In our February 2009 issue (pg. 30, "Time Warped"), we introduced you to Classic Design Concepts' Flashback, a sublime fusion of 1960s style and new-century know-how that won us over with its aggressive, yet civilized, persona, not to mention its thoroughly modern reliability. Oh, and the fact that it had 605 hp didn't hurt. It seems we weren't the only ones impressed by what CDC's gearhead gurus had accomplished, as it wasn't long before CDC boss and chief social director, George Huisman, was contacted by a European businessman with an interesting proposal. Paris-based Bassam Abdallah is a successful industrialist and world-class Mustang fanatic whose idea was to build a unique version of the Flashback for the untapped European and Middle East markets; as we know, the love for the Mustang is world wide. George was receptive to the plan, and what we have here is the intercontinental project's prototype and show car--the Equus Tom 1.
"Equus" is Latin for horse, while the "Tom 1" refers to the fact that this is the very first of the series and that automotive designer, Tom Tjaarda, had a hand in some of its styling details. American-born Tjaarda--whose career has included time at major Italian design houses, Pininfarina and Ghia--is perhaps most recognized in Ford circles for penning the De Tomaso Pantera's aggressive shape during his time with Ghia. With CDC having engineered and assembled our Go Mango Metallic prototype, the business plan calls for the production Equus to be built in India for efficient access to its intended markets.
That being the case, Equus Automotive set in place a plan for an exotic two-week promotional tour across the Republic of India, involving the Tom 1 prototype and nine other Mustangs from Bassam's personal collection. More than just a random cruise, this carefully scripted equine caravan started off in Bollywood (India's Hollywood), was shadowed by a full film crew, and accompanied by a number of stars of India's burgeoning movie industry; the idea being to create one dazzler of a promotional film for the Equus project. While scheduling conflicts kept us from accepting an invitation to join in on this once-in-a-lifetime cultural experience and road trip, Rob Kinnan, editor of one of our sister publications, Hot Rod, did make the January 2009 journey and filed daily reports that can be found at www.hotrod.com under Event Coverage.
There you'll see that it's maybe a good thing we shot and drove the Tom 1 in Florida before it went overseas, 'cause the 2,000-kilometer "Maharajah of the Road" (`maharajah' translates to `king') tour route reportedly traversed some terrain that may have been more fit for pack animals than thoroughbreds. Still, the Equus made it through, showing that it's made of hardy stuff.
We've included an extra-detailed "The Details" sidebar setting out exactly what stuff it's made of, but the basic mechanical formula of the Equus follows that of the Flashback. It begins as a '67-style Dynacorn unibody shell--one that receives specific shock-tower mods to enable insertion of a broad-shouldered S197 GT500 5.4L DOHC crate engine from Ford Racing. A six-speed manual is once again downstream, but this time it's a Tremec TR-6060 (as found under the current Shelby), rather than the T56 used in the original Flashback. Like the Flashback, the suspension and brakes are all ultra-modern hardware from RRS of Australia, though the Equus prototype wears a rather distinctive set of 18-inch rims carved out by Electri-Cal Machining.