Marc Christ
Brand Manager, Modified Mustangs & Fords
April 20, 2014
Photos By: RK Motors

On the heels of the 50th birthday of the iconic Ford Mustang, Charlotte, NC-based RK Motors unveiled its latest creation, the RK527 Mustang. The unveiling ceremony and presentation was held in conjunction with the Mustang 50th Birthday Celebration at Charlotte Motor Speedway on Friday, April 18th, 2014.

“We started this Mustang project only about three and a half months ago,” said Darell Johnston, builder, “with the intention of unveiling it here in Charlotte during the Mustang 50th.” A huge task, considering Johnston tackled the vast majority of the Shelby tribute himself.

“I’m a bit of a perfectionist,” admits Johnston. “I like being in control of every aspect of the build.” And he was, from fabrication to finishing touches. He contracted Rick Gauthier to do the wiring and help out with some other aspects of the build, but Johnston tackled the rest of the build himself.

“My boss, Rob Kauffman (then namesake of RK Motors), came to me and told me he wanted to build a Pro Touring Mustang using a ’67 Mustang Fastback Shelby clone that was already in his collection,” he said. The only stipulation was that it had to have at least 550 rwhp—with no power adders.

Johnston called Cliff Moore at Jon Kaase Racing Engines for a solution. Moore offered up a 527ci Kaase Boss Nine, which fit the bill, and inspired the name of the project, RK527. The all-aluminum 429-derivitave was a little overkill for the 550 rwhp goal, and made over 800 hp on Kaase’s engine dyno at 6,600 rpm and made over 700 lb-ft of torque. Backing the the Boss Nine is a D&D Performance-prepped Tremec T-56 Magnum and a twin-disc clutch.

The exterior of the Mustang was already a Shelby clone, and nicely painted Candy Apple Red with Wimbledon White LeMans stripes, so Johnston worked concentrated on the engine bay and underside. Then the 527 was fitted into the engine bay with a Detroit Speed Aluma-Frame front suspension system.

After removing the shock towers, Johnston fabricated the engine mounts. He then enlisted Michael at Good Fabrications (Mooresville, NC) to weld up custom headers, which flow into a 3-inch Flowmaster exhaust system and Delta 40 mufflers.

The purpose-built rally car features 14- and 13-inch Baer brakes, front and rear respectively, which are covered by American Racing wheels customized by Vintage Wheel.

The RK527 was built with serviceability, longevity, and mechanical perfection in mind, according to Johnston. To exercise its accomplishment of this, Kauffman and co-pilot Johnston will drive the RK527 on the Hot Rod Power Tour in June. “We’re going to drive it from here to Wisconsin, over 1,400 miles, and then all the way back another 1,400,” said Johnston.

Check out more on the RK527 Mustang on RK Motors’ website.

Follow the Hot Rod Power Tour at www.hotrod.com.

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