In literary terminology, referring to something as a harbinger carries considerable weight. In a simple lexicon, it’s defined as “one that indicates or foreshadows what is to come; a forerunner.” That sounds like hype or hyperbole when slapped on a matte black Mustang, but, in fact, there truly is much more than meets the eye with this particular 1969 Ford Mustang.
To begin, this isn’t a one-off toy for a rich boy; it’s actually the prototype for a new line of extreme Mustang roller chassis. Like an OEM body-in-white program where bare bodies are prepped for racers to complete to their own spec, competition-ready Harbingers are created from scratch by Agent 47 with Dynacorn ’69 Mustang bodies. That’s not an embellishment; packages can be configured to be legal for just about any racing class, ranging from the loose rules on regular weekend warrior open-track cars, to the more exacting regulations placed on competitors racing in American V-8 Supercar Series, and pretty much everything in between. So right away, this car represents something muscle lovers have never had access to.
Now the concept of a track car roller isn’t new to the hobby in itself, and even with configurable specs, it’s not exactly revolutionary. What makes this car different is in the level of execution and sophistication of the parts and company behind them.
So who are these Agent 47 guys, anyway? Gamers might recognize the label as the same applied to the stealthy assassin-for-hire with a flawless record in the popular game series titled Hitman. That character is actually a genetically enhanced clone created by criminal masterminds who donated their own DNA. In much the same way, this company arose through the mixture of the latest in rapid prototyping and manufacturing available at Forecast3D, Agent 47’s parent company, and the decades of racing experience of Bill Osborne, who is likely best known to PHR readers as the chassis designer and fabricator for the legendary Big Red Camaro.
Corey Weber of Forecast3D and Osborne became friends while Osborne was building a ’64 Corvette for Weber. Through bench racing, the two eventually formulated a plan to create what would be the ultimate near turnkey muscle car. Originally, they would have basically been clones of Big Red. But the platform eventually migrated to Mustangs, with the ’69-70 being a nod to classic Trans-Am racing, and the ability to squeeze more aggressive suspension and tire packages under stock sheetmetal. Osborne started from scratch using Forecast3D’s incredible in-house fabrication and prototyping capabilities to design something NASCAR-inspired, but with a thoroughly unique V-link rear suspension package and SLA-style front suspension.
Before moving forward with what would become the Harbinger, the suspension was initially applied to Fox and SN-95 chassis Mustangs for on-track testing and development in various racing series. The suspension worked well in competition, gathering many wins and a couple of championships, so Weber and Osborne knew they were ready to move on to their ultimate goal. But considering what was at their disposal, they weren’t going to just slap a bunch of parts on a Mustang to make it sound cool for the guys down at the local cruise-in.
Beyond the distinctive suspension, what really makes Harbinger stand out is not the vintage Trans-Am mixed with new-technology style of the car. That’s what makes it positively sinister looking, but it’s the technology that went into creating many of the parts that marks a watershed moment in hot rodding. Rather than hand-fabrication by artisan metalshapers that we’re accustomed to, most of the parts created for Harbinger were designed using systems and processes rarely used in our corner of the industry. These include stereolithography (SLA), direct metal laser sintering (DMLS), selective laser sintering (SLS), and RTV Short Run Tooling. (See more about these processes in “The Future Is Now,” elsewhere in this issue.)
The engine is set as far back...
The engine is set as far back and as far down as possible without modifying the firewall, per American Iron rules. Thanks to the Dart aluminum block, weight bias is roughly 50/50. The Trans-Am–inspired airbox will be available soon.
The cool center console was...
The cool center console was created with stereolithography and controls most of the critical functions, including push-button start and iPod. (Bryan Rogers had Guns N’ Roses playing!)
It’s impossible to tell, but...
It’s impossible to tell, but those headlight buckets (and taillights) were created with RTV Short Run Tooling and weigh a fraction of the heavy pot metal originals. That helps take weight off in a critical area. The chin spoiler is RTV as well; the brake scoops are made through selective laser sintering.
