To shoe this old horse, Royce employed his pal Mike Curtis for the wheel design. Curtis’ input in the project was the result of several other collaborations, cementing a friendship and respect that made working together much more than just hiring a wheel guy. Historic mini-lites were the inspiration for the rims and Royce told PHR just how much effort went into making them look perfect on the car. “You can’t just take a 15-inch wheel and stretch it into an 18-inch wheel. It doesn’t look right. So we added some details to make the spokes look the way we wanted them to look. Also, those are real knock-offs.”

Royce wanted the interior to be unique and utilitarian without being too Spartan or cliché. Big demands like that called for the skills of cloth-master P-Jays Auto Upholstery in Denver. In place of the typical all-leather seats, P-Jays covered the saddles in Hartz cloth, aka convertible top cloth. “The seats are out of an M-series BMW, and I wanted to do something with the pleats like the old Mustangs had, but I wanted it to be more of a modern-looking fabric.” With so much attention given to showing off some parts of the interior, it’s easy to overlook the time spent hiding some things like the stereo. “It’s hard to find a stereo that’s anything but a black rectangle, so styling-wise they’re hard to coordinate if you’re doing something kind of unique. The stereo is mounted inside the dashboard, and I had an umbilical cord attached to the removable front on the stereo so the controls for the stereo are in a little pocket along the side of the console.”

In a nod to the GT-40 of old, this oats burner had a set of all-black Classic Instruments custom gauges built with a ’60s theme in mind. After a weekend at a car show ogling a Ferrari with a yellow tach and falling in love, Peratt from Pinkee’s emailed Royce requesting that if he had just one thing to control on the car, it would be the addition of a yellow tach. Royce relented and once he saw it in the car he knew it was exactly the right choice.

Keeping this pony hooked up and on the trail with the lateral traction he was looking for involved a little searching for the right parts. “We asked several people when we were building this thing and they all kind of pointed us to [Chris Alston] Total Control Products. I think now there is some more stuff out there for the Mustangs but two years ago there was lots of stuff out there for Camaros and things, but Mustangs were sort of the stepchild.” Using all the Chris Alston chassis goodies plus adding another stiffening rail between the front and rear made the car handle as good as anything on the road. To complement the package, he had the flow rate of the power steering pump matched to the rack-and-pinion, engine speed, and expected driving habits.

Instead of oats powering the car, a 427 Windsor from Smeding Performance added some beans to the mix. The small-block sports a quad-downdraft look, but has modern guts. Eight-stack Injection recently took over the Weber-esque EFI program from Dynatek, and have proceeded to really make it their own by updating the software and going full bore on customer service. “I worked through the prototype phase with 8-stack, but now I think they’ve got their system working really great now. They’ve got the software, the sensors, the computer, and the throttle bodies, the whole works.” Using an MSD distributor with the advance locked out provides not only perfect timing, but tells the EFI when to squirt more oat juice into the stacks.

When the car was done, Royce was more than happy with the horse’s gait. “I’ve never driven anything as nutty as that thing. Those old Mustangs were pretty flimsy, which is a problem when you’re trying to get the bodies nice and flat but I tell you, it makes a real nice lightweight package. With the extra reinforcing we did on it, the thing just doesn’t even feel like it has any inertia. That engine is so much more powerful than the weight of the car, when you lean into it, it feels like you’re on a shingle with a rocket tied to your ass.” With that kind of a horse at the end of his reigns, when Royce kicks his spurs on this beast it not only smokes oats, but every other hombre in town.