Project Mustang: fitting the interior
Our custom-built Mustang from Classic Speed gets a fit-out
Uncle Phil, project manager extraordinaire, legendary Mustang tragic/expert, and all-’round petrolhead, is the only bod to have actually sat in Project Mustang (built by the good folk at Classic Speed), now the interior is done. The verdict? "The car is magnificent." He’s as happy as a dog with two tails.
How did we get to this point? With the bodywork stripped and detailed to within an inch of its life, and the paint done, the spanner-twirlers at Classic Speed turned their attention to finishing off the mechanicals.
That little journey was detailed last issue, but a quick recap – we’re running a 302 engine stroked to 347, fed by a Holley 600 with an electric choke. Horsepower is around the 400 mark, fed through a McLeod Racing hydraulic clutch to a five-speed Tremec TKO manual ’box. Finishing off the package is a new shaft from Driveshaft Specialist, mated to a 3.89:1 ratio nine-inch, limited-slip diff.
With a dead-straight body (more so than when it came out of the factory nearly five decades ago), premium suspension and steering, plus a set of Wilwood four-piston brakes all-’round, it should handle and stop as well as it goes.
Which is all fine, but as anyone who has been courageous (or mad) enough to tackle a resto will tell you, your job is a hell of a long way from finished. Particularly if you’re attempting a left- to right-hand-drive conversion at the same time. There’s the small matter of seating, controls, dash and all the ancillaries to sort out before you can consider firing it up for the proverbial drive off into the sunset.
In every other build project we’ve been involved with over the years, a lot of that work gets farmed out to specialist workshops. There’s nothing wrong with that approach, though it’s the direct opposite of the way Classic Speed goes about its business. It’s gone to extraordinary lengths to bring as much of the process as possible under the massive roof of its Phillipines facility.
Head engineer Richard Dearing gives an example. "I’ve designed a vacuum forming machine so I can make the right-hand-drive surround and panel bezel, the under-dash pieces on the left," he says.
Speaking of the dash, we’ve gone for the six-gauge set-up that includes speedo, tacho, fuel, oil pressure, voltmeter and water temp. The look is set off with a classic three-spoke wood-rim wheel.
Noise is a big issue for this crew, with most of the cabin receiving two layers of sound-proofing. According to Richard, that, along with the ultra-straight chassis, gives the cars an immensely solid feel. We reckon he’s right.
As for seating, the ‘default trim’ for these cars is black leather, though you can order pretty much whatever you want.
"We’re going down that whole bespoke line now," says general manager Haydn Baldwin. "If they want it, we’ll do our best to accommodate them." And that’s what happened in this case. Knowing our toy was going to be entered in the odd club event or tarmac rally, Uncle Phil wanted nice grippy seats, so the crew ordered a pair of Scat units, stripped off the original covers and replaced them with leather to match the rear thrones.
Speaking of Phil, he was also involved in the design of the new gearshift, a solid rod made from polished stainless steel. It’s been set specifically so the driver can reach it a lot easier than the stock item, even when they’re strapped firmly in.
While the car will get some event use, we’ve also attended to the creature comforts. For example, it boasts a surprisingly powerful air-conditioner. Richard says it’s an electronically-controlled unit that’s specifically designed to fit into the original factory housing.
Add power windows and a slick sound system and you end up with something that feels exceptional. According to Uncle Phil, "It feels like a brand new luxury car."
Project Mustang has now been loaded on the boat and I reckon there’s a real risk of a queue forming at the dockside, prepared to fight to the death for the keys...
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