The machines and infrastructure it takes to successfully use those manufacturing methods have been around for a couple decades, but remain typically in the high-tech and OEM realm. They’ve been used to produce concept cars, but to our knowledge the Harbinger is the first muscle car to rely heavily upon them, and it’s definitely the first one available with these technologies on a production level. And according to Agent 47, it’s an on-going experiment. They plan to continue using this car, and Forecast3D’s machines, to develop and design more products for ’69-70 Mustangs, and earlier ones down the road.
Does that mean this machine was built by machines? Not at all. Computers aren’t artists or innovators, so just like any hot rod shop there was a highly talented crew, including Josh Tieman, Roger George, Lathe Sailor, Mike Winston, and Bryan Rogers handling the design work, fabrication, and wrenching. They just had some more advanced equipment on their side. The result is what may be the ultimate off-the-shelf, call-up-and-order-it, competition muscle car roller. You don’t have to take our word for it, though. Agent 47 has had numerous test sessions dialing in the suspension and driveline, and has so far run a 1:30 lap at Willow Springs. Check out the videos on PopularHotRodding.com
. Beyond that, there’s serious discussion about putting the Harbinger in the American Iron or American V-8 Supercar Series.
Traditional hot rod building isn’t going away, but we are getting a taste of what cutting-edge technology will bring to build better rods. If indeed this Harbinger car is an omen that portends of things to come in the hot rodding hobby, we’ve got high expectations for the future!
Oiling: custom pan with Aviaid dry-sump system
Rotating assembly: RPM 4340 forged crank, Oliver 6-inch rods, 10.7:1 Race Tech forged pistons
Cylinder heads: canted-valve Avenger XTC with 2.20 intake and 1.675 exhaust valves, custom CNC work by Ford Performance Solutions
Camshaft: Pacific Performance Products solid-roller with .637-inch lift, 258 degrees duration at .050
Valvetrain: T&D aluminum shaft-mount rockers
Induction: 830-cfm Holley carb on a modified Edelbrock 2938 intake
Exhaust: 4-inch stainless steel exhaust, custom 1.75-inch polished headers, single Spintech muffler by Richard’s Performance Muffler
Fuel system: Fuel Safe cell, Aeromotive pump, Jones Racing black nylon braided lines
Ignition: MSD billet distributor, Super Conductor wires, 6AL box
Cooling: Wizard radiator, Edelbrock pump, twin electric pusher fans
Output: 697 hp and 590 lb-ft of torque at the flywheel
Built by: Ford Performance Solutions, Anaheim, CA
Transmission: Tremec T-56, D&D bellhousing, McLeod clutch and flywheel
Rearend: Speedway Engineering full floating 9-inch rearend with Torsen LSD diff and 31-spine axles
Front suspension: Agent 47 Double A-arm with 400 lb-in Hypercoil springs on Agent 47-spec Penske single-adjustable shocks, custom 1.25-inch splined sway bar, modified Ford SN-95 Mustang spindles
Rear suspension: Agent 47 V-Link rear suspension with Panhard bar, 175 lb-in Hypercoil springs on Agent 47-spec Penske single-adjustable shocks
Brakes: 14- & 13-inch AP Racing with four-piston calipers
Wheels: 18x11 Agent 47 by Forgeline
Tires: 305/35R18 and 335/35R18 Toyo RA1
The awesomely vintage race-looking...
The awesomely vintage race-looking seats were designed by Agent 47 with modern bolstering. The 12-point ’cage only needs a modification to the door bars to be legal for American Iron racing.
The Bill Osborne–designed...
The Bill Osborne–designed V-link attached to the Speedway Engineering 9-inch floating rearend appears similar to a NASCAR truck arm at first glance, but uses a single front attachment point for better articulation and a Panhard bar for lateral location.
The Agent 47 SLA is an impressive-looking...
The Agent 47 SLA is an impressive-looking piece that uses Penske adjustable coilovers, modified SN-95 Mustang spindles, and a splined antiroll bar. The front package is available for Fox and SN-95 chassis Mustangs, though not yet as a kit for vintage cars.
Harbinger had its autocross...
Harbinger had its autocross debut at the Goodguys show in Del Mar, California, with Bryan Rogers behind the wheel. It was brutally fast, and only a couple of expertly dialed-in cars with experienced drivers cut quicker laps.
1969 Ford Mustang Video Review