Modified Mustangs & FordsFeatures
1969 Ford Mustang Coupe - New Breed Mustang
Owner Robert Turner and builder Jeff Schwartz teamed up for this mash-up of Mustang styles old and new.
If you nicked Robert Turner, he'd probably bleed Ford Blue. He can still describe the exact moment the true-blue brand loyalty was seared into his being. "My love for Fords was started by my brother, who's a little bit older than me," Robert says. "I still remember the day he brought home a red '70 Mustang Boss 302. I had dreams of someday buying that car from him. He owned several throughout the years before I was able to drive."
Since then, Fords and Mustangs have always played a starring role in the stages of Robert's life. "My wife, Kristi, and I have always just admired old cars, especially the '69 Mustang," he recalls. "The '69 is so special to us because that was the car I was driving when we first met. It was at a stoplight 27 years ago. We played a cat-and-mouse game driving around town before exchanging our telephone numbers. Even though she continues to tell me it was not the car that caught her eye, I'm sure if I was driving my mom's '86 Olds 88, things would have gone a little differently."
"I had to park the Mustang a block away from her mother's house because it was so loud. We didn't have that car that long, but we had lots of great memories with it before trading it for another car. There was a '72 Ford Gran Torino, which was for Kristi. But once the kids came along, the cars had to go away for a few years."
Well, we can probably all see where this story is going.
Yep, eventually the kids were grown enough-Justin is now 23 and Chelsey is 22-and the time was right to go find the family another '69 Mustang. After an extensive search, Robert located a decent original in Raleigh, North Carolina, on eBay. "I didn't want a car that had been changed too much," Robert says. "It was a stock fastback with the body in good shape. I was new to buying cars on the Internet, but I won the auction. I flew out to see the car, and then had it shipped back."
Robert originally set out to do a conventional restomod buildup on the Mustang, more or less, but two chance encounters scotched that plan. "My brother and I attended the Chicago Auto Show where we saw the new '12 Mustang Boss 302," Robert says. "It was sweet." At that point, Robert resolved that his '69 would have to use a Ford four-cam Modular V-8 for power. Next, he happened to stop by the Schwartz Performance booth at a local World of Wheels event. "I'd heard great things about Schwartz Performance and I really liked the idea of doing a full-frame car versus subframe connectors." That's when Robert decided upon the more ambitious plan that produced the knockout you see here.
Along with providing the trick full-length G-Machine Chassis system (see sidebar), Jeff Schwartz and his guys also performed the entire build on Robert's Mustang, including the engine and drivetrain installation. A 5.0L Ford Racing crate engine was dropped in; then on top of that was plopped a Ford Racing supercharger kit, which features a 2.3L Whipple twin-screw blower. Thus configured, the late-model V-8 is good for an easy 624 hp on 93-octane pump gasoline. Ford Racing offers this blower kit at two power levels, 525 hp and the aforementioned 624 hp. The only differences are the blower pulley diameter and a full factory warranty on one of the levels. (Guess which one.) Notwithstanding, both systems are bolt-on and fully compatible with the factory operating system, including the twin-independent variable valve timing.
Schwartz and staff also installed a complete Vintage Air heating and air-conditioning system, artfully tucking away the condenser and refrigerant lines out of sight. The 5.0L V-8 is bolted up to a Hurst-shifted Tremec T56 six-speed gearbox, which is in turn linked to a Schwartz-Moser 9-inch full-floating Ford rear axle with an Eaton Truetrac limited-slip unit and a set of 3.70:1 screws.
One novel feature imagineered by Robert and capably executed by the Schwartz team is the exhaust setup. "The exhaust system is modeled after the exhaust on the '12 Boss 302 Mustang, but with a little twist," says Robert of the law enforcement-baiting design. "The side exhaust outlets have electric-powered cutout valves installed so I have two options. I can open up all four exhaust pipes and let everyone and everything hear me coming for a mile down the road. Or I can just close the side pipes with the valves and route the exhaust out the rear pipes when my wife is out for a ride with me." Why no, officer. That couldn't have been me violating the local noise ordinance. Honest.
"The car sat for like six years before we got to it, but once they got it into the shop at Schwartz it took them less than two years to finish it working straight through," Robert says. "Installing the G-Machine frame was first, then fitting the motor into the engine bay. Once this was complete it was sent off to Psychotic Air for the paintjob. The next step was to complete all the electrical work throughout the car, where all the lighting was replaced with HID or LED." Then it was on to the interior, where "the only parts that were usable were the dash and the rear seat. Everything else was replaced or fabricated, like the custom console, the radio bezel, and the roof bar for the seatbelts. The windows were updated will all-new glass and power motors were added to the doors."
