One super unique car stole the spotlight under the bright florescent lights of SEMA last year, a mixture of modern muscle and vintage flavor, the Mach 40. Surrounded by people at all times, it was a task to snap some decent photos of the vehicle without somebody stepping into the shot – understandable considering that this was indeed a one-of-a-kind car that demanded the utmost attention. Folks just couldn’t help but get up close and personal with a rear glass showcasing the shiny GT40 mid-engine.
It started life as your run-of-the-mill classic '69 Mach 1, but was destined for much bigger things. Retired engineer Terry Lipscomb envisioned how the classic Mach 1 might look if it was combined with a 2006 GT40 supercar, hence the name Mach 40. He then decided to enlist the help of Mike Miernik (MiernikDesign.com) to help him bring his ideas to paper. Mike decided to retain the Mach 1 theme, but use the basic proportions of a GT40.
Many folks might not understand the amount of work, detail, brainstorming and elbow grease that goes into such a project. A detailed project of this caliber takes dedication and a ton of elbow grease. The idea was to mash a modern powerful powertrain into the Mustang body but still keep true to the old-school Mach 1 styling.
Starting with concept sketches, he widened the body two inches on each side and lowered the roof about two inches and the top about ten inches. From the original Mach 1, the roof section, door frames, doors, and front rear glass remain unchanged.
During the design process different vents, intakes, and quarter-window shapes were bounced around and eventually they zeroed in on a GT40-inspired design that kept that original Mach 1 essence.
It was now time to turn to Eckert’s Rod & Custom shop (EckertsRodandCustom.com) and Hardison Metal Shaping (HardisonMetalShaping.com) based in Molalla, Oregon to turn a tiny piece of paper into an incredible piece of machinery. Over the course of three years, the real ’69 Mustang SportsRoof started to transform into something unique yet amazing.
The GT40 got its name from the FIA-mandated minimum height of 40 inches. After dropping the roof a bit and installing the windshield into the cowl, the Mach 40 stands at just a hair over 43-inches tall. Close enough, right?
What’s powering this beast? Well, you guessed it. It’s a 2006 Ford GT 5.4-liter dry sump motor mated to a 4.0L Whipple supercharger, which has been converted to a flex-fuel system. The base horsepower can be dialed in from a range of 600 to 850 horses. It also includes auto and manual traction control.
The transaxle is an ’06 Ford GT Richardo unit with cable shifter. Suspension components are devised from an ’06 Corvette with coilover shocks in the front and rear, and custom billet control arms in the rear.
The wheels of choice for the car are custom based on the ’69 GT 500 Magnum wheels with 18-inch front and 19-inch rear rollers. The interior is made up of handmade custom aluminum and carbon fiber composite panels. Mach 1 seats with Italian leather and stainless steel details grace the interior.
Between the vision of Lipscomb, the rendering by Mike Miernik, or the sheetmetal work by Colton Hardison and the crew at Eckert’s Rod & Custom, the lines were smooth from every angle. The car still resembles a Mustang in every way but with a much lower, wider, meaner stance.
While some may deem this Mustang a trailer queen, it was far from it. When Hot Rod paid a visit to this Mustang, it was out driving around in the Pacific Northwest elements. With most precious cars locked up in garages waiting out the elements, this car is driven. Dave Eckert has built a number of cars and they are driven, as they should.
Hard work barely goes unnoticed, and at last year's SEMA show, the creator of Gran Turismo Kaxunori Yamauchi noticed the flawlessness of such a selected the Mach 40 as best of show. That means that this car will get to play forever in an upcoming simulation game.
Rendering photo courtesy of Mike Miernik.