Set on a dolly, this is what...
Set on a dolly, this is what the new Dynacorn body looks like right out of the packing crate. Although it arrived with a fresh coat of primer, Autoworks sent the body shell out to be media-blasted and then coated with a special two-part epoxy primer.
When the new Dynacorn '67 Mustang replacement body shell arrived at Autoworks International, there was great interest and excitement as it became clear the newly introduced piece is a terrific product. With the Dynacorn shell, we get a chance to build what is essentially a new '67-'68 Mustang fastback any way we like. The Dynacorn body is an excellent basis for almost any classic-Mustang project for several reasons in addition to being perfectly clean and straight.
When we compared the new Dynacorn shell to a stock '67 Mustang fastback body shell in our July issue ("Revolutionary Replacement"), we discovered the new body shell had been reinforced in a number of significant ways. These improvements are especially important for those planning on a big-block engine or some sort of performance driving (autocross, road race, or drag racing).
First, the underbody torque boxes from the '68 convertible are incorporated into the new body on both sides. In addition, there is a robust seat pan, also borrowed from the convertible body style, which spans the width of the floorpan for greatly improved rigidity. Also in the new body are big-block-style shock towers patterned after those in the '69 Cobra Jet Mustang. They feature layered-steel reinforcement jacketing the base of the tower. The new body also has thicker sheetmetal in many places.
Autoworks will use a whole array of aftermarket products in the construction of this Mustang project. Although the company won't disclose its plans for the whole length of the project just yet (this is being filmed for SPEED's Chop Cut Rebuild, and we can't say too much until the episodes start airing), we do know plans include both a front and rear suspension from RRS.
Let's check in on the project to see how it's going and what has been completed so far in our quest to build a complete Mustang from a Dynacorn replacement body.
The Fork In The Road
In a project like this one, an important choice has to be made early in the decision process. Will the finished car feature the most advanced in aftermarket offerings, or will it adhere to a theme of originality in design and equipment-or something in between? This decision will affect not only vehicle performance, but also impact the cost of the project overall. Whether your selections are directed by cost or by choice, we thought it would be interesting to see how much the two pathways diverged in terms of expense.
In this short space, we can't account for every clip and washer needed to assemble the Dynacorn body into a complete car. However, we can make a general comparison to give you an idea of how expensive some of the major component choices will be as we go along. Let's compare the two different strategies for this month's suspension installation. The stock components we chose were new, and the prices quoted are from popular suppliers. The modified side of the table reflects the price of what actually went onto the Dynacorn body and 8-inch rear axle.
We plan to keep a running tab of the Dynacorn buildup with updated project costs on each portion of the build we cover. But remember, this particular car is being built as a show-stopping SEMA car, so it's getting the best of everything, and the price to build it will be much higher than for someone using the Dynacorn body for a mild restomod or as a true replacement for their own rusty fastback. So don't let the final costs scare you out of building your own Dynacorn fastback; we're sure it can be done for much less.
In addition to the body shell,...
In addition to the body shell, there are many crates from Dynacorn to open and parts to inventory. There's also a pair of front fenders and this GT500-style hood, which has a fiberglass outer skin and a steel subframe.
The body is shown here in...
The body is shown here in its new coat of epoxy primer. Matt Couper does some reinforcement welding where the torque boxes meet the underside of the framerails.
Other seams are closed up...
Other seams are closed up as well, such as the rear valance panel. Tricks like this tighten up the body, and the seamless surfaces look great when the paint is finished.
After they are completed,...
After they are completed, the welds are cleaned and blended with a grinder. A dummy engine-complete with a manual transmission and headers-has been installed in the car so that all clearances can be checked as work progresses.
After careful measurement,...
After careful measurement, the mounting brackets for the rack-and-pinion steering rack are installed onto the car. It's reassuring to see exactly where the oil pan will be before the drilling of holes and the placement of components begins.
The steering rack is heavy,...
The steering rack is heavy, so a two-person installation is a good idea. Once the rack is positioned correctly, one person holds the rack in place while the other installs the fasteners.
The heart of the front suspension...
The heart of the front suspension is this investment-cast steering knuckle. It is equipped with 13-inch moly-carbide rotors, which are slotted for improved performance. The two-piston calipers RRS uses on its Phase III are from PBR.
