Jerry Heasley
July 29, 2004

Step By Step

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Mump_0407_8z 1966_Ford_Mustang_Terlingua_Edition Front_Passenger_SideMump_0407_10z 1966_Ford_Mustang_Terlingua_Edition EngineMump_0407_11z 1966_Ford_Mustang_Terlingua_Edition InteriorMump_0407_12z 1966_Ford_Mustang_Terlingua_Edition TrunkMump_0407_7z 1966_Ford_Mustang_Terlingua_Edition Passenger_Side
The principles behind the Terlingua Mustang. Kneeling: Randy Gibson. Standing, left to right: Kevin Lynam, Kenny Northum, Bill Neale, and Dick Meditz.

What highly collectable vintage Mustang hasn't been cloned? If you answered the '66 Trans-Am notchback, you are wrong.

Dallas Mustang has entered the market with, if not a clone, a modern-day "retro-mod" of Shelby's famous Terlingua race car.

To refresh your memory, for 1965, Shelby built his GT350 Competition, a fastback commissioned to steamroll the competition in SCCA B-production road racing. That it did and continued to do in 1966, 1967, and for the rest of the decade.

Meanwhile, the hot, new series for showcasing ponycars was the infant Trans-Am, first run in 1966. In reality, the Mustang coupes were Shelbys, but they were not branded as such or offered to the public. They were purely race cars.

Shelby's Trans-Am racing team was called Terlingua Racing, named after a ghost town near the Mexican border in west Texas. At one time, Shelby and his cohorts were going to build a boys' school there. Bill Neale, Shelby's longtime buddy and automotive artist, drew the Terlingua logo, with a jack rabbit at the center, which Shelby used on the race cars. Neale had the foresight to trademark the emblem.

Drawing from the history of Terlingua Racing, Dallas Mustang recognized the potential for a new Terlingua Mustang. First, coupes are much easier to find than fastbacks and convertibles, so why not put together Terlingua Trans-Am-style Mustangs?

The idea took root several years ago with the creation of SCAT, an abbreviation for Shelby Cobra Association of Texas. Dallas Mustang's Dick Meditz and Neale are members, both are from Dallas, and both are into vintage racing. The Terlingua logo became the club logo.

Dick envisioned building a retro racer in his shop at Dallas Mustang and offering it to the public. When Kevin Lynam joined the Dallas Mustang team last year, he convinced Dick and co-owner Randy Gibson of the viability of such a project. Along with the series-produced car, named

Terlingua, Dallas Mustang could market Terlingua "branded parts," like the brakes, suspension components, and rack-and-pinion steering, tentatively named the "Rabbit Rack."

The car on these pages, built by Kenny Northum at Dallas Mustang, is the first of the Terlingua Mustang series. The feature that jumps out is the modified R-model front-end valance. Neale, the artist on the project, said, "It pretty well dictated the design of the yellow stripe coming down and then circling the bottom part of that opening." It's slightly modified from the original Shelby R-model front end and everybody seems to like it. Apparently, it will become a Terlingua-branded part.

For power, Dallas Mustang chose Ford Racing's 347 stroker with an advertised 450 hp and 400 lb-ft of torque. Behind the carbureted small-block is a World Class T5 that spins a set of 3.70:1 gears in a Ford 9-inch differential. It's old-school technology, but reliable and user-friendly, meaning no computer boxes to worry about.

Basically, you fire up the 347, put the T5 in First gear, and burn rubber. The Terlingua looks to be one of those builds drivers will like both on public roads and private tracks.

Check out the specification chart for more particulars, such as the shock-tower bracing, override traction bars (another Dallas Mustang design), and more.

{{{Ford}}} Racing 450hp long-block
Holley 750 double-pumper carburetor
MSD electronic ignition
March serpentine pulley and belt system
GT350 R-Model valve covers
Aluminum Cobra "T" oil pan
Ford Racing bellhousing/scattershield
Ford Racing aluminum flywheel
Ford Racing King Cobra clutch
Ford Racing World Class T5 transmission
Aluminum driveshaft
Currie 9-inch rearend with 3.70 gears and 31-spline axles
Suspension and Brakes
Pro Motorsports upper-control-arm negative wedge kit
Custom-boxed upper and lower control arms
Adjustable strut rods
Koni adjustable shocks
Factory-style export brace
Pro Motorsports progressive-rate coil springs
Roller spring saddles
Pro Motorsports mid-eye rear leaf springs with super shackles
Matched front and rear racing sway bars
Override torque arms
Stainless Steel Brakes custom-designed four-wheel disc-braking system
Front unibody torque box
Flaming River rack-and-pinion steering
Custom-flared vintage road-race fenders and quarter-panels
Frenched quarter extensions
NASCAR aero-type driprail (delete option)
Special-designed Terlingua front racing apron
Factory {{{GT}}} fog lights
Bill Neale-designed graphics package
Shelby bullet outside rearview mirrors
Race trunk-lid pin and gas-cap delete
Shelby racing hood pins
Color-matched rear bumper
All steel construction, per 1966 SCCA Group II Rules
JBA headers
Dr. Gas side-exhaust system
'65 GT350 R-Model instrument panel
ProCar SCAT front racing seats with Terlingua logo
Matching rear seats
Matching door panels with Terlingua logo
Ken Harrison AM/FM stereo system
Old Air Products indash A/C and heating combo
Flaming River tilt steering column
Four-Point rollbar
Fuel Safe 22-gallon Pro fuel cell
Monza pop-open gas cap with dog bowl
Vintage Wheel Works 17-inch Vintage 45 wheels

Of the ancillary items available, perhaps air conditioning is the most welcome and the least expected. A/C in a race car, you ask? You betcha. Keeping the driver comfortable is one of the best investments for performance.

Customers can order the car, as seen here, or the branded parts to assemble their own from Dallas Mustang Parts' new Retro-Mod series. The DMP staff is even talking about customers sending classic Mustang coupes to build into Terlingua cars. Each will carry an ID plate pop-riveted atop the Ford VIN on the driver-side inner fender panel.

First, we have Terlingua 1966. What's next? Stay tuned.