If you worked with nothing but Mustangs for a living, day in and day out, would you still run home and wrench on them as a hobby? Does your interest in the world's first and best ponycar run the gamut from earliest to most recent? If you can honestly answer those questions in the affirmative, then you can join Scott Hoag as one of our hobby's true believers.
Some readers may immediately recognize Scott's name and its significance to the world of late-model Mustangs. Others may have heard his name in passing, but can't remember why they should care. For this latter group, and for those to whom his name means no more than "John Smith," an introduction may be in order. Until fairly recently, Scott Hoag's business card read: "Mustang Customization Manager, Ford Motor Company," a Team Mustang position in which he was largely responsible for wrestling the '01 Bullitt and '03 Mach 1 specialty models through the corporate chain of command and out to a waiting market. As an enthusiast on the inside, he was tireless in convincing the Dearborn automaker to build Mustangs for fellow enthusiasts. About a year ago, Hoag made the decision to leave Ford in order to partner in an enterprise known as Mustang Racing Technologies (see sidebar, "A Horse of a Different Color"), a firm dedicated to high-performance hardware for street and track Mustangs.
So you can see that Scott's professional life revolves around the current production versions of the Mustang, but that didn't stop him from always having a hankering for a classic. He specifically wanted a '67 to '70 big-block.
"While traveling on business for Ford, I would always visit the local 7-Eleven where I would buy a local car trader magazine," Scott explains. "It took many years of searching before I found an ad in the Phoenix-area trader that described a green 428 Mach 1. As I read the ad, it sounded like a car I had called about several months prior. It turned out to be the same car ... but now it was in my price range."
Since it was deemed affordable by both Scott and his wife, Lisa, they quickly decided to buy and ship the Mach 1 home to Michigan, despite a considerable list of shortcomings, such as no Shaker, no factory exhaust or smog equipment, a dented hood and front valance, an incorrect rear valance, badly scratched glass, torn seats, wrong carpet, interior parts painted (!) the wrong color, a shot suspension, cut and/or missing wiring, an unsuccessfully repaired thrown connecting rod, a hard-shifting gearbox, the wrong wheels, no rev limiter, and many other incorrect parts.
But on the positive side, "It was rust-free and had an R-code 428," says Scott.
Upon getting the Mach up north, the Hoags decided to put some miles on their new purchase before winter closed in. All went reasonably well until one night the car caught fire in their driveway, causing a mad scramble to locate the only fire extinguisher on their whole property (now there are over half a dozen, including one in the car). The problem turned out to be a broken power-steering line that had sprayed a header, catching fire and burning a hole in the oil-pressure-gauge line, which, in turn, sprayed all over the back of the engine. The decision was made then and there to do an in-house restoration-nothing fancy, mind you, and with some planned modifications to improve the driving experience. So, over the long Midwest winter, Scott, Lisa, and "fellow Mustang maniac" Larry Deck got to work on their restification, adding a Crane solid-lifter cam, a ported aluminum Police Interceptor intake, a Centerforce clutch, long-tube headers feeding a 3-inch exhaust, a tilt steering column, and a Shelby console gauge pod.
What emerged the following spring is what you see here: a 428 CJ Ram-Air Mach 1 that serves occasional-and spirited-driving duty and, in the process, helps relieve whatever tensions Scott might accumulate in his daily grind of, well, Mustangs. It's attitude adjustment with attitude.
A Horse of a Different ColorThis is some of what Scott Hoag now does for a living: the Mach1 Racer, the result of a collaboration between Mustang Racing Technologies (MRT) and George Huisman's CDC Racing (CDC-R.) It seems Scott, George, and their partners, including StangNet's Mike Raburn, all have a weakness for open-tracking and road racing. The idea was to use their Motor City connections to put together a program whereby aspiring racers could start with a production-line-reject Mustang unibody shell, and build it up, piece by piece, into a competitive grassroots track car equipped with a complete, brand-new 305hp '03 Mach 1 drivetrain, all for under $25,000. So was born the Mach1 Racer program, examples of which are now pounding racetrack pavements across America.
This is Scott's personal Racer, which he successfully campaigned last summer in the National Auto Sport Association's (NASA) American Iron Extreme (AIX) series. If you'd like to learn more, check out MRT's Web site at www.mustangracing.com. It seems only fitting that Scott's other play-toy should also be a Mach 1.