Jerry Heasley
March 23, 2011

In our April 2010 issue, we reported on the Shelby GT500CS, a new Mustang customized to resemble the '69 GT500. The red fastback was so impressive that we put it on our cover. Carroll Shelby liked the idea too; he licensed the creator, Retrobuilt, a private company in Nixa, Missouri, to put the car into production with his blessing, including insertion into the Shelby World Registry. Shelby American added the "CS" to differentiate the car from the original.

What we didn't tell you is that Retrobuilt was already transforming another S197 Mustang into a modern facsimile of a '69 Mach 1.

"Is this an old car or a new car?" we asked Clinton White, who owns Retrobuilt with his son, Clinton White II.

"It's a new old car," White laughed.

A new car with old styling might be more descriptive since underneath the jazzed up body is an '05 or later Mustang. This particular Grabber Blue fastback is a '10 model.

From a distance, you may have trouble convincing your eyeballs that the fastback is not a vintage '69 model. However, the S197 Mustang chassis is three to four inches wider, so Retrobuilt helps the illusion with trick changes, such as the front bumper. They start with an original '69 bumper and add two inches to each side. The rear Sport Slats are off-the-shelf for the S197, but Retrobuilt must modify the mounting hardware to fit the modified late-model body. After all, the biggest part of the job is customizing the new Mustang to look vintage. This job involves unbolting the front clip, bumper cover, and rear decklid, and hanging quarters and door shells. The hood, front fenders, doors, quarters, and rear decklid are fiberglass. When the cars are finished, about the only original piece left is the roof.

Factory '69 Mustang components are limited to the headlight buckets, side marker lights, and chrome door handles. The rear spoiler is a modified '69 unit, cut and widened for fit. The pedestal mounts are vintage '69.

Overall, the resemblance to a '69 Mach 1 is striking.

Inside, Retrobuilt ordered a deluxe interior with the vertical inserts in the seats and foot well lighting. Retrobuilt didn't think any changes were necessary to the interior, which Clinton describes as "pretty fancy to start with."

Shelby American gave Retrobuilt a license for the GT500CS. At present, Retrobuilt is negotiating with Ford to produce the Mach 1 and a Boss 302 (see "A Boss Too" sidebar). For now, Retrobuilt advertises and sells the cars under the "Retro GT" name. It's up to the customer, if he so desires, to add the Mach 1 or Boss 302 stripes. Marion Stevens owns this Mach 1 and the Boss 302 in the sidebar. He customized them into the '69 Mach 1 and Boss.

Although this '10 Mach 1 is powered by the 4.6L V-8 with the five-speed manual transmission, Retrobuilt can start with an '11 GT with the 5.0-liter Coyote engine, making it perfect for a Boss 302. The Mach 1 and Boss 302 both have Shaker hoodscoops from Classic Design Concepts, although customers can request a flat hood or even a large Boss 429 scoop.

For more information, including pricing, go to Retrobuilt's website at

Photo Gallery

View Photo Gallery

GT500CS Convertible

We revealed the Shelby GT500CS In our April 2010 issue. Since then, Retrobuilt has added the convertible to the lineup. We snapped a photo of this car in Nevada after the SEMA Show last November. Like the GT500CS fastback, it's a licensed product of Shelby American. A rollbar is part of the convertible package, just like '69.

A Boss Too

When we photographed Retrobuilt's Mach 1 at last June's Mid-America Ford and Team Shelby Nationals in Tulsa, Oklahoma, Clinton White told us that the company was also working on a Boss 302 version. They finished it just in time for the SEMA Show last November. Retrobuilt's Boss 302 arrival coincided with Ford's own revival of the same classic for '12, except Ford did not go completely retro, thus no rear louvers or spoiler. Of course, Retrobuilt's goal was to recreate the look of both the original Mach 1 and Boss 302.

The front end of the Retrobuilt Boss 302 appears wider than '69, with a front chin spoiler per the original '69 Boss 302. Likewise, the headlight buckets are blacked out. However, a concession is the simulated scoops in the tops of the rear quarters, which were eliminated on the '69 Boss 302.