We turned to fellow Real Street racer Bruce Hemminger to locate a suitable Red V-6 Mustang to use as a donor car. We took delivery of the car from Bruce in December two days before the PRI Show. We then commenced with dismantling the car. I must say that it's an uneasy feeling taking apart a brand-new $20,000 car. My wife could not understand why it was necessary to destroy such a nice car.
Prior to removing the drivetrain, I worked out a deal with Mustang Parts Specialties in Winder, Georgia, a nationally recognized outlet for used Mustang parts, to purchase the pieces that we removed from the car. It saved us the time required to list and ship the parts individually. The engine and transmission came out as a unit. It was a change from working on a car with rusty, old bolts. With barely 500 miles on this car's odometer, even its exhaust was easily removed. After the interior was removed, it was off to Racecraft in LaSalle, Illinois, for the rollcage, K-member, and Strange/Motive 9-inch rear axle assembly
This intimate disassembly emphasized that several things are radically different in the new Mustang. One is the location of the fuel tank under the rear seat area. Another is the three-link rear suspension compared to the previous four-link design. But it's the total package that really stands out. My hat is off to the engineers who designed the new Mustang. Taking the car apart was a breeze. It seems they used common sense and considered future modifications in their efforts. The framerails are spread wider apart, the rear overhang is longer while the front is less. The weight bias is the best we have ever seen in a Mustang, something we hoped would be an advantage in our class.
The changes throughout the chassis seemed to have prioritized rigidity while saving weight where possible. The hood is aluminum and weighs about 25 pounds-some aftermarket hoods aren't that light. The K-member is a welded-stamped-steel design and is lighter than the previous stamped-steel units. Our efforts to take weight out of the car were diminished by Ford's focus on saving weight. Before you say the cars are heavy, remember they put the weight where it would do the most good-in the structure.
Next month, we will talk about the unique parts that Racecraft developed to put the '05 Mustang on the racetrack.