The prototype we drove and...
The prototype we drove and photographed is identical to a production piece with the exception of side stripes.
Restomodders have gone all out in their efforts to engineer a 21st century ride into a classic '60s Mustang. The only place to take the opposite approach, grafting '60s styling onto a 21st century ride, is Retrobuilt, a restoration company in Ozark, Missouri. The company specializes in Mustangs, Shelbys, Mopars, and just about any high-end musclecar.
With its upcoming project, the innovative company has gone over the top. With it, there can be no sacrifice of modern-day Mustang performance, but the coveted lines of the '67-'68 fastback shine through. From the top of the doors down, this '07 Mustang GT-now officially dubbed the RSC-GT for Retrobuilt Super Car-is all sheetmetal from a '68 fastback.
The bumper cover is different...
The bumper cover is different from a Saleen but perhaps not different enough. The rear extensions started out as pure Saleen designs that Retrofit modified and reshaped to fit the contours of the radically altered body. Yes, the taillight panel is solid billet aluminum.
"A lot of love went into this car," say Tony Beam and Clinton White, the designers on the project. Actually, artisans John Emhoff, Mike Buske, Ryan Weaver, Brett Clark, Clay Grube, and many others at Retrobuilt poured 1,200 hours of sweat into this Mustang. The design began with '68 fenders, doors, and quarters. Of course, these older body parts don't fit the S197 platform. As Tony says, the panels had to be elongated, stretched, and made taller.
Retrobuilt's goal was to incorporate the look of the past into the '07. This radical surgery had to be pulled off while "retaining all the fender mounting points, door gaps, bumper mounting points on the rear, and trunk gaps," says Tony. The custom car business has come a long way since the '50s. Tony spoke the language of a Big Three automaker when he said, "We're in the process of digitizing those panels for dyes and stampings in steel."
That's right. Retrobuilt is producing this highly modified Mustang in steel and launching its RSC-GT into production. The quarter-skins, door skins, and complete fenders will be stamped out of steel for the production car which will be built in series.
There will be some styling changes from the concept pictured here. An auto company uses focus groups to gauge interest in the new designs. These days, a company can get good, if not better, results using the Internet, which is what Retrobuilt did. "You can't make a car everybody likes-I'm getting mixed feedback on some of the Mustang forums," Tony says.
So far, interior changes are...
So far, interior changes are minimal. On this concept, Retrobuilt embroidered its logo onto the seatbacks and replaced the stock inserts with a carbon-fiber-style material.
Forum discussions seem to be a grand way to gauge reaction of a new design from a large group of people. Mustang forums tend to be filled with hardcore Mustang enthusiasts as opposed to the general public. That's OK since enthusiasts appear to be this car's market, but we're guessing there are a few enthusiasts reading this magazine, so feel free to chime in.
After reading what Mustang people have to say on the Internet, Tony says the hood design is probably going to change, referring to the extremely wide and novel scoop at the leading edge of the hood. The beautiful custom hoodpins will undoubtedly remain. The rear bodywork is another area that's apt to undergo revision. "The Saleen-like bumper cover, for legal reasons, is probably going to change on the actual production car.