Can you really build a car from scratch in a week? Well, not really, but we did completely assemble a Mustang in five days, and it turned out spectacular.
The idea was simple on the surface, more complicated when it actually came together, and was our third Week to Wicked build in a year. The goals were to create good video content for our website, Mustang-360.com, and also in the printed version of Mustang Monthly magazine, and end up with a really cool Mustang that could represent our brand at shows throughout the next year. On all of those counts, it was a rousing success.
The project started when sponsor Golden Star Classic Auto Parts jumped into the fray by offering to use one of their sheetmetal kits to convert a 1967 Mustang hardtop into the more desirable fastback body style. Golden Star has a single part number for the conversion, and they partnered with PG Customs & Bodies in Decatur, Texas, to do the actual conversion. Golden Star’s kit costs roughly $5,000, and PG’s labor for the conversion is another five grand, so the real story is that you can convert a hardtop into a fastback for right around $10,000. If you’ve priced fastback Mustangs lately, you get why that’s a good deal.
The conversion process obviously didn’t happen in our five-day window—that was handled a few months before we actually got to work on the car. PG Customs & Bodies did the sheetmetal work and applied the amazing Axalta-brand Royal Crimson Metallic paint (from the 3018 Mustang color palette) at their Texas shop, then we drove a loaner F-150 pulling our trailer to Texas to fetch the car, brought it back to our Tech Center in Santa Ana, California, and got busy.
With the Tech Center’s Jason Scudellari and Christian Arriero doing the heavy lifting and the entire Mustang-360.com content team trying not to get in the way, along with a gang of sponsors helping out, we turned a bare, empty body shell into a running, driving car in five days.
Sure, there are a few bugs to work out on the car—that is expected when you’re rushing to finish a build—but watch out for this baby at a show in 2019.
This was our starting point: a well-worn 1967 Mustang hardtop that had seen better days.
PG Customs & Bodies completed the sheetmetal conversion in their Texas-based shop, turning the hardtop into a fastback.
PG’s Jerry Askey pushed the Mustang out into the sunlight after buffing the Axalta Royal Crimson Metallic paint. Man, that color is astounding!
Finally back in our Santa Ana, California, Tech Center—the fastback makes that poor Maverick look bad.
Powering our car is a “Gen 3” 5.0L Coyote engine from Ford Performance. Anticipating that wide engine, PG Customs & Bodies installed a Total Control Products (TCP) front subframe, which allows the elimination of the shock towers for more room.
Jason Scudellari (left) and Henry De Los Santos (right) figuring out where to route the engine wiring and mount the engine control computer.
Backing the Ford crate engine is a Gearstar 4R70W four-speed automatic transmission with a mild stall-speed converter.
The entire suspension is from Chris Alston’s Total Control Products, which includes the front frame kit previously mentioned, front coilovers, a torque arm rear setup, and complete chassis stiffening braces/subframe connectors, to which we added a Currie 9-inch rearend with 3.73:1 gears.
The TCP suspension also includes new leaf springs, shackles, and all the fasteners you need to install it. This is Tech Editor Mark Houlahan and Christian Arriero buttoning it all up.
Wilwood was also a sponsor in our little endeavor, supplying a set of their massive 13-inch brakes front and rear with 6-piston calipers up front and matching 4-piston unit aft.
Feeding the hungry engine means a high-pressure fuel system, which we handled with a tank and pump setup from Tanks Inc.
Mustangs to Fear came into play when we moved inside the car, supplying its custom center console, a one-piece molded headliner, dashpad, and one-piece rear interior trim panels. Scott Drake was tapped for restoration parts like door panels, carpet, seatbelts, and the gauge bezel (which is now filled with Dakota Digital’s HDX gauges).
The TCP torque arm rear suspension does involve some welding, in this case for the rearend bracket.
Our friends at G-Force Engineering really came to the rescue by making a custom driveshaft to our measurements and overnighting it so we could get the car moving in our brief timeline.
We knew the Legendary Wheels’ gold centers would pop off the Royal Crimson paint, and man do they.
Our cooling system is a Be Cool radiator with a Derale fan and shroud.
We’re still not sold on the engine cover that came with our crate engine, so we’ll let you readers decide—keep it or toss it?
Special thanks to Jason Camp of Ford Motor Company for the loan of a 2018 F-150 Platinum truck to go get the car in Texas. The 3.5L EcoBoost V-6 pulled the loaded trailer just fine and even knocked down some decent mileage when your author’s right foot wasn’t too aggressive.