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With modern cars taking an average of five to seven days to build on the assembly line, it was a bold statement when Beau Boeckmann, chief designer and president of Galpin Auto Sports (GAS) suggested to Bob Adams, Ford’s SEMA project coordinator, that they build a ’69 Mustang from scratch, in three days. Boeckmann was no stranger to crazy deadlines, having hosted Seasons Five and Six of MTV’s Pimp My Ride, where a team of experts radically customized more than 30 cars during the show’s run.
In preparation for the 2009 SEMA Show, the GAS team devised a plan to create a ’69 Mustang fastback from reproduction and modern parts, in front of a captivated audience at the Ford booth. With Boeckmann at the helm, the venue established, the car chosen, and a staff of 10 confident and talented team members ready to go, the project was on.
To start things off, GAS organized all major parts strategically on the stage. The shell and body panels, as well as all suspension components, interior trim, wiring, wheels, tires, glass, and other assorted trim pieces necessary to complete the job, including tools and automotive lift, were laid out in particular order. The centerpiece for this three-day build was Dynacorn’s reproduction ’69 Mustang shell and body panels. Next to the Mustang body, which was finished in custom PPG Green Pearl Chartreuse, GAS staged the stroked 351 Windsor from Ford Racing that would come to power their creation.
With all of the parts arranged, GAS was ready to embark on what would be SEMA’s first-ever live car-building demonstration. Beginning at 1:00 p.m. Tuesday and continuing for 24 hours over the next three full days, the team at GAS worked toward their ambitious goal. Onlookers were fascinated at what was happening before their eyes.
“The audience was completely captivated by the constant activity, and onlookers were compelled to continually revisit the Ford display to check on the car's progress through the duration of the SEMA Show,” said Bob Adams. “It was amazing to see even some of the greatest legends in the automotive industry, such as John and Ashley Force, Parnelli Jones, and Edsel Ford expressing intrigue and amazement in what the GAS team was doing live on stage in the Ford booth.”
By 1:00 p.m. that Friday, the team was putting the final finishing touches to their Mustang masterpiece. Key in hand, the engine was turned over and life was breathed into the ’69 fastback. Their creation was alive, firing on all cylinders and barking a ferocious roar. A raucous sound from the crowd was heard throughout the SEMA halls, fans cheering in support of GAS and the Mustang they worked to create in just three days.
No sooner was the car finished than drifting star Vaughn Gittin Jr., known for his aggressive, foot-to-the-floor, big-smoke driving style, set out to tame GAS’ wild beast on the streets of the Las Vegas strip.
SEMA Show attendees admired the Mustang’s beauty and marveled at the creativity put into this vehicle. Though it was built in just three days, Galpin’s ’69 Mustang still maintains its iconic beauty. GAS augmented the Mustang’s aggressive fastback attitude and added to its classic lines with a contemporary twist, perfectly fitting for a Mustang.
“We wanted to build a vehicle that respected the past but reflected the future with very current design influences, and we feel we achieved that with this car,” Boeckmann said.
Using only first-rate components, GAS spared no expense in constructing this prototypical American muscle car. For starters, the potent powerplant — a modified Ford Racing 351 stroked to 392 ci — was mated to a Ford Racing Tremec TKO 600 five-speed manual transmission and 3.89 Currie 9-inch rearend. Running 10.5:1 compression, the result of Ford Racing Z-style cylinder heads, the Mustang makes 525 hp and 515 lb-ft of torque on pump gas.
Stopping all that power is the responsibility of a set of SSBC brakes — 11.25-inch front and rear rotors with four-piston calipers. The suspension and rack-and-pinion steering were upgraded with components from Chris Alston Total Control Performance, including front coilover double-adjustable shocks and strut rods with Heim joints. Mounted to the modified suspension, the Mustang rides on Shelby 17-inch two-piece wheels, 17x7 in the front and 17x9.5 in the rear, with Nitto NT05 rubber all around.
While gearheads put most emphasis on the exterior and performance enhancements, the interior requires detail as well, especially considering this was a SEMA show car. Even in the face of a three-day deadline, detail is of the utmost importance.
GAS paid special attention to the interior, restoring the hardware with an AMK kit and finishing the seating surfaces in custom Katzkin leather with special side bolstering to provide an extra sport-seat feel over the stock buckets.
Monitoring vehicle speed, engine revs, fuel levels, oil pressure, and water temperature details are a set of JME Enterprises gauges, white faced with black lettering. While JME made sure coolant temperatures didn’t get out of hand, Vintage Air Products supplied an upgraded air conditioning and heater system that maintains the vintage look while allowing climate controls of a modern Mustang.
Competing to be heard over the 3-inch custom MagnaFlow exhaust system, GAS installed a custom stereo system that features two sets of JL Audio 5.25-inch speakers, both front and rear; 10-inch subwoofers; and a Kenwood 500 audio controller; all powered by a 1,000-watt JL Audio amplifier. In all, more than 20 suppliers contributed to the creation of this three-day build.
By no means is Galpin Auto Sports’ ’69 Mustang fastback just another hot rod. It has become a part of SEMA history — a piece of muscle-car art incorporating sleek, fresh design and embracing the roots of the classic muscle-car era.