Jim Smart
October 1, 2002
Photos By: Mustang Monthly Archives

Some call it restification. Others call it restomod. Anyway you look at it, it is the fine art of keeping with a Mustang's original lines while making it safer, faster, and more fun to drive. Twenty years ago, the focus was on restoring a stock, original museum piece you could drive on and off the trailer, occasionally driving it to keep the oil circulated. When Wall Streeters and the faint-of-heart abandoned the classic-car market in the early '90s during the Gulf War era, thoughts and values turned more toward having real fun with these cars. Used trailer sales skyrocketed. So did the sale of used biased-ply reproduction tires and stock exhaust manifolds. The '90s made us feel comfortable with driving (and modifying!) our Mustangs again.

So what to do with a retired trailer queen? How do you turn around a stiff, stodgy concours trophy winner and make it a fun-to-drive automobile? You stick your toe in the water with stealthy modifications no one knows are there but you. Stealth mods make a Mustang fun to drive without wrecking its classic lines.

Classy Chassis

One of the first things to be attentive to is safety. Upgrading your Mustang's soft suspension components is a great start. Look to Mustangs Plus for ready-made, no-brainer, handling-upgrade kits that make it easy to choose the right springs and sway bars and shocks for your application. Stiffer springs improve handling. So do thicker sway bars. Adding a rear sway bar gives us even greater value in the handling department. Gas shocks firm up the ride. Need we say more?

Discs Rear

Four-wheel disc brakes are pretty common on new-car showroom floors today, especially at your Ford dealer. New Mustangs have been getting four-wheel disc brakes since 1994. But there's no reason why your vintage 'Stang can't have them. Stainless Steel Brakes has rear disc brake conversion kits in stock ready to ship to your front door. Rear disc brakes improve braking because they don't fade under heavy use. They're also much easier to maintain than drum brakes because there are way fewer parts. Pad changes are a cakewalk. What's more, they look terrific through the spokes of aftermarket wheels.

Give Me A Brake

Disc brakes are the single greatest way to improve safety in a classic Mustang. Front disc brakes can do more for your stopping distance than any other single brake modification. Master Power Brakes has a variety of disc brake kits for classic Mustangs. Fit your steed with period disc brakes, like four-piston units for 1965-'67, or single piston for 1968-up. Upgrade your 1965-'66 with single-piston units for simplicity and ease of maintenance. This is an easy swap and can save your life.

Try Tires…

Few thing do more for driveability than the right tires. If you're still motoring around on biased-play tires, stop squealing and get dealing with your favorite tire dealership. Coker Tire can help. Coker Tire is well known for classic car tires of all types, including gangster whitewalls. But did you know Coker Tire produces radial tires with a classic look? For example, redline radials give your Mustang a sporty look without drifting away from an original demeanor. Redlines look sharp wrapped around a nice set of Styled Steel or Magnum 500 wheels. Whitewalls are also available for the more conservative type.

The BFGoodrich Radial T/A is a time-proven, good-looking, sporty radial tire. Its raised white letters are at home on the GT, Mach 1, and Boss series Mustangs. See your local BFGoodrich dealer for more details.

Wheel Serious

This one isn't really stealthy, but it can make a difference in the way your Mustang looks. Aftermarket wheels are the bolt-on answer you can bolt-off anytime the mood hits. American Racing Torq-Thrust D and Torq-Thrust II five- spoke wheels are likely the most popular aftermarket wheel going. Cragar SS mags, still available new from days of old, are the second most popular clas-sic wheel. Styled Steel and Magnum 500 wheels are also popular picks. The wheel you pick, be it a classic or a modern-day bil-let special, should jibe with both the car and your personality. Be wise. Check your wheel well dimensions before putting down the cash.