PAST BLAST

JOHN BOWE

GREENSí-TUF XE REPLICA

This green meanie was remembered as the car that nearly did for Dick Johnson back in 1983.

After smashing the car into the Bathurst forestry at 150km/h the original Greensí-Tuf XE was nothing but shrapnel. Based on original plans, the guys at V8 Race Ride have painstakingly created an almost perfect replica.

JB reacquaints pedal with metal on the track at Sandown.

MUSTANG 1969

JOHN BOWE GETS BEHIND THE WHEEL OF A RESTOMOD MUSTANG THAT RETAINS THE AURA OF THE CLASSIC Ď69 CAR BUT BRINGS THE DRIVING EXPERIENCE UP TO DATE

This car belongs to friends of mine, Robert DíLord and Emanuel Darmanin from RestoMod Performance and Iíve watched it evolve from a bare shell. Itís a show car and normally a car like this is outside my comfort zone because I believe a í69 Mustang should be a í69 Mustang. But this car is what Iíd call a modern classic: it looks like a í69 Fastback because the body hasnít been customised and it has a lot of modern components that make it easier and more comfortable to drive. It also performs much better than they ever did way back in 1969.

The guys bought it in the US as an unfinished project car, just a stock í69 with a 302 Windsor, five-speed Tremec and a leaf-spring nine-inch. It was basically an unassembled shell in undercoat but with all the parts.

Their ambitious plan was to rebuild it to show quality and take it to MotorEx in Melbourne last year but they only had 12 weeks to do it!

Actually, the guys built the car twice! Getting it ready for MotorEx was a bit of a thrash. The car still looked great but there were a few mechanical niggles and they werenít happy with the

ďUNDER THE BONNET IS A NEW 5.0-LITRE 32-VALVE COYOTE V8 FROM HERROD MOTOSPORTĒ

paint, a legacy of the shell sitting outside too long in the US, even though it had been under-coated. So after MotorEx, Emanuel spent three months on the body, taking it back to bare metal before sending it off to Rapid Smash who painted it in a striking three-layer pearl orange, reminiscent of the famous Parnelli Jones Boss 302 colour.

Itís had a very neat right-hand drive conversion using a new í67 Mustang firewall from US company Dynacorn, which makes new panels for American muscle cars. Emanuel did a really nice job on converting the dash, even getting the ducts for the climate-controlled Vintage Air air-conditioning to exit in the correct places.

A full set of race-style Auto Meter gauges fill the original instrument cluster and that took some doing too.

Iíd prefer a more classic Mustang steering wheel, like a wood-rimmed Shelby and maybe a Shelby shifter too but thatís just personal taste.

Auto Image did the re-trim in black leather with orange stitching and the aftermarket front seats are really comfortable and supportive.

Under the bonnet is a new 5.0-litre 32-valve Coyote V8 from Herrod Motorsport Ė the same one used in the 2015 Mustang Ė although the extractors still had to be modified to fit. Emanuel ditched the Ford ECU in favour of a new local Haltech unit and Haltech also made a new wiring harness. The ECU is really well mapped and thatís one of the reasons the car drives so well. Itís a smooth, refined combination and the engine installation is very professional; it looks like it was meant to be under the bonnet when the car was first launched.

The enemy of most modern cars is weight, which is why they have become increasingly more powerful.

This Ď69 is a lot lighter than the new Mustang and with around 270 kilowatts at the rear wheels itís pretty lively.

You only have to tickle the throttle in a corner in second or third gear and itíll break traction and slide. But itís

1967 SOFT-TOP CLASSIC SPEED SPECIAL

THIS tasty-looking unit was built for former Classic Speed owner George Holman. In case you were wondering, that was the crew who built a giveaway Mustang for us a couple of years back, and did a great job.

Typical of the breed, itís been stripped and remade, with modern mechanicals under the skin. That includes an injected 347 V8, power-assisted rack and pinion steering, WiIlwood brakes, air, cruise control, power windows, Bluetooth and much more. See our classifieds this issue.

very progressive and easy to catch and hold a slide.

Itís got a six-speed Tremec gearbox with a BF Falcon clutch and the shift is pretty nice. Tremec gearboxes are widely used because they are strong and reliable and Iíve driven a lot of cars with them but sometimes the length of the shifter can affect the way a Tremec operates. This Ďbox shifts nice and smoothly and thatís one of the things that makes driving a powerful older car around the streets a lot more enjoyable. Thereís nothing worse than having to fight a car in slow-moving traffic.

Power-assisted rack-andpinion steering helps too, as does the more modern suspension setup. The front shock towers were replaced with Ďnotchedí versions to allow room for the wide Coyote V8 and it has a strut front suspension with adjustable shock absorbers.

After experimenting with a three-link rear end, which he found way too stiff and hard riding, Emanuel went for a race-style fabricated Pro9 four-link with coil-overs and a fabricated nine-inch housing with a 3.7:1 Truetrac LSD in the rear. When I drove the car my first impression was that the ride was still a bit harsh so we softened the shocks off a few clicks and that made a big difference.

The 17-inch Riddler alloys look just right and are about as big as Iíd want to go to preserve the classic Mustang look. So many show cars built up from cars from the Ď60s or Ď70s run 20- or 21-inch diameter rims with licorice strap tyres and to me they just donít look right, they look too cartoonish. Bigger rims do allow more powerful braking systems, though, and with big six-piston calipers and ventilated rotors up front and modern tyres that are so much better than anything from 1969, she stops straight and quickly.

To me, the 1969 Mustang is one of the best-looking muscle cars of all time and getting the stance right is critical and I think the guys have nailed it.

It sits low and flat and doesnít droop at the front or squat at the rear. It looks purposeful and tough, without you having to worry about it scraping the ground.

Like I said, on paper and on first appearances this í69 Mustang was not my cup of tea, but the more time I spent looking at the workmanship and driving it, the more I liked it.

ďTO ME, THE 1969 MUSTANG IS ONE OF THE BEST-LOOKING MUSCLE CARS OF ALL TIMEĒ

1969 FORD MUSTANG FASTBACK

ENGINE 5.0-litre, 32-valve V8 POWER 306kW @ 6500rpm TORQUE 530Nm @ 4250rpm GEARBOX 6-speed manual Tremec BRAKES VTTR Racing 6-piston calipers, 280mm rotor (f), single-piston caliper, 180mm rotor (r) PRICE $POA call RestoMod 0435 896 604

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