Dale Amy
January 1, 2004

Horse Sense: What we've built here is a sort of "generic" open-track car, not aimed at any particular track, series, or sanctioning body. If you have a particular form of competition in mind, spend some quality time with its rule book before making all the parts-purchase decisions. NASA's American Iron series, for instance, requires the use of a spec Toyo tire.

If you've been following our series on building a Mach 1 Racer, you already know the basic concept: Get on the track for as cheaply as possible in a brand-new Mach 1-powered Mustang that you assemble yourself like some form of graduate-level metal jigsaw puzzle. We've been following the assembly of a road racer, but a quarter-miler can be created just as easily. The secret is in utilizing a combination of factory and aftermarket hardware-from bodies-in-white and complete drivetrains to the tiny fasteners and other assembly hardware that would other-wise drive you nuts trying to track down. These are gathered up and made available at more-than-attractive package prices through the combined and concerted efforts of CDC Racing and Mustang Racing Technologies, otherwise known as MRT.

This month, we wrap up construction by affixing all the exterior pieces that make a Mustang actually look like a Mustang. We'll also add some small, but essential, racing paraphernalia that will make next month's visit to the road course a (hopefully) painless experience.

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For that glory-days-of-Trans-Am look, we went with the Bullitts and left the center caps off. Enough building-it's time to play. Next time, we'll wrap up our series on the Mach 1 Racer by hitting the road course and seeing how it all works.

"Affordable" is, of course, a relative term. A sum that's affordable to Bill Gates may well exceed the gross national product of such small nations as, say, Canada. Everyone has their own threshold of affordability, so we wouldn't dare suggest there's financial room in every household for a Mach 1 Racer. But as race cars go, it's a heck of a bargain.

CDC Racing and Mustang Racing Technologies set out to make it pos-sible to construct a spanking-new Mustang race car for less than $25,000, and the good news is they've succeeded with room to spare. The one we've put together here cost less than 23 grand using the hardware detailed in our series of articles. The accounting breaks down as follows.

Body-in-white (painted)$1,800
Mach 1 engine, tranny, and axle$5,950
CDC Racing: {{{Ford}}} OEM parts$6,450
Cage and dash (parts and labor)$3,000
Steeda 5-Link suspension$800
MRT and other aftermarket parts$3,{{{900}}}
Track tires$800
Total$22,700

These figures include all components used in the car, right down to spray bombs, lubricants, sheetmetal trim, and even the cost of wheel alignment. Other than for the cage installation, no labor costs are tallied, but the whole idea is to build it yourself anyway (that's what winter's for).Only you can decide if the Mach 1 Racer fits your own definition of affordable, but we're not aware of any other way to get an all-new car ready for track duty for anywhere near the price. See you at the track.