Marc Christ Brand Manager, Modified Mustangs & Fords
November 12, 2013

If you’ve ever watched movies like Stephen King’s Christine or Disney/Pixar’s Cars, then you’ve seen Hollywood’s methods for giving automobiles lifelike features. Windshields are eyes, grilles are mouths, and wheels are feet. But even non-animated and non-possessed cars have personalities of their own—without the help of special effects. Some are boring, some are mean, and others are goofy, like ’Mater.

The Fox-body Mustang didn’t gain popularity in the performance scene for its stunning good looks or imposing personality. In fact, in stock form (save for the ’93 Cobra, maybe), most would consider it too simplistic. Thankfully, the lightweight design coupled with an easily modified powertrain and an affordable price tag catapulted the five-point-oh Mustang into automotive superstardom.

On the coattails of that popularity was built an industry of performance and styling parts that still lives strong today. Many existing companies like Edelbrock, Paxton, and Flowmaster jumped on board the Mustang train, while other companies got their start by feeding the ever-growing horde of people buying and modding these rides.

One of the companies that started during this time was Cervini’s Auto Designs. In 1991, founder Danny Cervini had a black ’89 Mustang convertible. Being a body guy, he cut the hoodscoops out of a ’71 Mach 1 hood and grafted them onto the hood of his Fox for a custom look. Once complete, he began taking it to local New Jersey car shows, where he received many compliments. People kept asking where they could buy their own, so Cervini formed Cervini’s Auto Designs. The rest, as they say, is history.

What started in 1991 as a three-man operation in a garage has grown to a 50,000-plus-square-foot facility with about 50 employees. “About 95 percent of our manufacturing is done in-house, in the USA, with materials purchased in the USA,” says Jim Frie, director of marketing for Cervini’s. The company is still owned by Cervini, and that original Cervini hood hangs proudly on the wall at the company’s state-of-the-art facility in Vineland, New Jersey.

In search of the right look and personality for Hypersilver, our 25th Anniversary project, we turned to Cervini’s. Being a hatchback GT, we had our hearts set on a Saleen-style wing, a small cowl-induction hood, and a body kit. We certainly love the look of the ’93 Cobra, but it’s been done so many times. Plus, we wanted something unique, not a clone of something else. So we picked the Stalker front bumper (PN 3334; $624.99), a 2.5-inch cowl hood (PN 105; $599.99), Cobra side skirts (PN 4335; $429.99), Cobra rear bumper (PN 3336; $399.99), and the SLN spoiler (PN 200; $339.99).

The hood and spoiler are high-quality fiberglass, the company’s specialty, and the rest, including the Stalker nose, is made from a state-of-the-art eurethane.

“The Stalker started off in fiberglass, then it was manufactured with an open-face eurethane mold. Now, all of our eurethane components are Reaction Injection Molded (RIM),” said Frie. “It’s much more consistent and provides more flexibility.” This is the same process that OEM manufacturers use to manufacture bumper covers, and Cervini’s has been using the RIM process for about 10 years.

Elsewhere on the exterior, we turned to National Parts Depot (NPD). It offers a comprehensive catalog of Fox-body Mustang restoration parts including moulding, trim, weatherstripping, and even body panels.

“At NPD, we put a high priority on going beyond the shallow-end categories of performance cosmetics, and dive all the way into the deep-end of comprehensive restoration needs...” said Rick Schmidt of NPD, “In effect, offering the entire swimming pool of parts for your Fox, in-stock and ready to ship, with the same dedication to quality that our ’65-’73 customers have known for decades.”

1. Demon Motorsports did a fine job welding up our engine bay, but Santiago had to use plastic body filler to smooth out the panels before he could paint. Summit Racing Equipment supplied all of the consumable materials like sandpaper, body fillers, and compounds.
2. Here is the engine bay nearly complete. It does need some primer and blocking, but we’re close. We decided to leave Demon’s welds and not smooth them out with filler.
3. Though the body was straight, it wasn’t perfect. “I want this thing to be as smooth as glass,” said Dean Santiago of Spike’s Performance. He began spreading a thin layer of plastic body filler over the body. Then, he sanded it smooth. Summit Racing Equipment supplied the product.
4. Santiago enlisted the help of expert bodyman Michael McFarlan. The two tag-teamed prepping Hypersilver for paint.
5. McFarlan filled the roof seam with a fiberglass-based, heavy-duty body filler called Duraglas.
6. Then he sanded it smooth and rebuilt the bodylines.
7. Meanwhile, Santiago worked on the doors. He applied thin layers of filler and sanded them smooth.
8. He also paid close attention to the bodylines, forming them by hand.
9. Santiago and McFarlan worked on the original hatch, but it was warped, so we snagged the one off the donor car.
10. Even though the roof skin that we used was pretty straight, Santiago applied a skim coat and sanded it smooth.
11. Here, the major bodywork is finished. It’s on the rotisserie, ready to be fitted with the body panels. After this photo was taken, we lowered the car onto jack stands so we could install the body panels.
12. Santiago fitted the Cervini’s ’93 Cobra-style rear bumper cover. Some light sanding had to be done so that the body lines fit perfectly.
13. Santiago and Martin Lucenilla installed and aligned the doors.
14. Then Santiago installed the new ’91-’93 fenders (PN F1ZZ-16005-2A, left, $59.95 and PN F1ZZ16006-2A, right, $59.95), which were supplied by National Parts Depot.
15. He then installed the one-piece Stalker nose from Cervini’s (PN 3334; $624.99)
16. Followed by the ’93 Cobra side skirts. These require ’91-’93 fenders, which have larger wheel openings.
17. He then fit the hatch and SLN spoiler. The ’93 LX hatch shown isn’t going to work, so we’ve ordered a used GT hatch from MPS Auto Salvage.
18. Minus paint (and everything else that bolts to the chassis), this is what Hypersilver is going to look like. We just threw on some headlights that were laying around to help with the look.
19. It’s amazing how a few body panels and headlights help a car come to life.
20. Wanda, an AkzoNobel brand, is supplying all of the primer and paint. We’ll bring you the rest of the paint and body in a future issue.
21. Former associate editor Pete Epple came back for a cameo appearance to help us fit our interior quarter-trim panels before they were sent off for upholstery.
22. Yeah, we know. We were supposed to dyno our engine this month. As you can see in this photo, we’re really close. Problem is, we didn’t quite make it onto the dyno, so we didn’t want to bring you the conclusion of the build without a dyno test. That will be next month.

Product Sponsors