Like the factory, only better is one way to describe the best resto-mod Mustangs. Cars that surpass mere bolt-on specials are what we consider true resto-mod Mustangs. These cars are easily recognizable as Mustangs, but everything about them is highly refined and beautifully executed. A great resto-mod is one that takes on a factory concept car appearance.
The overall impact of a resto-mod car is important, but when these cars are closely scrutinized it’s the details that stand out. The most successful resto-mod Mustangs are loaded with innovative details, high performance engine and suspension parts, striking stances and first class workmanship.
We’ve noticed several common themes among resto-mod Mustangs--Shelby R-style front valances; the use of carbon fiber; racing stripes; molded interior panels; race-inspired instrumentation; high performance drivetrains; scoops; and huge wheels, tires, and brakes. Within these popular themes are many, many variations.
Many top resto-mod cars such as those built by the Ring brothers are so crammed with neat ideas that a person could study them for hours. We can’t bring the whole cars to you, but you can get lots of great ideas for your own car by examining the following photos.
This Ford concept GT convertible publicity shot demonstrates what the best resto-mods are seeking—the blending of stylized concept car type features with the timeless styling of first generation Mustangs.
Factory concept cars can provide a wealth of ideas—witness this super slick automatic transmission shifter on a GT concept convertible.
Large indoor car shows are another fertile area for great ideas. Feature cars like this twin turbo ’66 fastback built by HRR (www.hotrodsrestos.com) are typically highly detailed inside and out. Every inch of this car was filled with trick modifications.
The interior of the HRR ’66 Mustang is a work of art. The theme is competition oriented, but finished to a level never found on racecars. Custom dashes and molded door panels are popular resto-mod features.
The Ring brothers build some of the wildest interiors on any modified car whether it’s a Mustang or not. The finish level of the dash is the same high quality as the body.
This close-up of a Ring brothers’ door panel illustrates how all the elements flow together including the reversed stock door handle.
Here is another variation on the custom door panel.
Extensive use of high quality leather is a common theme. Note the embossed galloping ponies in the seats and on the door panels.
Custom dashboards and intricate center consoles modernize first generation Mustang interiors.
White-faced competition gauges in carbon fiber or textured metal gauge panels are popular.
Super slick all black ’67-’68 fastbacks with a road racing flavor are a popular resto-mod theme. This example built by Extreme Metal & Paint (www.extrememetalpaint.com) has many subtle mods that are somewhat hidden by the beautiful black paint. This is part of that “double take” approach that many customizers favor.
The engine compartment on the Extreme Metal & Paint Mustang illustrates the popularity of super high performance engines. Trick induction systems such as this fuel injection setup are a prevalent resto-mod feature.
The use of a late model SVT engine is a great way to blend new and old Mustang features.
Adapting modern suspension and brake components makes sense from a performance/safety standpoint as well as the visual appeal.
Five-liter, fuel injected engines are a good choice in their stock configuration, but when custom shrouds and engine compartment panels are added as on this Ring brothers car, the effect is stunning. Notice that the hood is reverse hinged.
While modern engines and custom shrouds are great, there’s nothing wrong with the old standby Shelby engine accessories. The features that distinguish this engine compartment are the intricate fender, shock tower and cowl braces.
Look at the slick radiator shroud and air intake on this Mustang GT concept car drawing. There are lots of neat details to be found in this sketch. Ford designers are very talented artists, so take advantage of their creativity.
A resto-mod feature can be as simple as installing high tech headlights.
The trunks of Ring brothers’ Mustangs are as nicely detailed as their interiors. Notice the use of contrasting red on the black car.
Variations on the Shelby Le Mans stripes are a very popular resto-mod paint theme. This coupe continued the stripes inside the trunk.
Silver Le Mans stripes on this black coupe have a lot of impact.
Here is another racing stripe variation on a Ring brother’s fastback.
The front of the central stripe ends in a point that follows the shape of the highly modified hood.
Variations on the Shelby GT 350 front apron/valance are a very popular styling cue on many resto-mod Mustangs. This example uses billet grille bars in the lower opening that match the main grille.
This ’66 Mustang relies on its massive aluminum radiator to fill both openings. Variations on grille-mounted driving lamps are another popular touch.
Split bumpers make a great addition to this custom front apron.
The signature fastback quarter window/vent/scoop area is favorite place for modified installations.
This low angle rear shot shows a unique exhaust outlet, a custom gas tank and independent rear suspension.
Here is a variation on modified first series Mustang taillights.