The carbon-fiber theme of the exterior was carried into the cabin, with black full-grain leather and gray suede accenting the high-tech interior textures. Schwartz Performance fabricated the full-length carbon-fiber console to match the dash insert from JME Racing, with Phantom II gauges from Auto Meter in the instrument panel and A-pillar pods. When you step back and take in the entire car, the total effect is one of old school complementing new-age race technology meeting old-fashioned comfort. "The car came out better than I could ever imagine," Robert says. "All those years of going to car shows and events and reading stacks and stacks of car magazines-all our dreams came true."
By The Numbers
1969 Mustang Coupe
Robert Turner, 43 St. Charles, IL
Type: '12 Ford Racing 5.0L crate engine
Block: stock, aluminum
Bore x stroke: 3.63x3.65 inches
Rotating assembly: stock forged crank and rods, hypereutectic aluminum pistons
Compression ratio: 11.0:1
Cylinder heads: stock, aluminum
Valvetrain: stock, double-overhead cam, four valves per cylinder
Forced induction: Ford Racing Performance Parts 2.3L supercharger kit
Throttle body: 80mm single-bore drive-by-wire
Fuel system: stock pump, 47-lb/hr six-hole injectors, high-impedance
Oiling: stock, 8-quart aluminum pan
Exhaust: Mustang GT 409 stainless tubular headers, Schwartz custom exhaust system
Ignition: stock, Ford Racing controller and harness
Cooling: stock water pump, Be Cool radiator and electric fans
Output: 624 hp as rated by Ford Racing
Engine built by: Ford Racing Performance Parts
Transmission: Tremec T56 Magnum six-speed overdrive
Driveshaft: Schwartz Performance
Rearend: Moser 9-inch Ford, 3.70:1 gears, Truetrac limited-slip
Frame: Schwartz Performance G-Machine full-length bolt-in chassis
Front suspension: Schwartz multi-link, racing-style sway bar, QA1 adjustable coilovers
Rear suspension: Schwartz converging four-link, racing-style sway bar, QA1 adjustable coilovers
Steering: Mustang Fox power rack-and-pinion
Brakes: Wilwood 13-inch rotors, 6-piston calipers front, 4-piston calipers rear
Wheels & Tires
Wheels: 18x9 and 19x12 Forgeline
Tires: Michelin Pilot Sport, 255/40R18 front, 345/30R19 rear
Schwartz Performance G-Machine Chassis
For those who aren't familiar, Schwartz Performance is a suburban Chicago shop that specializes in Pro Touring-type machines with the emphasis on the go side of the show/go deal. Proprietor Jeff Schwartz insists on building cars that, along with looking fine, can stop, turn, and go, and his stuff is often found at the sharp end of the grid in autocross and road racing events. Jeff doesn't play favorites with makes or models, either. He's done everything from '70s Cadillacs to mid-engine sports cars. And if you've got a '64-73 Mustang, he can fix you up, too, with his full-length G-Machine Chassis.
"The Mustang's unit construction begins to flex dramatically once you add more horsepower, higher spring rates, and better brakes," Jeff says. "With our G-Machine Chassis, your engine, rearend, steering, and suspension are isolated from the body. The G-Machine Chassis becomes the main support for your car, and the unibody structure simply becomes added support."
"People usually have two concerns with our chassis," Jeff says. "One, ground clearance. They assume it's going to hang down, but actually we've been careful to tuck everything in and make sure nothing is lower than stock. Next, they want to know how much weight it adds. Actually, we take around 75 pounds out of the car by getting rid of the heavy stock leaf springs, control arms, and cast-iron steering box."
Now here's the beauty part: No cutting of the floorpan is required. The Schwartz framerails are precision-formed to follow the floor's original contours. Next, Jeff engineered a multi-link lower control arm setup that occupies the same space as the Mustang's original torque-strut front suspension. He also selected a converging four-link system for the rear, ideal here because it requires no additional lateral links in the cramped rear axle area. All the suspension hardware, trick as it is, still fits comfortably under the original Mustang unibody. Racing-style, bar-and-arm adjustable sway bars are used front and rear, and adjustable QA1 coilovers perform the springing and damping functions on all four corners. Slick, huh? -Bill McGuire