Creating a standout Fox Body Mustang in modern times is extremely difficult. After all, Mustang enthusiasts have had over 40 years to mix and match body styles, engine combinations, and paint colors. However, every so often a new Mustang will enter the scene and provide a fresh take with a powerful engine combination paired to a spectacularly well done chassis. At this year’s Detroit Autorama, one such fresh example appeared seemingly out of nowhere. The car was owned by Timmy O’Dowd and appropriately named “Double Mint.”
Before becoming a CNC programmer and machinist, O’Dowd had made his livelihood as a high performance automotive technician where he built engines, ran the chassis dyno, and everything in between. He knew he wanted to continue his quest to build a high quality racing machine and decided to purchase a Fox Body mustang to fulfill those dreams. His brother, Bobby O’Dowd, already owned a 1981 Mustang and if anything a Fox Body Mustang purchase would allow parts to be shared.
O’Dowd decided to sell one of his vehicles to purchase a caged rolling chassis to start his street/strip build. After the sale of his car was completed, his brother and he made the journey to Columbus, Ohio to pick up a 1979 Mustang. Much to the appreciation of their parents this new Mustang was caged and provided a huge safety advantage over his younger brother’s 9-second cage-less ’81 Mustang.
As O’Dowd began to collect parts for his build, his brother’s racing season had finished and the nitrous fed small-block Ford needed to be freshened up. When the engine was removed from his brother’s vehicle, a plot twist happened and O’Dowd swapped engines with his brother. Double Mint would now be powered by his brother’s old Ford engine, instead of the blasphemy that had laid in store for its future. As the car was slowly taking form, the brothers began to focus more on racing and Double Mint was put in storage mode.
O’Dowd’s father had been a huge proponent and fan of the two brothers working together to build Mustangs, so naturally when his oldest son secured the 1979 Mustang he was excited. The fathers excitement went on until he had passed away in 2017. Since the father never got to see their latest Mustang running, O’Dowd made a pact that he would have this car running under its own power before his fathers next birthday would have happened. O’Dowd fulfilled this promise and the car was driven out of the garage and promptly executed a massive burnout to honor his late father. The car was once again put into storage as he began to focus on family, home ownership, and the adult things in life.
After seeing the car sit for another year, the brothers decided it was time to make the Mustang into what they had dreamed of since their 2013 adventure took place. The car was sent off for media blasting at SS Striping before returning to the younger brothers’ high end paint and body shop, Bob O Motorsports. The car would be epoxied and the cage would be painted before it would sit idle once again. That was until January 2022 when they received a call.
That call was from the Detroit Autorama with questions of the brothers interest in showing the car off at the 2022 show. This would leave only four weeks to have the car painted, assembled, and running. The younger O’Dowd was confident in his abilities and without hesitation immediately told them, “YES!” After that three letter word was said, everything would be kicked into high gear.
For the next few weeks Bobby O’Dowd and his right hand man, Steve Simpson, would push through the day getting the Mustang to show car standards. After the paint was laid, the brothers then joined forces to complete the reassembly. While balancing work and home life, combined with a crunch before showtime, the brothers pressed forward and finished with only hours remaining before they were scheduled to enter the Cobo Hall for the Detroit Autorama.
The car received a lot of attention at the show, primarily from the fact the spearmint paint job is an attention grabber, but also because no one except a few friends had seen this build or paint job until it was released upon the show floor. The H.O. Fibertrends doors and hood combined with the Shoneck Composites front bumper gave the car an aggressive look most drag racers aspire to recreate. Meanwhile, highly polished Mickey Thompson front wheels with Champion single-beadlock rear wheels hid the Aerospace brakes on our four corners.
We ended the weekend by winning first place in our class. It was a great way to cap off the crazy amount of work we put into the car in a very short amount of time. -Timmy O’Dowd
You might be thinking the car is too nice to see the drag strip, but you would be far from correct. After all, who builds a show-only car utilizing a 351 Windsor stroked to 393 cubic-inches, complete with Ross Pistons, Edelbrock heads and intake, ProSystems 1050 Dominator carb with a healthy dose of spray from a Nitrous Oxide Systems direct port system? O’Dowds plans are to wait for the weather to clear up before taking the Mustang to the track. This will allow everyone to see what the brothers’ back half and ladder bar chassis with Strange double-adjustable coilovers can really do outside of the show car arena.
While the Mustang has seen the pause button pressed on more than one occasion, it’s fantastic to see that the Detroit Autorama show motivated the brothers to knock out the build. You can bet that their father is looking down with a proud smile as Double Mint is now the focus of a lot of attention. We hope to continue to see this car making waves and producing some killer ¼-mile timeslips in the near future!