Wander through the rows of hardware and you are sure to see a cool car or two. The bigger the show, the more chance of seeing something cool. Some cars will stop people in their tracks, inspire them to take photos, and even chime in with unsolicited compliments.
I’m a Chevy guy but I would drive this one.
“Dude! You are so cool! This thing is frickin’ sick!”
“Nicest car I’ve ever seen! Is this a new car?”
These are the comments elicited by Ray Maruska’s 1969 Mustang, which we eyeballed at the Street Machine Summer Nationals over the summer. These Mustangs feature that untouchable styling, and this one was born in a rare configuration, but that’s not what gets people talking.
“It’s fun to listen to them all. It gathers a crowd everywhere,” Ray enthused. “If I stop for gas even the employees have to come out and look.”
What makes this car live up to its vanity plate is under the hood. This classic stallion is powered by a 2007 Shelby GT500’s supercharged 5.4-liter engine that puts down 585 horsepower and 550 lb-ft of torque at rear wheels.
I just thought the Shelby running gear needed to go into an older Mustang. — Ray Maruska
Concerns over the wide modular engine didn’t sway Ray, and neither did the car’s rare breeding. Apparently, he picked up the Mach 1 not knowing just how elusive its combination really was.
“I didn’t realize it was an L-code until I got the car home – I proceeded with the build anyways. After a few months into the build, I started researching L-codes. It was then that I realized how rare it was. It didn’t matter to me, though. Besides – who wants a Mach 1 with a six-cylinder? Now it’s much rarer; it’s one of none!”
We’re sure some purists might fancy a rare Mustang with any powerplant, but we’ll guess that even more would love to own a car like this. To bring it to one-off status, Ray began by reworking the entire suspension and drivetrain.
“Finally, in the fall of 2015, I got started on the Mustang, first installing the TCI front suspension, and the Heidt’s Pro-Link in the rear, while at the same time tubbing the rear wheel wells and narrowing the 8.8 as well as installing the Heidt’s four-link,” Ray explained. “Finally the supercharged 5.4 had its new home. I then had to reconstruct the firewall and the tunnel at the same time installing the GT500 pedal assembly 4 inches further to the left to clear the engine.”
So, it wasn’t a drop-in install, but the GT500 5.4L did indeed fit in the vintage Mustang. We knew it would, but we are glad the naysayers didn’t dissuade Ray from his restomod mission.
“With the car now sitting on all four wheels and the engine in place, I turned my attention to the body,” he said. “Don’t get me wrong, there is nothing wrong with a ’69 Mustang. They are the best looking muscle cars ever. I wanted to keep it looking like a ’69, but make it look like it could have been built in 1969 or 2017.”
Form & Function
An intriguing concept, but pulling it off is another story. Much like the powertrain swap, Ray decided to blend a bit of modern styling in along with good, old-fashioned fabrication.
1969 Mustang Mods
Block: Ford 5.4-liter iron
Crankshaft: Stock 2007 GT500
Rods: Stock 2007 GT500
Pistons: Stock 2007 GT500
Camshafts: Stock 2007 GT500
Cylinder Heads: Stock 2007 GT500 Four-Valve aluminum
Intake: Stock 2007 GT500 intercooled lower
Power Adder: Stock 2007 GT500 Eaton roots supercharger
Fuel System: Aeromotive pump, Aeromotive regulator, stainless steel lines, Metco fuel rails, and Bosch 52 lb/hr fuel injectors
Exhaust: Borla stainless steel headers, midpipe, mufflers, and tailpipes
Engine Management: Ford Performance Control Pack PCM w/ High Tech Automotive tuning
Ignition: Stock 2007 GT500
K-member: TCI tubular
A-arms: TCI tubular
Shocks: QA1 coilovers
Brakes: Wilwood four-piston calipers
Wheels: Schott Mach V, 18×8-inch
Tires: Michelin Pilot Super Sport 245/40ZR-18
Shocks: QA1 coilovers
Brakes: Stock 2007 GT500
Wheels: Schott Mach V, 19×12-inch
Tires: Michelin Pilot Super Sport 345/30ZR-19
And, clear the supercharger it does. The resulting Mustang carries the classic 1969 Mustang muscle but brings along a more modern vibe. That vibe not only oozes out of the sheetmetal, but it transfers down to the pavement.
“The car runs and drives phenomenal. I love driving it. I’m surprised I don’t have any tickets yet! I still have a small issue with the cruise control pulsating, It is experimental as the Ford Performance PCM was not set up for cruise, so I am still working on that,” Ray said. “But the highlight of the summer was just this past weekend when I gave a little spanking to a Hellcat! That put the icing on the cake. Ran it up to 150 and it ran very smooth.”
Ray was definitely up to the challenge of creating a modern version of the 1969 Mustang. Not only did he bring home Best Ford at the Street Machine Nationals in St Paul, Minnesota, but he has a Hellcat-whooping fun machine, and what’s not to love about that?