An iPhone Controls This 1966 Ford Mustang
This Mustang utilizes high tech to facilitate style and drivability
Hot Rodding manifests itself as equal parts passion and money. For some it’s a way to spend a weekend with loved ones. For others, it’s a business. For Geoff Beale, owner and operator of Throwback Customs in Burlington, North Carolina, it’s both love and money. This 1965 hardtop is a representation of his passion and profession mixed into one beautiful vehicle.
The day after Geoff’s father passed, he purchased this Mustang as a rough and rusty project car that needed a lot of work. “When my dad passed I decided to build the car we never built,” says Geoff. “A passion project I picked up with my uncle.” The father-and-son project that never was is now this full-tilt Mustang.
Geoff founded a successful electronics company, Crestron Electronics in New Jersey. The company was an education in home electronics, which Geoff used to build the operating system for the Mustang. He sold that business and started ThrowBack Customs; this Mustang was the first car to be built under the new name.
The electronics are a complicated system of different control units talking to each other. Although, from the outside it’s simple and easy to use. A Controller Area Network (CAN Bus) system connects the separate pieces of the electronic system, allowing the entire car to be electronically controlled. The power windows are controlled by an InfinityBox inMOTION along with three separate InfinityBox-brand Powercell Kits located under the hood, inside, and in the trunk.
The large dash-mounted LCD controls the locks, door poppers, hood and trunk latches, and even displays the three rearview cameras. This system allowed the team to shave the side mirrors and door handles without sacrificing usability. All of these items can be controlled via a Bluetooth-enabled device like Geoff’s iPhone.
An InfinityBox Mastercell is overlaid by a custom Crestron Electronics system, which you’d normally find in home entertainment automation; it powers the center screen’s operation. Geoff and InfiityBox’s Jay Harris wrote custom code for the display and user operation, aka anything the driver sees on the screen. This screen then takes the user’s input and communicates it to the InfinityBox Mastercell, which tells the car what to do via the PowerCells found at each end of the car. Finally, an inVIRONMENT controller manages the Vintage Air system.
“The gauges, starting the car, and controlling the A/C and stereo are all done from either the touchscreen in the car or from an iPhone app,” says Geoff. “Graphics and controls are custom code written by Jay and I.” It’s a complicated system that results in a user-friendly Ford.
Under the hood it’s a little more traditional, with a Ford Performance Coyote 5.0L crate engine with 11:01 compression and MMR Stage 2 cams. The 2.9L Whipple supercharger is accompanied by Injector Dynamics ID1000 injectors backed by an Aeromotive fuel rail and regulator. The Rick’s Tanks stainless steel gas tank features an Aeromotive A1000 pump inside.
Exhaust is by way of custom-built shorty headers dumping into 3-inch pipes and Borla mufflers. The car was chassis dyno’d and tuned by local Ford wizard Shrader Performance. It made 515 hp at 6,200 rpm and 440 lb-ft of torque at 5,700 rpm on Steve Shrader’s dyno. The engine is backed by a Ram dual-disc clutch, Quick Time bellhousing, and Tremec six-speed. Out back is a Strange 9-inch with a limited slip and 3.89 gears.
The hole in the hood makes you do a double take when first looking at the Mustang. It allowed Geoff to keep a stock hood with the supercharger. What caught our eye were the subtle touches in the body that left us scratching our heads. The only original Mustang sheetmetal includes the roof, trunk lid, and hood. All of the exterior trim was shaved from the door handles to the emblems. The rear bumper was molded onto the car, and handbuilt fender extensions bring the body out to the rear wheels.
The body was dropped onto an Art Morrison MAXG chassis, which features the company’s own Corvette C6–style front suspension. The Mustang’s floorpan was completely removed and replaced with a custom dropped floorpan in order to improve legroom, despite the dropped body. Out back is a three-link with Strange Engineering coilovers. Murphy Rod & Custom of Summit, North Carolina, performed the bodywork and L&S Customs of Prospect Hill, North Carolina, did the paint with a PPG Tungsten from a 2012 Aston Martin.
While the car is near to Geoff’s heart, it served its purpose as the first car to feature his shop’s name. Soon after our photo shoot, the car was sold to raise funds for future projects. “It was difficult to let go, but ultimately, I enjoy building and I’m ready for a new challenge,” says Geoff.
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Photography by Jesse Kiser