This year's Modified Mustangs & Fords car of the year contest was stacked full of high-dollar one-off builds, hot at-home customs, and top-notch street machines. Just when we thought it was tough to choose during our inaugural contest last year, we tripled the difficulty this year with no less than three cars from Ringbrothers, a Ridler-Award-winning '56 Sunliner and a Ford Outstanding Achievement in Design award winner. Two of our finalists here competed for Goodguys Street Machine of the Year, so you know they get driven pretty hard for that, and the car rounding out our trio of finalists is probably the fastest Mustang we'll likely see in the running for the prize.
National Parts Depot is back to provide our winners with a bevvy of gift certificates, and our parent company, Source Interlink Media, will send our finalists their own custom laminated plaque to commemorate their inclusion in Modified Mustangs & Fords Car Of The Year contest.
1969 Mustang Sportsroof
Whereas last year's winner was over-the-top bold and heavily modified, Matt Lazich's '69 Mustang built by Pure Vision is a model for understated elegance. There's no lack of modifications to this Anvil Auto project, it's just that Steve Strope and Matt Lazich expended great effort to make sure that they sharpened and accentuated the car, rather than redefine it. That's really what struck a chord with Ford's judges at the 2010 SEMA show, and with us as well.
The list of modifications to the car is simply too vast to recap here, but the amazing thing about the Mustang is that it looks like a factory race package that the average enthusiast could open track on one weekend, and take to the car show the next. Big-block power, a race-bred suspension, and an appearance inside and out that rivals the finest European luxury brands simply puts this SportsRoof in a league of its own.
520ci Boss 9 built by John Kaase Racing Engines
Electromotive EFI tuned by Nelson Racing
Tremec TKO-600 five-speed manual transmission
Speedway Engineering Grand National 9-inch full-floater rearend
JME inboard cantilever coilover front and rear suspension with Maier torque arm and inverted Watt's link
Gurney Eagle-inspired Evod Industries custom billet wheels with Michelin Pilot Sport II tires
Baer 6S disc brakes
Fully customized interior with Eric Thorsen upholstery, rear seat delete, and integrated rollcage
Fully customized exterior with Anvil Auto carbon-fiber hood, front fenders, front and rear spoilers, vented taillight panel, and widened rear fenders
First Runner Up
1966 Mustang Coupe
The unlikely horse in this race, Chris Lancaster's drag-oriented Mustang coupe represents the best of at-home fabrication, design, and execution of purpose. The '66 Mustang was fitted with a turbocharged Modular Ford powerplant—the former is a departure for the late-model enthusiast, while the latter is something Chris has familiarized himself with through his last three Fox-body-based builds.
While there are a number of compromises in design to make it legal to run the low-8-second quarter-mile elapsed times that it does, the basic body is still factory Ford, albeit turned up to 11 on the temperature dial. Remarkably, after you crawl around the Funny Car-style rollcage, the car is very tractable to drive on the street, which is essential for the NMRA True Street class which it was designed to run in.
4.6L DOHC Modular engine built by Panhandle Performance
Owner-fabricated single turbo system with Precision Turbo & Engine 88mm turbocharger
Big Stuff engine management
Rossler Turbo 400 three-speed automatic transmission
Chassisworks Fab9 9-inch rearend
Rod & Custom IFS and Total Control Products four-link rear suspension
Aerospace Components disc brakes
BBS RK or Hole Shot Sun Star wheels with BFGoodrich KDW, Sumitomo, and Hoosier drag radial tires
Restored factory black interior with 25.5 SFI-spec rollcage, Racepack data acquisition instrumentation, Kirkey seats, and rear-seat-mounted air-to-water intercooler
Southern Polyurethane clear coat, PPG Black and House of Kolor Ultra Orange Pearl paint, Glasstek fiberglass hood, Ed Quay aluminum rear wing
Second Runner Up
Jack Alex Stoner and Jayne Roordra
1970 Mustang SportsRoof
With three Ringbrothers creations in this year's running, it was surely hard to choose just one. Though the company's design style may not be for everyone, as it thoroughly modernizes the Mustang, there's no denying the amount of work that goes into recreating every component to an OEM-level work of art.
Mothers awarded the Dragon its prestigious Shine award in 2010, and the Mustang has been on the show circuit ever since. There's simply no item left untouched on this monster, and if it breathed fire at some point, it simply wouldn't surprise us.
Roush Performance 427IR crate engine
Tremec TKO-600 five-speed manual transmission
John's Industries 9-inch rearend
JME SLA double wishbone front and Detroit Speed Quadralink rear suspension
Baer Pro Plus disc brakes
Forgeline custom wheels with Goodyear Eagle Supercar tires
Fully customized interior with Ford GT-inspired dashboard
Fully customized exterior with unique Dragon's Blood Red BASF Diamont paint