Donald Farr
Former Editor, Mustang Monthly
February 21, 2012
Photos By: Jerry Heasley

You knew it was going to happen sooner or later. With the Mustang’s new 412hp Coyote 5.0L engine now available as a crate engine from Ford Racing, it’s only natural that the hot-rodders among us would seize the opportunity to drop the best Mustang engine ever into classic Mustangs. And we’re not surprised that our friends at Gateway Classic Mustang, where Mustang hot-rodding is a way of life, are taking the concept to the next level by creating a kit to make it easier for anyone to update older Mustangs to Ford’s latest high-tech powerplant.

“We want to be the place for 5.0L conversions,” admits Gateway’s Jason Childress. “GM Performance Parts makes it easy for vintage Camaro owners to install a modern LS small-block, so we want to make it simple to drop a new 5.0L into ‘65-’70 Mustangs.”

Ford Racing’s 5.0L crate engine, offered as part number M-6007-M50, is the same 412hp powerplant found in the ’11-’12 Mustang GT. With 32 valves and variable camshaft timing, the all-aluminum powerplant packs Ford’s latest performance technology into a lightweight package that’s perfect for vintage engine swaps, offering high-revving power and sexy looks under the hood. Ford Racing also offers a wiring, PCM, and installation kit, part number M-6017-A504V, to streamline the installation into earlier vehicles, whether it’s a street rod, Cobra kit car, or 1960s muscle car like the Mustang. Thanks to the computer’s integration into the ’11-’12 Mustang, you can’t just pluck a 5.0L and its computer out of a wrecked Mustang GT and plop it into another vehicle. Well, you can, but the engine won’t run. So Ford Racing’s PCM eliminates the vehicle integration features, like ABS and key recognition, to allow the Coyote 5.0L to operate in vehicles other than a new Mustang GT.

Even with the Ford Racing installation kit, there’s still plenty of adaptation required to fit the modern powerplant and its accessories into a vintage Mustang. That’s where Gateway Classic Mustang enters the picture. Their 5.0L swap kit, which includes the Ford Racing crate engine and PCM installation kit, adds notched shock towers, Gateway Performance Suspension (GPS) strut kit, engine mounting system, power steering pump, A/C lines, custom front sump Canton oil pan, radiator, and custom Dynatech headers. Gateway also includes its own cold-air intake because the ’11-’12 Mustang induction system, as supplied with the crate engine, does not fit in the vintage Mustang engine compartment. Gateway worked with Shelby American to create an optimum engine tune for the cold-air.

But we’re getting ahead of the story. The saga of this ’69 SportsRoof began when approached Hot Rod TV about putting together a video to document the restoration and build of a vintage restomod, then offer it for sale on the website. Producer Bud Brutsman contacted Gateway’s Jason and Lonny Childress, who related their idea about putting a modern Coyote 5.0L engine into an older Mustang.

Gateway purchased the ’69 SportsRoof from a customer, then stripped it down to the bare body for a complete sheetmetal restoration before beginning the transformation into a Mustang restomod with a modern powerplant. In the engine compartment, the factory shock towers were replaced by Dynacorn’s notched shock towers, which provide clearance for the wide 5.0L Coyote engine while also maintaining the factory structural integrity. At the rear, the wheelwell housings were “mini-tubbed” by adding 1-inch to each side to accommodate the planned meaty P335/30R18 rear tires.

With the notched shock towers providing clearance, the Coyote 5.0L drops right into the vintage Mustang engine compartment using Gateway’s frame mounting system that adapts the 5.0L’s engine mounts to the Mustang chassis. A Quicktime bellhousing connects the Keisler RS500 5-speed manual transmission to the engine, while a stout 9-inch rearend from The 9-Inch Factory transfers the 412hp to the ground through 3.50 gears in a Tru-Trac limited-slip differential.