In our April 2010 issue, we reported on the Shelby GT500CS, a new Mustang customized to resemble the '69 GT500. The red fastback was so impressive that we put it on our cover. Carroll Shelby liked the idea too; he licensed the creator, Retrobuilt, a private company in Nixa, Missouri, to put the car into production with his blessing, including insertion into the Shelby World Registry. Shelby American added the "CS" to differentiate the car from the original.
What we didn't tell you is that Retrobuilt was already transforming another S197 Mustang into a modern facsimile of a '69 Mach 1.
"Is this an old car or a new car?" we asked Clinton White, who owns Retrobuilt with his son, Clinton White II.
"It's a new old car," White laughed.
Retrobuilt starts with any...
Retrobuilt starts with any '05 and later Mustang for the Mach 1 conversion. They unbolt the stock S197 front clip and attach a new set of custom fiberglass fenders and hood. Doors and rear quarter are reskinned, while the chrome moldings around the front wheels are modified for the wider fit.
A new car with old styling might be more descriptive since underneath the jazzed up body is an '05 or later Mustang. This particular Grabber Blue fastback is a '10 model.
From a distance, you may have trouble convincing your eyeballs that the fastback is not a vintage '69 model. However, the S197 Mustang chassis is three to four inches wider, so Retrobuilt helps the illusion with trick changes, such as the front bumper. They start with an original '69 bumper and add two inches to each side. The rear Sport Slats are off-the-shelf for the S197, but Retrobuilt must modify the mounting hardware to fit the modified late-model body. After all, the biggest part of the job is customizing the new Mustang to look vintage. This job involves unbolting the front clip, bumper cover, and rear decklid, and hanging quarters and door shells. The hood, front fenders, doors, quarters, and rear decklid are fiberglass. When the cars are finished, about the only original piece left is the roof.
Factory '69 Mustang components are limited to the headlight buckets, side marker lights, and chrome door handles. The rear spoiler is a modified '69 unit, cut and widened for fit. The pedestal mounts are vintage '69.
Overall, the resemblance to a '69 Mach 1 is striking.
The buyer can pick any hood...
The buyer can pick any hood and stripe treatment he desires. The owner of this car wanted his "Retro GT" to resemble a Mach 1.
Inside, Retrobuilt ordered a deluxe interior with the vertical inserts in the seats and foot well lighting. Retrobuilt didn't think any changes were necessary to the interior, which Clinton describes as "pretty fancy to start with."
Shelby American gave Retrobuilt a license for the GT500CS. At present, Retrobuilt is negotiating with Ford to produce the Mach 1 and a Boss 302 (see "A Boss Too" sidebar). For now, Retrobuilt advertises and sells the cars under the "Retro GT" name. It's up to the customer, if he so desires, to add the Mach 1 or Boss 302 stripes. Marion Stevens owns this Mach 1 and the Boss 302 in the sidebar. He customized them into the '69 Mach 1 and Boss.
Although this '10 Mach 1 is powered by the 4.6L V-8 with the five-speed manual transmission, Retrobuilt can start with an '11 GT with the 5.0-liter Coyote engine, making it perfect for a Boss 302. The Mach 1 and Boss 302 both have Shaker hoodscoops from Classic Design Concepts, although customers can request a flat hood or even a large Boss 429 scoop.
Retrobuilt adds two inches...
Retrobuilt adds two inches to each side of the vintage '69 Mustang front and rear bumpers to make them fit. The rear decklid and taillight panel are totally new. Rear louvers and spoiler are optional. Like the original '69 spoiler, Retrobuilt's is made from fiberglass, just wider to fit the S197.
Retrobuilt's Clinton White...
Retrobuilt's Clinton White shows off two of the company's latest GT500CS models, including a convertible model. Notice the '69 Shelby-style rear end treatment, including the center-mount exhaust outlets. Previously, the GT500CS came with the S197 rear end.
Wheels are Shelby American's...
Wheels are Shelby American's Magnum 500 style, measuring 18x8 inches front and rear. The owner of this car preferred the painted centers, which are custom to this car. However, a more traditional look is black centers. Ten-spokes are optional.
Like the bumpers, the door...
Like the bumpers, the door handles are chrome versions for a '69 Mustang.
Built on a '10 Mustang GT,...
Built on a '10 Mustang GT, Retrobuilt's Grabber Blue Mach 1 is powered by a stock 4.6-liter topped by a functional Classic Design Concepts Shaker hoodscoop.
The interior is stock, but...
The interior is stock, but looks worthy of a Mach 1.