Mark Houlahan
Tech Editor, Mustang Monthly
February 23, 2010

When it comes to personalizing one's classic Ford or Mustang, more often than not we see people playing it safe and copying age-old designs like a '66 Shelby G.T. 350 (Lexan quarter-windows, Shelby front valance, and so forth). While we understand these are tried and true designs that are ageless and still look good to this day, it's sometimes a little dejecting to pull into a car show or cruise night and having to park next to your twin. Expressing your individuality in making your Mustang something different by using body parts of your own design, customizing an existing part, or at the least, mixing up styles that complement each other, goes a long way in making your car stand out and getting noticed. Is it easy? No. Is it cheap? No. But, exploring different styling efforts never is.

One way to make your Mustang or Ford stand out from others is with fiberglass body parts. Starting with something as simple as a bolt-on hood can make a nice change, but moving forward from there with valances, bumpers, 'scoops, and more really makes a difference in how a car looks. Of course there's little in the way of boundaries with fiberglass and while it's easy to open a catalog and order up a sidescoop, with a little practice and the proper materials you can make your own parts to take your project above and beyond. But fiberglass parts all fit like socks on a rooster you say. Fiberglass parts are harder to work with you say. Fiberglass parts don't have the same quality level of steel parts you say. Well, you're right-for the most part.

We're not going to lie to you and say a fiberglass 'scoop is going to simply bolt up to your quarter-panel like it was made by Ford and be ready for paint. No, fiberglass parts do take some tweaking and finesse to get them to fit right. They also aren't made like a steel part either. Steel parts are pressed and have firm, crisp lines. Fiberglass parts are made by hand in molds and this human interaction is what plays large parts in how the parts fit, feel, and look. Variations in resin and fiberglass application, curing time, time in the mold, how they're stored, and more all play a role in how the end product will actually fit-even the mold itself and the original part, if any, that was used to make a mold. A 40-year-old part is only going to make so good of a mold example. This is why some people get great fitting fiberglass and others get some that need work, yet they were ordered from the same manufacturer.

Even Shelby had issues with the original fiberglass used in the creation of the '67 Shelby Mustang's profile. They were sanding and fitting those parts 40 years ago too. So don't be disappointed the fiberglass valance you just bought doesn't fit exactly like the steel valance you just removed. With a little work you'll have it fitting in no time. Of course fiberglass can be used for so much more than just a molded part. Besides creating your own custom-molded parts (like a console or a smoothed and painted dash) you can create custom body touches like molded quarter-panel endcaps, creating brake cooling ducts in an existing fiberglass valance, and much more. Your imagination is the only boundary (that and your budget).

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