In issue #07 of Tool Torque we had a quick look at the next Sidchrome project car, a fairly run-down 1969 Mach 1 Ford Mustang. Have a good, long look at it now.
Just to recap, the car was found in a barn in San Francisco, where it’d been sitting for 20 years or so so it was a little short of ‘showroom’ condition. On the bright side, the 351 Windsor motor and FMX transmission had matching numbers, and that’s always encouraging. The Mustang didn’t look immaculate, but it didn’t look a wreck, either. It was shipped to Australia and Sidchrome enlisted the help of the guys at Team 18 – the same guys responsible for the maintaining and tuning the number 18 V8 Supercar driven by Lee Holdsworth – to handle the rebuild and sharpening up of this iconic muscle car. The Team 18 guys delivered.
Charlie Schwerkolt, owner of the Team 18 Supercar operation, put Mark Grange in charge of the project and assigned two mechanics and a hoist from the race team to work full-time on the Mustang. Blast-N-Peen in Keysborough, Victoria, bead-blasted the body before Personal Panel Service cleaned up any rust and made sure the body panels were all in perfect shape in readiness for paint by JRT Truck Refinishers – the same outfit that paints the Team 18 Supercars. While that was going on, the motor was on the bench at Saliba Engine Services, where Charlie Saliba himself saw to forged pistons, alloy heads and a roller camshaft, and generally bringing everything up to spec. The final result was a powerplant offering 407hp at 5900rpm and a stonking 427ft-lbs of torque at 3900rpm.
With serious performance on offer from the rebuilt motor and a classy presentation from the refurbed body, everything else had to meet the new standard. It proved no problem for a collection of great professionals. Harrop Engineering slipped in a set of Forgeline Wheels and Harrop multi-piston brakes, and Road Race Science (RRS) fitted fully adjustable, coilover suspension – and a rack-and-pinion power-steering conversion, all of which made a drastic improvement in the car’s handling, ride and performance. With the mechanics of the car absolutely top notch, the Australian VW Performance Centre custom fitted an interior that brings tears to the eyes for its sheer beauty and respect for the era. As a final, finishing touch, Clarion designed, fabricated and fitted a custom-built audio system that’s performance matches up with everything else on the car.
The Sidchrome Project Car initiative has been a huge success right from the start, but this latest build may just be the best yet. It probably depends on where your tastes lie. The Kombi is a vastly different proposition to this Mustang of course, and so was the Cobra we saw in issue #04, but they’re all end-of-the-world, cut-no-corners builds. What else would we expect from a company like Sidchrome?