It's not uncommon for aftermarket manufacturers to purchase a vehicle to use as the research and development mule upon which its line of parts is fabricated off of. What is uncommon is for the car to become an award winner, in particular, one that passes the scrutinizing of Ford's finest and is bestowed the Ford Outstanding Achievement in Design Best of Show award. That's exactly what Matt Lazich's '69 Mustang achieved at the 2010 SEMA show.
Anvil Auto has been in the composite body part business for some time and was looking to venture into the Ford market a few years ago.
"We wanted to really make it known that we were doing Ford stuff in addition to the GM products we make," notes Anvil's Matt Lazich. "We worked on a Firebird project the year before with a guy who was friends with Steve Strope at Pure Vision. He told me that Steve had a '66 Mustang that he was looking to sell, as the previous owner bailed out of the project. I wasn't into that body style, and always liked the '69-'70 style, as it was the beefiest and baddest looking Mustang in my mind." There would be no secretary cars for Anvil Auto, and Matt and Steve both agreed that the Eleanor Mustang of recent times had pretty much worn out the '67-'68 body style as well. They wagered that the '69-'70 model would be the next hot model.
The search for said Mustang began and the first path led them to Mustangs Plus in Northern California, which had a couple of body shells for sale. Matt and Steve agreed that they would be better off finding a whole car, and Steve ended up finding the perfect candidate right in his Simi Valley backyard. Located via eBay, the Mustang was clean and complete. There was a bit of rust on the bottoms of the doors, and the driver-side quarter had been in a minor altercation, but it was otherwise a workable, running and driving car.
Matt, who holds an industrial design degree, began experimenting with model kits to get some ideas on hoods, scoops, and more. Steve called up Tavis Highlander of Highlander Concept Rendering, and the three of them got to work sorting out many of the details of the overall look of the car.
"Steve's builds often have a European style, and he's big into the '60-era race cars," says Matt. "I never liked the ironing board shape on the factory hood, so we cut that part out of the stock hood." From there, Matt raised the center over a wider section of the hood, and while it looked good, it was a bit plain. To add some aggressive appeal, they looked to the Aston Martin DBS, and incorporated its heat extractors. Underneath the heat extractor carbon-fiber hood, Steve wanted to get rid of the inboard lights, but Matt felt that they were part of the essence and look of the '69 Mustang, and proposed moving them behind the grille so they could be seen from the front. Two factory grilles were sacrificed to build one, using the egg crate from a second to fill in where the lights originally were. The lights were then placed behind the grille.
Moving past the carbon-fiber front fenders (they're 11⁄8-inch wider than stock), the doors are still original steel, but Matt passed the idea of widening the rear quarter by Steve.
"It's the one thing I really pushed styling wise, and it ended up turning out really well," says Matt. Steve was apprehensive about the idea at first for a number of reasons, and frankly who wouldn't be. We've all seen wheel flares come out bad at some point.
"Time and workload was a big issue as we were trying to get the car done in time for SEMA," says Steve. In the end, the Pure Vision staff made it happen by cutting the stock fenders at the outermost edge, cutting a new quarter-panel 1½ inches in from the edge, and then welding it to the factory edge right above the top of the rear wheel. From there, pie cuts were made toward the front and back, to bow the fender around the wheel and have the ends meet the quarter-panel extension and doorjamb at the factory locations.
The faux rear factory quarter-panel scoops are now functional and feed fresh air to the rear brakes. The original insert was turned into a frame that holds a mesh screen—tubes were bonded to the original base and are connected to high-temp hose that passes behind the interior side panels, under the rear seat delete panel, through welded pass-through tubing in the floorpan and out to custom brackets mounted to the rear axle.
At the back of the car, Matt opted for a slightly different approach to the rear spoiler.
"The Mach 1 wing is kind of cool, but I liked the ducktail spoilers from that era, too" Matt says. "From an aftermarket component standpoint, it made sense to make one that anyone could bolt on and that's what we did." Matt also reshaped the rear bumper cover out of surfboard foam to his liking, and the taillights were next on the modification list. Feeling that the '69-'70 lights were simply too big and bulky, the idea to integrate the lights from the '67-'68-model Mustangs was put into motion. Between them, the filler panel was opened up in a bid to aid aerodynamics, and no doubt add another element of style and personality to the rear end. Centered between the PIAA reverse lights, which are mounted behind the mesh grille, the Mustang's gas cap started off as a reproduction of the original, but the running pony icon was removed. The Anvil Auto icon was created in the same fashion and put in the pony's place behind polished acrylic.
