PRESENTING the Sidchrome Project Car for 2017! It has been a pretty cool series so far, starting with an awesome bay-window Kombi in 2015, built by the kids at Chisholm TAFE and the gurus at the Australian VW Performance Centre. Next came a Coyote-powered Cobra replica, created from scratch by George Vidovic and his team from Python Vehicles Australia. Both cars were given away to a couple of lucky Sidchrome customers, and now they’re at it again!
This time, the Sidchrome team have turned their attention to a ’69 Mach 1 Mustang, and joined forces with Charlie Schwerkolt’s Team 18 Supercar crew to manage the build from start to finish.
The starting point is a dead-stock Mach 1, recently arrived in Australia after spending the past couple of decades apparently doing very little in California – the last tag on the licence plate being 1988. As you can see in the photos, the car has quite a delightful patina and is very complete, including the 12-slot rims, bonnet scoop and pins, cool Mach 1 decals and the flip-up metal rear visor. The interior is quite well-preserved, but there is definitely some rust in the body, particularly around the tail-lights and front windscreen.
The running gear consists of a 351 Windsor, FMX auto and nine-inch. As with any car that has been sitting for a length of time, the 351 needed some persuasion before it would fire up, but Team 18 got it running well enough for Charlie to drive to the shops a few times – and for our Scotty to rip a fair burnout in the Street Machine car park!
With that formality taken care of, we stuck the car in the studio to document the Mustang’s as-found condition, knowing that it would soon be blown into a million pieces and the panels blasted to reveal exactly how far the tinworm has penetrated into the body.
In terms of theme, Sidchrome has plumped for a pro touring-style vibe, starting with RRS underpinnings front and rear to vastly improve the Mustang’s handling abilities, including a coil-over front end, power rack-and-pinion steering, and a three-link rear end, also with coil-over shocks. All of which will make a fine foundation for a set of massive Harrop brakes and three-piece Forgeline rims – 19s at the rear and 18s up front.
The Mustang will retain its factory 351 Windsor block, rods and crank, but will score a set of TFC alloy heads, a Comp Cams Thumpr roller cam, Speed Pro hypereutectic pistons and an uprated valvetrain. Up top will be a 650 Quick Fuel four-barrel carb, sitting on an RPM Air Gap manifold. Other goodies will include a serpentine belt system, PWR radiator and an ICE ignition system
The factory engine and driveline will be totally rebuilt, with the aim of a modest but thoroughly enjoyable 400hp. The FMX is copping a rebuild by Pro Automatics with heavy-duty clutch plates, while out back will be a brand-new nine-inch, including a new housing and 31-spline axles.
The paint and trim will follow pro touring lines, with carbonfibre accents and a killer Clarion audio system.
Team 18 has pulled two mechanics from its race program to work on the car full-time and installed a brand new hoist just for this car. A stellar cast of specialists have been called in to complete the job, including Supercar engine maestro Charlie Saliba. Peter Murnane at Personal Panel Service will handle the panel beating duties, before JRT Truck Refinishers (who also paint the Team 18 race cars) apply the duco.
The interior is in pretty good nick, but will cop the works. The factory buckets will be retrimmed in leather, along with a pop-up Clarion entertainment system, Dakota instruments and carbonfibre highlights
As you would expect from a top-level race team, project manager Mark Grange has the whole build planned out with military precision, though you never know what a 48-year-old car is going to throw at you! Check out Episode One of the build coming soon to see what we find when the car returns from the blasters. And visit sidchrome.com.au/projectcar to see how you can put this Mustang in your garage.