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Retrobuilt gives new Mustangs an old lease on life

November 09, 2012|By David Undercoffler
  • Though it may look like a 1969 Mustang Boss 302, under the car's fiberglass body panels sits a brand new Mustang GT.
Though it may look like a 1969 Mustang Boss 302, under the car's fiberglass… (David Undercoffler / Los…)

Twenty dollars says you can't tell us in what year this car was made. Actually, scratch that; $100 says you can't name the decade it's from. This is entirely the point of the car you see here, which was shown recently at the Specialty Equipment Market Assn. trade show by a Missouri company called Retrobuilt.

What you're looking at is a brand-new Ford Mustang GT, powered by the Coyote 5.0-liter V-8 engine. Sitting on top of the donor car is a fiberglass body kit, designed to replicate the look of a 1969 Mustang Boss 302.

To get the look, Retrobuilt fused fiberglass body panels to the existing rear quarter panels and door skins and then replaced the front fenders, hood and rear desk with fiberglass parts.

Photos: Retrobuilt Mustang GT Fastback

Meanwhile, the marker lights, front and rear bumpers, taillights, front grille, door handles and mirror housings are all original (remanufactured) parts for 1969 Mustangs. The car is then painted to a color of the buyer's choice and mounted on a tire and wheel package of the buyer's choice (this car has 18-inch rims).

The side stripes you see here were added by Retrobuilt, but it couldn't add the "Boss 302" text for trademark reasons. Since Ford owns that name, Retrobuilt customers have to add that themselves.

In addition to the body modifications, the conversion kit includes a MagnaFlow cat-back exhaust, an Eibach suspension and fresh-air intake. The cost for the project is $30,000 on top of the price of the donor car. The model you see here also has an optional $1,100 paint job.

The process takes six weeks. Retrobuilt says it has already converted 17 cars for customers and is working on five more. If the Boss 302 style (which Retrobuilt calls the 1969 GT Mustang Fastback, also for trademark reasons) doesn't suit your old-school Mustang tastes, Retrobuilt also offers kits for a replica 1969 GT500 CS Fastback and convertible as well as a 1969 Terlingua race car.

Driving the Mustang Fastback you see here is a slightly jarring but always entertaining experience.

Inside the car, there's no reason to think you're not in a Mustang GT fresh off the lot. The aftermarket exhaust with its throaty roar is addictive, and the Eibach suspension holds the car tightly to the road and gives you thorough control around corners. Otherwise, it's very much like a stock Mustang.

But then you step out of this new Mustang you were just thrashing the pavement in and remember with a jolt the car's reborn aesthetic.

It's a very cool way to be confused. Now where's that $20?


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