All of this heavy lifting in bodywork is complemented by a host of smaller, and detail-oriented changes. The factory turn signal buckets were transformed into fresh air inlets for the front brake cooling ducts, and handmade screens and frames were fabricated for the inlets. The turn signals are frenched in '66 Corvette turn signals, and the hoodpins are actually custom push-button pieces designed to resemble factory Mustang pins. Steve also reduced weight by drilling out the factory door handles, hood hinges, wiper arms, and shifter lever while at the same time, adding a subtle, yet racy element of style. What components weren't fabricated from scratch or didn't come from the car were sourced from Year One, though we suspect many of them have been modified as well.
After hundreds of man-hours were spent designing, fabricating, altering, modifying, and getting the body and all of its features just right, it was finally time to choose a color for the exterior. Not wanting to go with a flashy candy color, Matt also shot down the idea of shooting it black, as many people go for the menacing color. Steve proposed the idea of a simple white.
"I was reluctant on the color at first" notes Matt. "It had to be a neat white, and we ended up using Alaska White from the Range Rover." The shade is just a hair off of bright, offering just enough of a custom look. For the interior, Steve liked the chocolate brown that the Astons used, but Matt wasn't crazy about the idea. Going back to the European lineage, the duo agreed on a sophisticated red. "We later realized the combination was more or less a factory combination," quips Matt. Mick's Paint, which operates out of the SoCal Speed Shop in Pomona, California, was entrusted to paint the Mustang.
The last unique item on the exterior was something that can make or break a car, and that was the wheel design. Keeping with the '60s racing theme, Steve looked to the '69 Gurney Eagle IndyCar, and patterned the wheels after the multi-spoke design, as well as making sure that they cleared the mammoth six-piston calipers and 14-inch rotors.
As you might imagine, the interior is equally stunning in its customization and execution of design. Eric Thorsen Custom Upholstery in Agora Hills, California, handled most of the work, including covering a pair of Corbeau GTII seats in the rich leather upholstery.
The factory radio, ashtray, and heater control were removed to make way for a new switch panel and cell phone storage area with 12V power port. The dashpad was then modified to accept the custom Redline Gauge Works instrumentation. Pure Vision also went ahead and changed the inner door handles and mechanisms to midyear Corvette, pull-style pieces, and the custom door panels, which resemble the early Pony-style interior, wear door pull straps that were fabricated from aluminum and then wrapped in leather. While the window cranks may look like the originals, the arms and base are machined from aluminum by White Rhino.
Aside from the glaringly in your face, yet removable, down bar, you can't really see all of the integrated rollcage structure, and that's part of the design. Behind the rollbar, the Pure Vision team widened the interior side panels to accommodate the larger wheeltubs (which house a 345mm tire!), and a Shelby-style rear seat delete was fabricated around and proudly displays the Maier cantilever rear suspension.
With such an extraordinary amount of detail built into the body and interior of this Sportsroof Mustang, the average ho-hum crate engine just wouldn't suffice. To that end, Steve called up Jon Kaase Racing Engines for one of its Boss 9 powerplants. Configurable in a number of different ways, the Boss 9 utilizes a number of Kaase's own Boss components such as the cylinder heads and intake manifold. This particular Boss 9 measures in at 520ci, and is based off of a Kaase aluminum block, heads, and intake manifold. The relatively mild cam profile was chosen to make it extremely streetable, while offering up around 800 hp at the crank.
With most Boss 429 and Boss 9 engines, the spark plug wires sprout from the valve covers and merge at the distributor, but that wasn't clean enough for Steve. To solve that issue, a crank trigger ignition was wired into the Electromotive fuel injection system—that got rid of the distributor. A set of modified 426 Hemi spark plug wire ends were then utilized—they make an immediate 90-degree bend and then are routed below the valve cover and back through the firewall where they meet up with the Electromotive coil packs. The result is a clean look that allows one to focus on the massive valve covers and the immediately recognizable air cleaner, which is ducted into the cowl area for a fresh air source.
To get the engine into the chassis where Steve wanted it, the firewall was moved back 3 1⁄3 inches from stock. This improved weight balance and handling. Utilizing Burns stainless steel tubing, Resurrections By Mike fabricated the headers, which are then routed into 4½-inch oval tubes that have been welded into the rocker panels—the exhaust exit comes out the rocker right behind the door.
We've only covered maybe 75 percent of the car's intricate details at this point, and since we'd like to keep the pictures nice and big for our readers, we recommend that you check out www.anvilmustang.com for more pictures and even video of the car going together.
As we previously mentioned, the Mustang was a big hit at the 2010 SEMA show in Las Vegas, and Matt and Steve made the right call on the '69-'70 body style, as there were a number of those Mustangs customized for the 2010 show. Matt's Mustang was also in the Top 5 for Street Machine of the Year at the 2010 GoodGuys PPG Nationals in Columbus, Ohio.
