Mark Gearhart
March 5, 2019

It’s good to be different. When it comes to converting a front wheel drive to rear wheel, a lot of fabrication can be involved in the process. What Matt Soppa learned is that the Fusion was more similar to a Mustang than he expected!

“I always liked the look of the Fusion and when the S550 Mustang came out, everyone thought it was modeled from the Fusion’s chassis,” said Soppa.


A complete S550 rear subframe nearly bolted in place. The rearward subframe mounts bolted right up. The forward mounts were about two-inches wider and about .75-inches forward. The shock also bolted in place.


The Fusion was acquired from a salvage yard with minimal front end damage. After gutting the car, the first course of action was inspecting the rear suspension layout. For a mere 300 bucks Soppa picked up a complete IRS rear suspension from a V6 S550, and you know what? It practically bolted right in. “The shock lined up,” mentioned Soppa. “From there the rearward subframe mounts bolted right up. The forward mounts were about two-inches wider and about .75-inches forward. I had to cut a little section of the floor to make that work.” The factory gas tank has to be ditched since there’s no provisions for a driveshaft.

The front suspension would get its inspiration from an S197’s subframe and electronic power assist rack. “We welded brackets to the frame horns so they could bolt up on the front side and made simple plates for the rear mounting points,” explained Soppa. “We had to re-drill the shock mounts for an S197 bolt pattern, but the front was surprisingly simple too.” The biggest issue that arose was the front control arm design on the S197 would extend the wheelbase of the Fusion by four-inches, so custom lower control arms were fabricated.


Here you can see the mounts added to the frame horns of the Fusion. Simple rear mounting plates were fabricated as well, allowing the complete S197 front subframe to bolt in place.


Soppa used Formula Drift driver Justin Pawlak’s custom knuckles, but an offset extended tie rod is required to get the suspension geometry correct. A Cortex electronic power assist steering controller allowed for full use of the factory rack.

After completely gutting the firewall, a 2016 GT Coyote mated to a TR6060 was bolted to the subframe with the stock engine mounts. The largest fabrication project so far was building an entire tunnel in the front wheel drive chassis. Soppa is currently working on a tablet with OBD-II interface to get the electronics to read from the Coyote controls pack. Needless to say, we can’t wait to see this thing done and sliding sideways in the near future!


A custom lower control arm was required to fit the wheel back into the fender well. JTP front spindles were mated to custom tie rod ends to properly correct the front suspension geometry.
After completely gutting the firewall, a 2016 GT Coyote mated to a TR6060 was bolted to the subframe with the stock engine mounts. The largest fabrication project so far was building an entire tunnel in the front wheel drive chassis.
All business inside – a new pedal box, hydraulic handbrake, OBD-II interface for the controls pack, and a tablet is all that’s needed inside the Fusion.

Photography by Rebecca Nguyen