This 1969 Mustang is also known as “The Real Thing!” This is an amazing car with a lot of body modifications, and one of my favorite projects. Initially, the vision was much like the old funny cars, such as Gas Ronda.
My friend, Tom, owns this rig, and he, his son, Tim, and I just sat in his office dreaming of ways to modify this car. I started sketching, and we started making changes that Tom and Tim always wanted to make. We talked about changing the roofline, widening the rear of the car and just giving it a whole new stance.
Once Tom agreed on the drawings, the fun began. We actually bought a donor car so we could practice and make sure we were heading in the right direction. Once we determined how to chop it, change the roofline and widen it, we went to work on The Real Thing!
Tom was interested in custom chassis and asked me to do some research. Every chassis I reviewed had some aspect that didn’t fit this project since we wanted to leave the same amount of headroom as a factory ‘69. So, I built the chassis to keep the height from floor to roof without extending below the body to maintain ground clearance. We made custom inner fenders that widen the engine compartment and separate the car and core support.
Tom hired a production company to film the making of the car, and the finished product was unveiled in Las Vegas at the SEMA show by Mario Andretti. Mario was the perfect choice since the motor is one of ten all-aluminum 494s that Ford made in 1969 for his Can-Am car. The motor has been updated with state-of-the-art technology, including an original intake with modern electronic fuel injection. A manual six-speed that transfers power to the 18-inch-wide tires backs this motor. We used 2011 Mustang gauges and hand made the grill, dash and all other interior components.
The chassis and suspension are BSI. We used a 3-inch, stainless steel Magnaflow exhaust, Brembo 14-inch brakes, Rushforth wheels (18 x 15, rear and 18 x 8, front) and Mickey Thompson Tires. The radiator is by C&R Racing, and the steering column and steering wheel are Flaming River. Upholstery by Bill Dunn and climate control by Vintage Air keep this Viper Red Mustang as cool as it looks.
This car was a blast to chop, a pleasure to look at and a thrill to drive. The Real Thing! does not disappoint.