Muscle Mustangs & Fast Fords
1988 Ford Mustang GT Project Hypersilver - Breaking Ground
We thrust the shovel into the soil with our latest project, Hypersilver.
Last month, we introduced Hypersilver, our '88 GT that we're building to commemorate the 25th anniversary of MM&FF. We want this project to be the wildest, highest-end Muscle Mustangs project car ever built. That is certainly a sizeable task, and since we're revealing it at SEMA in October, we're on a tight schedule to boot.
We've vowed to not give everything away up front, that way there will be surprises left on the table at the unveil. We will be gnawing away at every little fragment of this project—piece by piece—each month so you can follow along. Granted, some of the things we include in this build are unconventional, but you will no doubt be informed and entertained at the least. And maybe all of this may encourage you to tackle your own project, or take your current project to the next level.
1. For the sum of $348, we acquired every piece that Scott Rod Fabrications makes for the Fox-body engine bay. We opted for the steel versions, but SRF also makes natural and colored-aluminum versions that rivet in.
When we found this '88 GT in an ad on Craigslist, it was a bare shell, emphasis on the bare. It was in the beginning stages of becoming a drag-only car, and the owner had mounted it to a rotisserie and had it sand-blasted. Prior to the blasting, he removed every nut, bolt, screw, and clip from the body—there is no paint, rust, or plastic filler. After it was blasted, he then had it coated in etching primer to preserve the bare metal beneath. The owner got married and had a kid, so the project was pushed to the back burner in the corner of his dad's shop.
We couldn't resist the opportunity to buy it; for just under $2,000, we rolled it into our enclosed trailer and hauled it to our warehouse. There it sat for about a year, looking like a shadow of its former self. The doors, hatch, and bumpers (all bare as well) lay inside of it, awaiting the resurrection. With such a blank slate on our hands, the wheels began to turn.
We were anticipating our 25th anniversary, and knew this would be the ideal foundation for a project that significant. We called our buddy John McBride to sketch out a rendering, decided on the main components and theme of the build, and started ordering parts.
Cutting and Welding
The first stop on our journey is the chassis shop. Demon Motorsports in Crystal River, Florida, came highly recommended by some reliable sources. So after checking out some of its work, we hauled our skeleton an hour and a half north of our office to Demon. Owner and welder Ryan Lowther does a little bit of everything in the automotive fabrication world—off-road vehicles, pro touring muscle cars, 6-second Hot Rod Drag Week sleds, and a slew of Mustangs.
We have an extensive list of tasks to accomplish while at Demon. We're installing the wheel tubs and coilovers, mounting the fuel cell, smoothing the engine bay, and installing a rollbar and through-the-floor subframe connectors. We're using Scott Rod Fabrications weld-in steel engine bay panels and a pre-cut wheeltub kit—the rest will be built custom by Lowther.
Lowther wasted no time putting our GT under the blade, cutting out the stock rear wheel housings and trunk floor. This is not a job for the faint of heart, and we're certainly glad that Lowther was wielding the cutoff wheel. He had all of the stock wheelhouse cut out before we realized we had the wrong wheeltub kit. We ordered a mini-tub kit but really we need a full-tub kit. So it's back to the drawing board on the tubs for now—more on that next month.
Underhood, Lowther trimmed and fit the Scott Rod Fabrications engine bay sheetmetal. We opted for every piece Scott Rod Fab makes for the Fox engine bay in steel. The grand total for all fifteen pieces is $348—well worth the money if you ask us. If you opt for the colored-aluminum rivet-in versions, it will cost you about the same, less if you go with natural aluminum. We've used Scott Rod Fab on a couple of projects now and the fit is nice, with very little trimming necessary. If you're going for that clean look (like we are), then a smooth engine bay is a must.
Lowther made surprisingly quick work of the weld-in pieces, and he stitch-welded all of the pieces in place with a TIG welder. His welds are so nice that we'll probably just paint right over them without doing any bodywork to smooth them out. That will give our Fox a unique look and help it stand out from the sea of other Mustangs at SEMA.
Measuring and Fitting
Since we're on hold to finish the wheeltubs, we decided to fit a tire to see how wide we want to go. We had a pair of 315/35R17 Nitto NT05R drag radials in our warehouse, so we grabbed one on our way back to Demon. We chocked the wheel/tire in place, and lowered the body down until it made us feel warm and fuzzy inside. At first glance, the stance is sick. It's only a 25.71-inch-tall tire but it fills the wheelwell perfectly. We'll probably opt for a street tire or DOT-approved road-course tire, but we're happy with the 315mm width—we'll use this drag radial as our mock-up.
We measured to see where our coilovers will mount so Moser can install the mounts before the powdercoating process. When we receive the M9 rearend, it will be bolt-in ready. Lowther also marked the rear framerail with a permanent marker to show how much of the rail needs to be removed to make clearance for our wide rears. Thankfully, only the lip (pinch-welded seam) needs to be trimmed. This will prevent us from having to box in framerails after hacking them up.
Next month, we'll install the rollbar and subframe connectors, mount the fuel cell, and iron out our wheeltub snag. Once we're finished at Demon Motorsports, we'll head to the paint shop. We'll also start our 427ci Windsor engine build soon, so stay tuned.