all changed when Dave Neumann hung up his racing helmet and set out to build something that could still go fast, but was a bit more user friendly on the street.

Having raced Ford-powered vehicles for the last three to four years, Dave had a few Ford engines lying around and figured that a Ford car was the way to go.

"My nephew Cory and I knew we wanted to build a muscle car, and we knew we wanted to build a Ford. We contemplated building a Maverick, a Falcon, and a Fairlane before we decided on a Mustang," Dave recalls. Influenced by Mike Gerace's '69 Mustang that graced the Dec. '08 cover of Modified Mustangs & Fords magazine, Dave searched for about three months before finding a suitable candidate for his project.

"We searched newspapers, online, and word of mouth before we found a '71 Mach 1 out of Eaton, Colorado," notes Dave. "When we went to look at the car, we noticed that the seller also had a '69 Mach 1 on the property. We were more interested in the '69 and the seller was just as happy to get rid of it--we picked up the car for $4,000."

Dave brought the Mustang back to his father's house, where they have a shop and tools, along with the necessary space to work on the car. Dave and Cory then spent every extra hour for the next month disassembling the car. The originally Gulfstream Aqua Mustang had quite a bit of rust that Dave and Cory cut out, but Dave eventually dropped the SportsRoof off at Bryce's Streetrods in Erie, Colorado, to have new quarters, inner fenders, floorpans, and a roof panel put on. Once Dave got the car back, the family did a lot of framework to stiffen the chassis before they installed front and rear suspension components from Total Cost Involved.

"The car had taken a good shot to the front and bent the front suspension," Dave recalls. "It was more of a pain in the neck to repair that than to put in a new suspension." Dave threw the TCI catalog at the car, and he and Cory had the drivetrain slung in it within a matter of days.

Despite having numerous Ford engines available, the drivetrain actually came from another circle track racer who had purchased Dave's asphalt car. It was a crate engine used in a local circle track class, and Dave sent it off to Kinetic Racing Engines, which built all of Dave's previous powerplants. With an engine in the car, Dave and Cory spent two weeks fabricating the headers from a set of small-block Chevy Hooker long-tubes, and a pair of '05 Mustang shorty headers. "The whole process, which included cutting the flanges from 3?8-inch-thick steel plate, took about two weeks to complete, and was an absolute pain in the ass," Dave quips.

After that, time ran out, so Dave enlisted Bryce's Streetrods to finish the build. Bryce's in-turn handed the Mustang off to John May Custom Paint, which smothered the Mustang in its vibrant hue.

"I always wanted to build a car in that [Grabber Orange] color, and I told my dad from the day we started that that was the color," Dave tells us. The Mustang spent four to five months with JMCP before Bryce's Streetrods brought it back for final assembly.

Dave went through three sets of tires before landing on the current set to get the stance and look just right. As for the interior, Dave wanted to bring it up to the same restomod standard as the rest of the car, but his dad wanted to keep the interior stock Mach 1 fare.

In typical racer fashion, Dave isn't quite finished with the Mustang. He's still fine-tuning the combination, and is looking at some bigger brakes as his next change.

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The Details

Dave Neumann's '69 Mustang Mach 1

Engine

  • 358ci small-block built by Kinetic Racing Engines (Westland, MI)
  • Ford Racing Performance Parts (FRPP) Boss 302 cast-iron block
  • 4.074-inch bore
  • 3.44-inch stroke
  • FRPP forged crankshaft and H-beam connecting rods
  • Wiseco forged aluminum pistons
  • Kinetic custom hydraulic roller camshaft
  • Roush aluminum cylinder heads
  • FRPP intake manifold
  • Holley HP 750 carburetor
  • BeCool radiator, Flex-A-Lite electric fan
  • MSD Ignition
  • 575.1 hp at 6,750 rpm, 466.5 lb-ft of torque at 5,500 rpm

Transmission

  • Gearstar C4 three-speed automatic
  • 10-inch 3,500 rpm-stall converter
  • TCI flexplate
  • Custom driveshaft by Bryce's Streetrods (Erie, CO)

Rearend

  • Currie 9-inch
  • Detroit Locker differential
  • Currie 31-spline axles
  • 3.90 gears

Exhaust

  • Owner-modified Hooker long-tube headers, 1-3/4-inch primary tubes, 3-inch collectors
  • High-temp-coated, custom 2-1/2-inch exhaust built by Bryce's Streetrods
  • Hooker Aerochamber mufflers

Suspension

  • Front: Total Cost Involved (TCI) independent front suspension, Bilstein adjustable coilover shocks, antisway bar, ididit power rack-and-pinion steering
  • Rear: TCI torque arm with Panhard bar, Bilstein coilover shocks, antisway bar

Brakes

  • Front: TCI disc, 11-rotors, single-piston calipers
  • Rear: TCI disc, 10-rotors, single-piston calipers

Wheels

  • Front: Coys C-5 aluminum, 18x8
  • Rear: Coys C-5 aluminum, 18x10

Tires

  • Front: BFGoodrich g-Force KDW, P235/50ZR18
  • Rear: BFGoodrich g-Force KDW, P285/40ZR18

Interior

  • Black vinyl upholstery from Colorado Mustang Specialists Inc., Billet Specialties Rival steering wheel, Lokar billet aluminum brake and accelerator pedals

Exterior

  • Omni '08 Mustang Grabber Orange basecoat/clearcoat, paint and bodywork by John May Custom Paint (Thornton, CO), stock Mach 1 shaker hoodscoop, LED taillights