One could say that this Mustang came about through the combination of good business sense and a keen eye for emerging markets and trends, and it would all be true. Of course, it would also only be a half-truth, as there’s so much more going on with this deceptively vintage-looking ’69. After all, you don’t have to build an award winner just to showcase a few parts.
About two years back, Anvil Auto’s Matt Lazich decided it was time to expand his company’s catalog of carbon-fiber parts for vintage GM muscle into other brand camps. But what to do next? Tooling up for high-end carbon components is an expensive endeavor that’s a bit of a gamble by definition, especially in a slow economy. The answer seems so obvious now, but at the time Matt was torn.
You see, that’s because Matt was trying to balance good business sense to create products that would sell strongly, and build a car he wanted as well. There’s no better way to promote new products than build an eye-catching car to show off how bitchin your products are, but there has to be a buying market. His first inclination was toward Mopars, perhaps even a Charger. Who doesn’t like those, right?
Not quite sold on the idea, Matt touched base with Steve Strope at Pure Vision Design to discuss his ideas and goals. Strope had a mint Charger sitting in the shop ready for an assignment, so Matt made the trip to Simi Valley, California, to see it in person.
The blood-red interior by Eric Thorsen balances stripped-down purpose with style. The stee
The Charger was everything Strope made it out to be—a real score of a car. But another potential project sitting off to the side of the shop caught Matt’s eye: a ’66 Mustang fastback that Strope had been prepping to be a lightweight track car for another customer. That was it; Matt saw where he needed to go. There was a Mustang in his future, just not that generation.
The early ’64-66 Mustangs are perennially popular, but their style just didn’t speak to Matt as either the showcase for his company or his personal play toy. The glut of ’67-68 cars on the scene in the past few years made Matt leery that one of those would just be clumped in with the others and quickly forgotten. But the ’69-70 style cars, those seemed ripe to explode. Strope completely agreed that those Mustangs were bound to be the next big thing. Little did they know at the time just how big.
With the target identified, the search was on to find the right car, preferably a ’69. Nevertheless, every car they ran across just wasn’t right or was too expensive. They even traveled to Nevada to see a couple possible projects. No luck there either. Ironically, after looking all over the Southwest Matt happened to locate a car practically in Pure Vision’s backyard in Simi Valley. Strope drove over and took a look at it. Despite a large dent on the driver’s quarter, the ’69 was superclean and rust free. It even ran and drove well.
Back at Pure Vision, Matt and Strope laid out their ideas; Strope wanted to pull together several divergent race-inspired cues from vintage Ford NASCAR, Indy, Trans-Am, and Le Mans racers, with a sprinkling of high-end Euro exotics—all while keeping everything subdued. Strope isn’t known for his mild aspirations. Matt had a few reachers of his own too; he wanted to add a mild flare to the carbon-fiber front fenders for better wheel clearance then flare the quarters to match, and swap the ’69’s tailpanel to the ’67-68 tail style. Good ideas all around, but it could go way wrong if executed improperly, so Matt began experimenting with scale models to better visualize the proposed mods and how to build the Mustang’s new panels.
Once both were satisfied, the slicing began. The quarters were removed for widening and the entire front vacated to make room and provide foundations for the new carbon parts Matt was developing. The biggest question was how much flare would look right. Lucky for Matt, the question almost answered itself; the aforementioned ’66 fastback project had stalled out and the exotic JME billet front suspension was available for a deal. The JME suspension pushes the hubs out a great deal, so Matt devised a way to compensate for that with 11/8-inch flares so that the wheels could still have some appropriate dish. The quarters also got 1½ inches more metal.
But the most controversial choice of all turned out to be the bland hue: white. The ’04 Range Rover Alaska White, to be precise, was chosen because it has a certain warmth to it almost like vintage Wimbledon White. Strope posited that it would make the Mustang unique, but Matt wasn’t sure white would be impactful enough. The contrast with carbon would be striking, though, so they decided to take the gamble. Perhaps the blood-red interior would make up for it.
Ironically, after all the agonizing it wasn’t until after all the paint was sprayed and the interior stitched that Matt and Strope discovered that the Mustang was originally a Wimbledon White car with a red interior. It’s like it told them what it wanted to be.
The boys were right on about ’69-70 Mustangs being the next great thing. At the 2010 SEMA show those Mustangs were by far the most populous car with at least five others debuting in the main hall alone—much more competition than they had anticipated. While it looked amazingly clean, Strope was afraid their hard work at integrating the custom touches might be overshadowed by some of the flashier cars. Looking around, he and Matt even began to question some of their choices. Maybe that white paint would come back to haunt them after all.
To ensure the judges’ gazes didn’t glance over the best parts of the car, Strope hung out by the car dusting and polishing while he waited. It made all the difference too; Strope was able to point out the details and explain the subdued looks. The unique understated execution easily won the judges over, and the Mustang was awarded the prestigious Ford Design Award for 2010. Not a bad way to introduce some new parts.
We couldn’t agree with the judges from Ford more; we’ve long been fans of Pure Vision and the typical aesthetic choices Strope makes that somehow seamlessly blend American muscle with European and vintage race car touches, but Anvil gets our vote as the finest car Pure Vision has ever created. It’s just right from every angle and is a study in how to perfectly balance modern performance with vintage style.
The Jon Kaase–built 520-incher makes a heart-stopping 805 hp and is set back 3.5 inches fo
So far it’s been mildly tested out at Goodguys autocross events and at the hands of an experienced driver at Willow Springs Raceway, but Matt has yet to take his own aggressive turn. “Honestly, with the money invested I’m a little afraid, but I’ve got to get it out on the track eventually to really see what it can do.” We say do it and don’t look back; the other benefit of white paint is that it’s easy to touch up!
By The Numbers
1969 Ford Mustang
Matt Lazich/Anvil Auto
El Segundo, CA
Type: 520ci Jon Kaase Racing Engines Boss Nine
Block: Dart aluminum
Rotating assembly: Kaase 520ci forged stroker crank and rods
Cylinder heads: Kaase Boss
Camshaft: Kaase-spec hydraulic roller
Valvetrain: 2.30-inch intake and 1.90-inch exhaust valves, WW Engineering 1.75:1 aluminum roller rockers.
Induction: Kaase aluminum single-plane intake
Oiling: Aviaid dry-sump system
Exhaust: custom stainless headers by Resurrections by Mike, Spin Tech 3-inch stainless mufflers and pipes
Fuel system: Fuel Safe bolt-in fuel cell, Aeroquip lines
Engine management: Electromotive
Ignition: Electromotive eXtreme Direct Ignition System (XDI)
Cooling: custom Griffin radiator
Output: 805 hp
Built by: Jon Kaase Racing Engines
Transmission: Tremec TKO-600 with Kevlar clutch and Quick Time bellhousing prepared by Modern Driveline
Rearend: Speedway Engineering Grand National 9-inch full floater
Front suspension: JME Enterprises billet aluminum cradle, control arms, and spindles with in-board cantilever style pushrod-activated JRI coilovers and Hyperco springs; electric power assist rack-and-pinion from Flaming River
Rear suspension: Maier Racing cantilever-style pushrod-activated with JRI coilovers, Hyperco springs, and Maier Racing torque arm with inverted Watt’s link system modified by Pure Vision
Brakes: 14-inch Baer Brakes with 6S six-piston calipers
Wheels & Tires
Wheels: 18x9.5 and 19x12 Evod Industries patterned after ’69 Gurney Eagle Indy Car wheels
Tires: 275/35ZR18 and 345/30ZR19 Michelin PS2