Jim Smart
December 1, 2005

John Da Luz at JMC Motorsports in San Deigo, California, has been building fast cars for 25 years. When Mike Loo brought this '65 Mustang fastback to John for a full-scale restomod build-up, he did so with confidence, knowing JMC Motorsports would exceed his expectations. It did.

A car project like this doesn't happen easily. There are all kinds of challenges along the way that test a car builder's ability to produce an extraordinary automobile. When John was planning Mike's fastback, power and reliability were both on his mind. John believes you cannot have it all. He knows there's a point where horsepower is going to roar past reliability and knock it in the dirt. As a result, he opted to compromise-choosing instead a 331ci stroker small-block that could take a hammering and stay together. He used a 5140-grade steel Scat crankshaft, 4340 H-beam rods, and 4.030-inch JE forged pistons stuffed inside a new Ford 5.0 roller block.

To hold it all together, John fitted the bottom end with a stud girdle, ARP fasteners, and race bearings. To make the 472 dyno-proven horsepower, John opted for a Comp Cams hydraulic roller camshaft with an extraordinary amount of lift and duration. One-piece, chromoly pushrods were the only choice in John's mind. On top, he fitted the short-block with AFR 185 aluminum cylinder heads with 2.02/1.60-inch valves for good measure. Where a lot of folks might have opted for a carbureted induction system, John and Mike chose electronic fuel injection-topping the engine with a Trick Flow Track Heat upper and lower intake manifold. The 42 lb/hr injectors get their fuel from an Aeromotive A1000 electric fuel pump.

The real news isn't the slick induction system with its 80mm throttle body, nor the hot roller camshaft with its aggressive profile. It's the Vortech S-Trim supercharger pullied for 10 pounds of boost. This gets it to nearly 500 hp. Exhaust scavenging happens thanks to JBA ceramic-coated shorty headers, Flowmaster mufflers, and 2.5-inch plumbing. A Fuel Safe 22-gallon fuel cell stores the go-juice.

Because these gentlemen wanted the car to be as extraordinary to drive, as it was awe-inspiring to see, they went with Tremec's T-56 six-speed transmission shifted via a JMC Motorsports dual-friction clutch and hydraulic clutch kit. Inside, the bellhousing is a McLeod steel billet flywheel. Currie Enterprises provided the 9-inch rearend with 31-spline axles and a DPI Gold Trac differential with 3.70 gears.

When you are managing nearly 500 ponies at the rear wheels, suspension, handling, and braking become more important than ever. Total Control came to the rescue with a coilover front suspension, power rack-and-pinion steering, subframe connectors, shock tower braces, and more. Big JMC Motorsports 13-inch front disc brakes, chased by huge 12-inch guys in the rear, keep the power manageable and safe. JMC Motorsports dual master cylinders provide the pressure. John fitted the chassis with stainless steel brake and fuel lines as a finishing touch.

When you sit behind the LeCarra wheel, it's hard not to notice the Sparco Torino front bucket seats wrapped in competition lap belts and harnesses. The instrumentation from JME Enterprises adds a touch of class and function to the utilitarian Mustang interior. John tells us one of the greatest challenges was getting the T-56 gearbox to fit inside the transmission tunnel. Because there isn't a crossmember in the marketplace designed to support a T-56 in a classic Mustang, John had to fabricate a crossmember himself.

Over the time span of 15 months, JMC Motorsports, with imagination and vision, built Mike Loo a winner. When John began this restomod project, he never lost sight of that vision. when you consider the pulse-quickening nature of this fastback, you can see it is a vision that became a reality.