Originally, this special-tech feature was planned as an all-encompassing Mustang Restomod Guide. But as we delved into the subject, we realized the restomod movement has grown well beyond a single magazine section, so we decided to split the guide into four sections over four issues. This month, we're looking at some of the most popular exterior modifications for vintage Mustangs. Next month, we'll tackle the drivetrain-engine, transmission, and rearend-followed by guides to restomod the suspension and the interior.
Stock to Restomod
While restomod incorporates a lot more than appearance, looks can make the restomod. In this case, George Huisman transformed the appearance of a '69 Mach 1 from stock to restomod by replacing the 14-inch factory wheels with 17x8-inch Torque-Thrust IIs from American Racing. The car's stance was improved with lowering blocks and front springs as part of National Parts Depot's all-in-one suspension kit, PN 5000-2A. The original drum brakes weren't very impressive behind the larger, open-spoke wheels, so George replaced them with Baer four-wheel discs, filling the wheel gaps with wicked-looking slotted and drilled rotors.
One of the most popular Mustang restomod themes captures the look of original Mustang musclecars, only the appearance is even more muscular. One way to obtain a vintage-musclecar look is through the use of stripes. Most utilize factory versions, such as GT or Shelby rocker-panel stripes, Mach 1, or Boss, some varying the theme by changing engine-displacement numbers or vehicle designation. Shelby LeMans stripes are also popular. Replacement stripes are available from most Mustang parts vendors. A company called Graphics Express not only offers original ones, but it also customizes them. For example, '69 Boss 302 stripes can have another displacement number replacing the "302" or '65-'66 GT stripes can come without the cutouts for lettering. They are also available in custom colors.
Over-the-top stripes are found in many forms-single, narrow/wide/narrow, and so on-but by far the most popular are the dual stripes made famous on the '65-'66 Shelbys, known as LeMans stripes. These are typically painted on. Originally, the stripes were wider at the front than at the rear, preventing the optical illusion of the stripes narrowing when viewing the car from the front. The dimensions for the '65-'66 Shelby stripes can be found in the Tony Branda Performance catalog or on the Web site at www.cobranda.com.
Bring On The Billet
Restomod is stretching beyond the usual scoops, wheels, and stripes, and moving into the street-rod realm with the introduction of billet-aluminum accessories similar to these '65-'66 taillight bezels from K.A.R. Auto Group. As used on K.A.R.'s STE Classic Mustang, the bezels are a quick visual upgrade compared to the original chrome versions.
K.A.R. also offers a number...
K.A.R. also offers a number of billet-aluminum gas caps for '65-'73 Mustangs, similar to this one with the running horse emblem. Other versions include GT or Cobra emblems, in addition to plain and black anodized.
Recognizing the popularity...
Recognizing the popularity of the Eleanor look for '67-'68 fastbacks, Mustang Depot created its own E2 body kit for earlier Mustangs.
The Eleanorized '67 Shelby blasted into our world with the debut of Gone in 60 Seconds in 2001. Now they're everywhere, even as '65-'66 models, and their popularity won't go away. Even Carroll Shelby jumped on the bandwagon with the GT500E continuation Shelby from Unique Performance, an alliance that has resulted in the availability of a GT500E body kit. The kit includes all the components needed to convert a '67-'68 Mustang into an Eleanor look-alike: hood, nose, headlight and rocker panels, scoops, rear decklid, and taillight panel. Installation and color choice is up to you.