Dale Amy
November 1, 2003
A blank palette waiting for artistic attention, our Mach1 Racer's interior is nothing more than a well-caged metal cave with an off-color steering wheel, bolted on to give temporary mobility around the shop. It won't look this way for long.

Horse Sense: At the least, you'll likely want accurate aftermarket oil-temperature and oil-pressure gauges, along with one to keep an eye on fuel pressure. It's also advisable to use a T-fitting for any sensors having a corresponding cluster idiot light, since it's always better to have redundant warning capability to advise of looming disasters such as low oil pressure.

We're getting close now. This is our third installment in the ground-up assembly of a Mach 1 Racer, the track-bred collaboration of CDC Racing and Mustang Racing Technologies. The premise of this exciting concept is quite simple-the construction of a race-ready Mustang out of all-new factory and aftermarket parts, without necessitating a third mortgage on the bungalow or becoming a local distributor of Columbian agricultural products.

Making the Mach 1 Racer unique is the fact that CDC Racing has gathered all the necessary Mustang assembly hardware-from body-in-white right down to the smallest nutclip-and has done so in a fashion that less than $25,000 needs to change hands in order to build yourself a competitive track toy.

In previous issues, beginning with a stoutly caged unibody, we laid the groundwork with factory wiring and plumbing hardware, installed a factory-fresh Mach 1 305hp DOHC and TTC 3650 drivetrain, and bolted on brakes and suspension that should be both agile and durable under the demanding rigors of road-course use. This month we turn our attention inward and transform an empty shell of an interior into a functional, safe, and comfortable cockpit from which to direct our upcoming assault on the pavement.

Until now, factory parts constituted the majority of our component list, with them all being bundled into comprehensive packages by CDC Racing, for quick assembly without frequent trips to the local Pep Boys. For the interior, however, we'll depart greatly from factory Mustang assembly practice, shunning such unnecessary and weighty amenities as side-window glass, HVAC equipment, rear seats, carpeting, interior trim, and entertainment hardware. When it comes to front seats, belts, a steering wheel, and instrumentation, we'll choose from the dedicated race hardware on Mustang Racing Technologies' aftermarket menu.

There are no power-window motors or lock actuators here. We'll install only what we need to make the doors functional, including the exterior handles; the interior door-latch assembly; the striker-plate hardware; and the triangular, outside rearview-mirror molding. The longer of the two linkage rods would normally be used for the door-lock button, but since there's no need to lock a race car, we won't use it. The long part around the perimeter is a roof/window molding, and we won't be installing it until next time, when we finish off the Mach 1 Racer's exterior.

Two studs on the exterior door handles pass through holes in the door-skin and are secured by locking nuts. But before attempting this simple task, a linkage rod is inserted through a holed tab on the handles. These rods will connect the handles to their respective latch mechanisms and are side-specific-the rod with the red paint markings is for the driver door, while the passenger side gets a green-daubed one.

The door latch/ interior-handle assembly comes next. The latch is secured by three bolts to the rear face of the door skin. Notice that much of the driver door's interior skin has been cut away to clear that side's bulging rollcage door tubes (the passenger-side door remains in factory form).