Evan J. Smith
Mustang360 Network Content Director
February 27, 2012
Photos By: Mike Ficacci

If there is one thing that the staff of MM&FF loves, it's digging into a new project. Building fast Mustangs never gets old, as there is an endless list of parts and combinations to test and endless places to go racing. Planning the project is also part of the fun, as we love to discuss which powerplant or class will make for the most interesting results.

While most enthusiasts will modify their cars one step at a time (or a few mods at a time), the polar approach is to start from scratch with a bare shell and build the car in it's entirety before it hits the track. Ford Racing Performance Parts makes this easy with it's Body-In-White program, which offers you a brand-new Mustang shell, along with the critical parts to complete the project, and all for a reasonable price.

If you're wondering about the car shown in the photos, don't adjust your set. BIW Mustangs are not actually white, they come with a protective green e-coat, which we are told is an excellent for rust protection.

"The body-in-white kit is one of our racer friendly initiatives to help racers get on the track," said Jesse Kershaw of Ford Racing Performance Products. "We pre-sold all the 2010 body-in-white kits [about 40 in total], which allowed us to keep the pricing down. Our bodies are all factory perfect and we included the necessary trim to complete the car." Furthermore, each car is serialized (but not with a VIN), so we're speculating that can add value down the road.

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Over the years, the big three manufacturers have had different BIW programs available to racers, but none have been as inclusive as this one. In most cases, all you got was a bare shell and maybe some plastic work, but the FRPP kit offers much more.

"Included with the body are the crossmembers, front control arms and knuckles, and all body plugs," said Kershaw. "The interior kit includes all interior trim, carpet, dash, window motors and all fasteners/hardware. The exterior kit includes front fascia, rear valance, head and taillights, stock GT grille, glass, all weatherstripping, and all necessary brackets and fasteners. The seat kit includes complete front and rear seats.

"Because of the high take rate of all kits combined, and the complexity of boxing them separately, future BIW kits will include all the 2010 components in one kit," he added.

The BIW Mustangs cannot be titled or driven on the street, as they don't have a VIN, but if you're going racing, the benefits are many. For one, you'll be starting with a new, straight body that hasn't been subject to miles of street abuse. And there is no sound-deadening/undercoating to scrape off, which many racers have to do as there can be 40-plus pounds of the nasty stuff on a street car. Not only is removal messy, but it is also time consuming. In addition, this kit makes painting the car easier since there will be little to no bodywork necessary.

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It really doesn't matter if you're building a weekend bracket brawler, an NMRA heads-up machine, a Cobra Jet clone, or even a road racer, this is perhaps the ultimate way to start your next Ford racing project. Plus many racing sanctions only pay contingencies for modern model-era vehicles, making this another reason to switch to a newer body.

"With 40 kits sold in 2010, we're planning another run of kits for 2012 right after the 2013-model Cobra Jet build," added Kershaw. "Expect more information on the pricing and kit contents in the spring of 2012. The MSRP for the BIW with interior and exterior was $9,100," he added.

To give you an in-depth look into what it takes to prepare one, we're going to follow along with this BIW buildup, watching it go from a bare shell to a dragstrip terror using mostly bolt-in parts from the aftermarket. The idea is to keep with parts that are readily available for the S197 chassis, thus limiting the cost for custom fabrication. With the exception of a few items, such as a rollcage and paint, this will be a project you can do in your garage.

Next month we'll move into more of the fabrication and get moving on parts installation.

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