Once the foam-covered '95 had the shape Dave was looking for, he created Polylite molds and used those to form each body panel out of high-quality resin composite materials. The new panels were carefully applied to a '96 SVT Cobra convertible, which had been stripped and prepped for its Mach III transformation. Then began the arduous task of creating each and every bit of hardware for the project.
"I worked with a SolidWorks software program to design all of the little pieces in 3D," he recalls. "Nothing on the car came off the shelf; everything was created from billet steel or aluminum, based on the photos I was working with.
"Bosch sold me some of its raw components, which I used to design the headlights. Each light is sealed and adjustable for aiming, just a like a production car, but I'm planning to convert them to high-intensity discharge units when I have time. The taillights are individual LED pieces that work sequentially."
Dave's Mach III is a two-place roadster, just like the original show car, with a curved bulkhead just inches behind the carbon-fiber Cobra brand leather-covered bucket seats. The interior received subtle, but substantial, modifications that include a Kenwood touch-screen panel with CD player and DVD navigation - modern touches Ford would have incorporated had they been available in 1993. Diamond speakers (six inside the car and two subwoofers in the trunk) and a pair of 500-watt amplifiers put the production '94 Mustang's high-end Mach 460 stereo to shame. Dave designed a new center stack panel and console that perfectly complements the shape and color of the bulkhead behind the seats. Other show car touches include white-face gauges with billet trim, a pair of AutoMeter gauges (for fuel pressure and boost) on each edge of the cluster, Bentley-style cupholders and a push-button starter.
His Mach III's twin-cam 4.6-liter Cobra V8 generated a respectable 305 horsepower from the factory, but Dave added a polished Kenne Bell supercharger, JBL headers, a Ford Lightning 91mm mass airflow sensor, 42-pound injectors, a K&N filter, Bassani X-pipe and SuperTrapp mufflers for a boost to 400 ponies and 425 foot-pounds of torque at the rear wheels.
Never content to do things the easy way, he invented his own charged-air intercooler system by adapting the car's AC unit to provide 50-degree air to the intake system.
"The compressor shuts off when you really get on the gas," Dave tells us, "but there is about a 60-second supply of cool air going into the intercooler so it is a very effective system for the type of driving most people do."
The transmission is a T-5, but with a catch. Dave never liked that long reach required to put a Mustang into first, third or fifth gears, so he designed an adjustable, hidden linkage that allows the billet shift knob to sit exactly where it's most comfortable for the driver. The rest of the drivetrain is made up of a stock clutch, aluminum driveshaft and 3.73:1 rear axle.
Dave engineered his own suspension and steering system from a combination of existing Ford parts and his own designs. For instance, the rear suspension is a 1999-2004 Cobra IRS. Because the Mach III replica's body is 1.5 inches wider than stock, the car's overall track grew by nearly four inches, requiring the creation of new lower A-arms and many other components. Dave applied an airbag suspension, Tokico struts and shocks and two-piece Baer 13.25-inch rotors on front and back with stock Cobra calipers. The rear brakes are stock Cobra units. Wheels are custom-made three-piece Vellanos (20 x 9-inch in front, 20 x 11-inch in back) wearing super low-profile Continental SportContact 2 tires (255/30-20 in front, 305/25-20 in back).