The MacPherson-type struts...
The MacPherson-type struts used in the RRS front suspension are shown here, along with new lower control arms. The upper control arm is completely eliminated.
This photo shows how the spherical...
This photo shows how the spherical mounting point looks in place on the upper end of the strut. Next, the strut assembly is inserted into the shock tower and held in position.
With the MacPherson strut...
With the MacPherson strut held in place from the underside, the strut attachment to the tower is completed.
The strut and steering knuckle...
The strut and steering knuckle look like this once installed. The lower control arms are stock-style stampings but are boxed for reinforcement.
The front strut rod brackets...
The front strut rod brackets are not on the car as it comes out of the crate. Their placement is measured exactly, and then the parts are held in position with locking pliers. Here, the brackets are welded into place.
While Couper goes to fetch...
While Couper goes to fetch the new strut rods, Robert Emery takes the opportunity to install the tie rods to the steering rack and knuckles.
Couper and Emery make quick...
Couper and Emery make quick work of the strut-rod install. The rods attach at the back end to the lower control arms and adjust caster as they are moved forward or back during the alignment process.
Because of its weight and...
Because of its weight and awkward shape, this 1-inch-diameter antisway bar is also a two-man job. it is hoisted into place where it will be installed onto the framerails. Links on the sway-bar ends then go to the lower control arms.
Here is the completed RRS...
Here is the completed RRS strut suspension installation. The steering rack will attach to either a modified stock column or an aftermarket column.
Turning our attention to the...
Turning our attention to the rear suspension, the center crossmember is located and held in place with C-clamps. When the required holes are completed, the fasteners will be installed. The crossmember serves as the pivot point for the rear axle torque arm.
The same exacting care is...
The same exacting care is used in locating the rear-suspension crossmember. The large V-shaped structure is the mounting point for the rear-axle Watt's linkage.
|Stock ||Modified |
|Front suspension ||$329 |
|RRS Phase III front end |
|Springs, sway bars, |
shocks, both F&R
|$639 ||RRS three-link rear ||$3,500 |
|Manual-steering box ||$375 ||Rack-and-pinion steering |
(power steering extra)
|Pitman arm, tie rods, |
drag link, and idler arm
|Aluminum gear case ||$390 |
|Front spindles ||$299 ||8-inch housing ||$199 |
|Force10 disc brakes |
(comparable to RRS)
|$2,009 ||31-spline axles ||$399 |
| ||8-inch Trac Loc differential ||$399 |
|Salvage rear axle ||$500 ||3.25 ring-and-pinion ||$200 |
| ||Cobra rear-disc brakes ||$499 |
|Suspension/Brake Total ||$4,451 ||Suspension/Brake Total ||$11,931 |
|Dynacorn body ||$15,500 ||Dynacorn body ||$15,500 |
|Project Total ||$19,951 ||Project Total ||$27,431 |
Here's the bulk of the rear...
Here's the bulk of the rear suspension goodies ready to go onto the car. The two trailing arms will securely locate the rear axle. The springs in the coilover shocks completely replace the old leaf springs and carry the entire rear weight of the car. The long torque arm attaches to the pinion-housing bolt pattern and eliminates axle wind up.
We are using a transmission...
We are using a transmission jack to support the axle assembly as the rear suspension components are installed, leaving the fasteners loose.
Because a large wheel-and-tire...
Because a large wheel-and-tire assembly will no doubt be used, space will be tight. It's imperative the axle is positioned exactly on center within the car. Here, one side measurement is checked against the other.
Satisfied that the axle is...
Satisfied that the axle is in the correct position, we continue the suspension assembly. the Watt's linkage is installed; its purpose is to eliminate side-to-side movement of the axlehousing.
Next, Emery lifts the rear-axle...
Next, Emery lifts the rear-axle torque arm into place where it will be installed onto the pinion housing. The long moment of leverage means the axle can't twist at all.
This is the completed rear...
This is the completed rear suspension. It will be a slick and modern setup when combined with the RRS front suspension, and we know this car is going to handle nicely. Keep checking back with Mustang & Fords for ongoing coverage of the Dynacorn/Autoworks project.