Mustang Restomod Guide: Drivetrain
Modernize Your Drivetrain With Crate Engines, Strokers, And Overdrive Transmissions
Currie Enterprises continues to make it easier to build a durable rearend without having to scrounge the junkyards for old axles. As part of Currie's 9-Plus line of upgrades, the 9-Plus Sportsman gearcase casting is basically a new 9-inch housing made from nodular cast-iron and complete with caps, cap retaining bolts, billet spanner nuts, and spanner-nut retainers. With diminishing availability of original 9-inch parts, Currie set out to redesign and build new 9-inch rearends, resulting in the 9-Plus line of axle components, including complete 9-inch housings.
Light In The Head
We've come a long way in cylinder-head design since the '60s. With the proliferation of 5.0L performance in the late-'80s, performance aftermarket companies such as Ford Racing and Edelbrock invested the R&D needed to create better flowing heads for the Windsor small-block. The result is aluminum heads with larger valves and superior port designs to maximize flow for optimum performance. Weight savings compared to factory cast-iron heads are another benefit.
Edelbrock's Performer heads are proven performers when bolted to '65-'95 289, 302, 351W, and 5.0L engines. With large, contoured intake ports, the heads are capable of at least 300 hp when matched with other components from Edelbrock's Total Power Package. Two versions of the Performer head are available. For relatively stock engines, the version with 1.90 intake valves eliminates any concern about piston-to-valve cAlearances. For engines with notched pistons, a second version with 2.02-inch intake valves adds additional flow capabilities. Both versions of the Edelbrock Performer heads have 1.60-inch exhaust valves and 60cc combustion chambers.
Aluminated For 8s
For many street Mustangs, an 8-inch rearend is ideal. It's lightweight, consumes less power, and delivers relia-bility. Now Currie Enterprises offers a solution to the 8-inch axle's weakness: the thin pinion pilot support. Currie's Alumin8 gearcase puts more meat around the pinion pilot to eliminate that weakness. Precision made from 206T6 aluminum, the Alumin8 differential housing is ideal for high-power street applications.
The '65-'66 Mustang wasn't designed for big-block engines, but that has never stopped restomodders. When Merv Rego at Classic Creations of Central Florida built a '66 Mustang sedan delivery, he wanted an eye-popper underhood. By eliminating the shock towers with a Heidt's Hot Rod Shop Mustang II-style front suspension, Merv created a cavernous engine compartment for the installation of a 514ci monster from Jon Barrett Hot Rod Engines. Based on Ford's 385-series 429/460, the stroker 514 looks impressive while delivering plenty of streetable torque. Sanderson street-rod headers work perfectly with the Heidt's front suspension, while a Performance Automatic Super Comp AOD transmission provides exceptional durability behind the 514, while also lowering cruise rpms.
With the proliferation of five-speed swaps into vintage Mustangs, a number of companies now offer crossmembers to join modern transmissions to older chassis. Pictured from left to right are versions from Ron Morris Performance, JBA Performance (perfect for a Mustang with JBA's exhaust system), and California Pony Cars. Which crossmember you use for your application depends on fit and clearance issues.
It doesn't always have to be wild and crazy-at least, not on the outside. Mark Binding wanted the pleasure of a restomod with the looks of a concours restoration. For his '65 convertible, Mark ordered a Ford Racing M-6007-XB3 long-block and dressed it up to look similar to a stock 289, right down to the black paint, era-correct hose clamps, and yellow-top coil. To fit roller rockers underneath the vintage Cobra valve covers, he employed valve-cover spacers-painted black-to complete the disguise. Behind the covert engine is a T5 five-speed, which is also disguised with an original shift linkage and a four-speed ball knob.
For excellent ground clearance as well as clearing the steering and suspension components, Patriot Exhaust, a division of PerTronix, offers Clippster-style headers for 260-302 small-block engines in '65-'73 Mustangs. Designed to fit best with '6611/42-'70 motor mounts, the Clippster headers are shorter than full-length versions with collectors that exit toward the rear of the engine compartment, providing additional clearance around other components. Large 151/48-inch primaries and 3-inch collectors improve exhaust-gas velocity to increase horse-power and torque. The headers won't fit manual transmissions with a mechanical clutch linkage, but they will fit '85 '95 bellhousings using cable clutch kits.