For Anvil Auto, it's the perfect rolling advertisement for its Ford-related carbon-fiber and fiberglass components. One of the goals of this build was to provide a number of Mustang parts for the Anvil catalog. With Matt and Steve roughing in the designs and shapes, and the Pure Vision staff fine-tuning each piece, there are now a significant number of components available to the Mustang enthusiast. Currently, Anvil offers the hood, front spoiler, rear spoiler, factory hoodscoop and passenger-side dashcove panel (not on the Anvil Mustang), front fenders, instrument panel, rear bumper, decklid, and quarter extensions are all available in fiberglass, paint grade fiberglass/carbon, and then full-on dry carbon fiber. Matt tells us that the '65-'68 Mustang parts should be available mid-2012. Then you can build your own carbon-fiber colt.
Matt Lazich's '69 Mustang SportsRoof
- 520ci Boss 9 built by Jon Kaase Racing
- CNC Aluminum block and heads
- 4.390-inch bore
- 4.300-inch stroke
- Scat forged Steel crank
- Scat H-beam forged steel
- 9.8:1 compression ratio
- Diamond forged aluminum pistons
- Comp Cams hydraulic roller 246/254-degree duration at 0.050, 0.607/0.607-inch lift on a 110 LSA, Comp retro-fit roller lifters
- Kaase single-plane Boss 9 intake manifold modified for fuel injection by Wilson Manifolds
- Kaase Boss 9 aluminum cylinder heads, 2.300-inch intake, 1.900-inch exhaust valves, WW Engineering rocker arms
- Electromotive Engine Management tuned by Tom Nelson of Nelson Racing Engines
- Custom external oiling system by Aviaid
- Fabricated remote oil filter mount
- Modified air cleaner with functional cowl induction cold air system
- 805 hp
- Custom stainless steel headers and exhaust system by Resurrection by Mike
- Spin Tech 3-inch stainless mufflers
- Modern Driveline-prepared Tremec TKO 600 five-speed manual
- Quick Time billet steel bellhousing, Kevlar clutch, custom aluminum driveshaft by Coast Driveline and Gear
- Transmission crossmember fabricated to resemble the V-shaped crossbrace of the Maier rear suspension
- JME subframe connectors modified to blend in with the rear frame modifications then fully welded to floorpans
- Fabricated and integrated tie-down strap hooks into front suspension cradle and rear axle housing
- Speedway Engineering prepared Ford 9-inch Grand National rear axle housing with full floater hubs and axles
- Front: JME Enterprises all aluminum cradle with F1-style, pushrod activated, in-board cantilever, coilover configuration, JME Enterprises all aluminum upper and lower A-arms and spindles, Flaming River adjustable electric power rack and pinion steering, JRI coilover shocks, Hyperco coil springs custom powdercoated to match interior color
- Rear: Maier F1-style, pushrod activated, in-board cantilever, coilover configuration, Maier torque arm with inverted Watt's link system modified by Pure Vision, JRI coilover shocks, Hyperco coil springs custom powdercoated to match interior color
- Front: Evod Industries custom billet, 18x9.5
- Rear: Evod Industries custom billet, 19x12
- Front: Michelin Pilot Sport II, P275/35ZR18
- Rear: Michelin Pilot Sport II, P345/30ZR19
- Front: Baer disc, custom powdercoated 6S six-piston calipers, 14-inch rotors
- Rear: Baer disc, custom powdercoated 6S six-piston calipers, 14-inch rotors
- Interior-Eric Thorsen Custom Upholstery; Redline Gauge Works instruments; Wilwood pedals; Momo steering wheel; Crow seatbelts; Fox Mustang map light; Soft LED courtesy lights in sail panels, roof rail, and underdash; Corbeau GTII seats; switch panel and cell phone storage area with 12V power port; midyear Corvette pull-style door levers; custom door panels; fabricated aluminum door pull straps wrapped in leather; stock-appearing billet aluminum window cranks by White Rhino; integrated rollcage; widened interior side panels; Shelby-style rear seat delete
- Delta Tech headlights, custom heat extractor carbon-fiber hood, carbon-fiber front fenders, widened rear quarters, functional rear quarter-panel scoops/brake ducts, custom carbon-fiber rear spoiler, '68 Mustang taillights, vented rear filler panel, custom Anvil Auto gas cap, functional front brake ducts, frenched turn signal lamps, custom push-button hoodpins, carbon-fiber rear bumper, quarter-panel extensions and front spoiler