Bill Birch of Indianapolis, Indiana, is a dedicated Ford enthusiast. When Bill decided he wanted something extra in a Mustang, he dreamed of a car with all of the attributes of a Mach I and with a convertible top to boot. Since Ford didn't offer the Mach I package on the latest Mustang incarnation, Bill contacted Scott Hoag, founder of MRT (Mustang Racing Technologies). While Scott was at Ford Motor Company, he was the driving force behind the Mustang's popular Mach I package for '03 and '04 with its retro interior, graphics package, and immediately recognizable Shaker hood and scoop setup. Who better to contact when the plan was to create a Mach I using the '05 convertible platform?
Bill was interested in a car with not only the visual attributes of the Mach I, but he also wanted his car to run a little better than the rest when the light turned green. It just so happens that MRT specializes in all kinds of Mustang performance upgrades, so Bill knew he had found the right outfit to create an authentic-looking and -performing Mach I Mustang tribute, both on the outside and under the hood. MRT worked closely with Bill in the creation of this one-of-a-kind project. Although the formula included upgrades to improve the car's appearance and acceleration, the guiding concept was simple-build the Mach I that he wished Ford had built. After review and consultation, the decision was made to build an engine with increased power and also the ability to handle incremental performance modifications later on. This included a tear down and rebuild with the typical forged internals used for big-power blower applications. A billet steel crank from Kellogg and the modular standard; Manley forged rods found their way into the aluminum 4.6L block. They decided to make as much power "on the motor" as possible, while retaining manageable street drivability characteristics. Bill agreed to sacrifice some idle smoothness and went with an aggressive Comp Cams Three-Valve cam package, including phase limiters, matched with the factory 5R55S five-speed automatic transmission.
Although not the typical street package, the end product is a fast and fun boulevard cruiser that has outstanding throttle response and gets a ton of thumbs up and smiles with its authentic and distinctive Mach I presence. Let's take a closer look at the cool convertible and see just what MRT has done to make the combination work.
We certainly like the all-Ford...
We certainly like the all-Ford look provided by the M-1007-S1895 SVT wheels. The blacked out spoiler and taillight panel are Mach I styling cues along with the rocker stripes. The MRT exhaust tips fill out the openings in the factory valance panel nicely. The Mach I emblem on the trunk lid is an exact replica of the original Ford ornament.
Bill Birch's '05 Mustang GT convertible Mach I tribute
- MRT built 4.6L Three-Valve V-8
- 281 cubic inches
- 3.55-inch bore
- 3.54-inch stroke
- Kellogg billet steel crankshaft
- Manley forged steel connecting rods
- Diamond forged aluminum pistons 10.5:1 compression ratio
- Perfect Circle piston rings
- Comp Cams Stage 2 camshafts 0.535/0.535 lift advertised duration 264/275
- Ported and polished cylinder heads with cam phase limiters installed
- K&N cold air inlet
- SCT XCal II tune
- 329/300 hp/tq (on Mustang chassis dyno)
- 5R55S five-speed automatic
- TCI 3,500 rpm stall torque converter
- Ford Racing 4.10 gears
- 31-spline axles
- JBA headers
- MRT-built 304 stainless steel 2½-inch dual exhaust
- MRT Aero Turbine axle-back system
- Front: OE coilover MacPherson struts
- Rear: OE three-link with tubular Panhard rod
The MRT Shaker hood kit is...
The MRT Shaker hood kit is certainly a major contributor to the Mach I persona. The kit includes all required ducting and other components to make the scoop fully functional. Otherwise, the engine bay is all business and completely void of bling.
- Front: OE 12.4-inch ventilated disc, two-piston caliper
- Rear: OE 11.8-inch ventilated disc, single-piston caliper
- Front: Ford Racing SVT Mustang, 18x9½
- Rear: Ford Racing SVT Mustang, 18x9½
- Front: Goodyear Eagle, P235/45R18
- Rear: Goodyear Eagle, P235/45R18
- OE red leather deluxe interior, billet A/C and radio knobs
- OE Torch Red paint, Mach I graphics package by MRT, MRT Shaker Hood system