Ford has hit a home run with the newly designed "retro" 2005 Mustang. Ford wanted to build a car that appealed to a wide range of consumers and after seeing all the people huddled around the 2005 Mustangs at the local dealership, they may have just done that. If you're wondering why there is mention of the 2005 Mustang, it is because Larry Weiner's Performance West Group built the stunning 1967 Mustang you see here as a companion vehicle to a 2005 Mustang they created in conjunction with the Ford Image Team, both of which debuted at the 2004 SEMA Show in Las Vegas, NV. If you were at the event, you might have asked yourself, "Which came first, the 1967 or the 2005?" Actually, if you can get your hands on a 2005 Mustang brochure or view the 2005 Mustang at Ford's website while looking at this article, you might ask the same question.
Clearly the 1967 model came before the 2005 model, but the 2005 Mustang has design cues taken from the 1967 Mustang and Performance West Group's 1967 Mustang GT/R-Code has design cues taken from the 2005 model. It really is neat the way the guys at Performance West Group worked the new into the old and how Ford worked the old into the new. That was the intent for both, and man, did they ever do a great job.
Performance West Group, a company founded by Larry Weiner, builds "Image Vehicles" to showcase, or market a company (or companies) and/or their product(s). Larry and crew also put together a huge publicity campaign that places the vehicle in shows and events all around the nation. This has proven to be very successful for Performance West Group and their customers, so there is little wonder why Larry worked with Ford to build the 2005 Mustang, complemented by the matching 1967 Mustang, to debut at the SEMA Show. The only problem, he wasn't sure if his crew in Vista, California, would have the time to complete the car considering the other vehicles they had already committed to build and show.
Not wanting to turn such an exciting project away, Larry called on a trusted and long-time friend, Howard Brook, now residing in Williamsville, NY, to see if he would be interested in being a long-distance project manager for the 1967 Mustang. Larry didn't have to ask twice and the hunt was on for a solid vehicle to build upon. Fate would have it that another friend of Larry's in California knew about a 1967 Fastback that had been used as a "driver" that was (at that time) in storage. Arrangements were made to see the car and it appeared to be in great shape, but you never really know until you start taking the car apart. Nevertheless, the deal was made and the car that almost wasn't was sent on its way across the country.
Within three days of arrival, Howard Brook had taken the car apart and had the body on the rotisserie. Fortunately, the car was in very good shape and Ken Pedzek of Aero Collision and Fabrication in Lancaster, NY was able to concentrate on the fitment of the body kit pieces and the finish. Look closely at the lower body ground effects kit and the GT 500 B-pillar scoops and spoiler end caps. There are no seams. That detail makes the GT 500 body parts look like they are more a part of the car as opposed to an added -on kit. That subtle detail adds a soothing elegance to the already graceful lines of the '67.
With the body off the car, Howard started working on the chassis improvements. Rod and Custom Motorsports supplied the tubular upper and lower control arms, 2-inch drop spindles, coil-overs, sway bar, and power rack and pinion steering for the front of the car. Reversed eye parallel leaf springs from Mustangs Plus connect the Drive Train Specialists 9-inch Ford rear end, while providing the appropriate stance for the rear.
When it came time to decide on the wheels, 18x7 and 18x8 Hurst wheels (based on the original Hurst design) from Oasis Alloy got the nod. Since the 2005 Mustang comes shod with BF Goodrich tires, 225/40ZR18 g-Force T/A KDW for the front and 235/50ZR18 for the rear where chosen for the 1967 GT/R-Code. The wheels and tires are a critical choice for the g-Machine theme and this combination works perfectly for looks and function. Larry was quick to point out that they always upgrade the braking system to handle the heavier rotating mass of the much larger-than-stock wheels and tires. "We take a holistic approach to the vehicles we build. We don't just throw a big set of wheels and tires on without going with big brakes also." That's why three-piston billet calipers and 13-inch slotted rotors from Stainless Steel Brakes Corporation are at all four corners to make sure the car brakes as good as it handles and runs. How good? How does 60-0 mph in 96-feet, 1.0 lateral g, and 0-60 mph in 4.0 seconds sound?
Larry says the only problem they seem to have with the car is straight-line traction. While the car is still new and there hasn't been time to do much tweaking to the suspension, the problem has more to do with the horsepower from the supercharged 4.6 modular engine, 5-speed Tremec, and 3.55 gears than it does with the suspension. That's one "problem" most people wouldn't mind having.
The powerplant is a brand new 2004 model 4.6-liter crate engine with a Kenne Bell 1700 (1.7L) twin-screw supercharger. Larry can't say enough good things about the folks at Kenne Bell, Howard Brook, and Jim Fleishman. Anyone who's installed a late-model engine in an older car will tell you, if there is one thing that is going to give you trouble, it is the wiring. Jim Fleishman is a friend of a friend of Howard who wired the car with a 2003 Mustang wiring harness. Larry was extremely pleased that after few long-distant phone conferences between Howard and Jim Bell (of Kenne Bell), the car fired up at the first twist of the key.
Larry claims, "We were not trying to build a Shelby or Eleanor clone, this car is more than that, but if you've seen "Gone in 60 Seconds" with Nicolas Cage, our '67 GT/R-Code sounds a lot like Eleanor, just a little meaner." There's no reason to doubt that, considering the sound from the car is coming from an X-Pipe MagnaPak exhaust system from Magnaflow Performance that helps the supercharged engine pump out 500 horses at 6,000 rpm and 522 lb.-ft. of torque at 4,500 rpm. That kind of power easily propels the car to 11.8-second quarter-mile times at speeds around 117 mph.
When you build a car, sometimes you compromise, sometimes you don't and there were very few compromises on this build. Only the best of the best suppliers and parts were used. This includes the interior pieces as well. Pro Car seats covered in a combination of black leather, red suede, and silver leather trim from Katzkin Leather wraps the driver in luxurious, yet sporty comfort, while he or she grasps the 3-spoke Grant steering wheel in one hand and the Hurst shifter in the other. Katzkin leather also supplied the custom suede door panel inserts. As intended, the interior looks very much like the 2005 Mustang interior with the interior upgrade and color accent packages.
Maybe it's the smooth yet defined bodylines, glass-like DuPont Silver Pearl paint, the stance provided by the dropped suspension and 18-inch meat, the supercharged V8, or the updated custom interior. Whatever "it" is, it is captivating, regardless of where your manufacturer loyalty lies.Yes sir, if Ford hit a homerun with the 2005 Mustang, the Performance West Group's crew has knocked the ball out of the park with their 1967 Mustang GT/R-Code.