Best of Both Worlds
Combining yesterday and Today
Richard Truesdell - March 15, 2012 10:00 AM
“It’s safe to say that Bill Sefton has the best of both worlds, classic style combined with modern power and reliability. What’s even better is that this creation is not a trailer queen.”
As enthusiasts looking back on the golden age of the muscle cars, we tend to harbor some very romantic notions about the ferocity of so many of the era’s icons.
Take Ford’s Boss 429. It struggled to cover the quarter mile in just under 15 seconds. Compare that to a 2011 six-cylinder Mustang, which goes 13.7 at 102 miles per hour.
Creating a better car would be combining the classic good looks of Ford’s 1969 and 1970 Mustang SportsRoof with a drivetrain lifted right out of a contemporary GT500. Add in a suspension upgrade, wider, bigger wheels with stickier rubber to get the power to the pavement and the results are stunning.
Mike Staveski at Hudson, Florida-based Time Machines and Modern Muscle realizes it can be done. They’ve been combining classic muscle car styling with contemporary, high performance components. “We install state-of-the-art drivetrains, in the case of this Mustang, from a brand new GT500, with the classic styling from the muscle car era. The best part of our program is that our cars can be used as daily drivers that can stay with any car from the modern era,” says Staveski.
Staveski worked with noted muscle car collector Bill Sefton (this Mustang is Bill’s weekend cruiser) for this creation. Each Modern Muscle supercar starts out with the best possible donor car, which is completely gutted with its shell stripped down to bare metal. From that point forward, buyers are offered the choice of rebuilding the OEM suspension components, adding heavy duty upgrades like shock absorbers and anti-sway bars, or opting for an all-new custom built chassis for 1.0 g levels of performance.
There are unlimited customization options. In this case, Modern Muscle started with a 1969 Mustang but grafted on the front clip of the 1970 Mustang, considered more attractive by the car’s owner. From there, Sefton ticked off most of the boxes on the Modern Muscle menu.
The upgrades include a supercharged 5.4-liter V-8 and a heavy-duty Tremec six-speed manual transmission from the aforementioned GT500, stirred by a Hurst short-throw shifter. Off went the OEM supercharger, to be replaced with an intercooled 2.8-liter Kenne Bell twin-screw blower. Further increasing power is the installation of a bigger 10-rib pulley and a dual 75mm throttle body. The hot gases are extracted through a set of AFCO headers and a Flowmaster exhaust. Keeping things cool during the blazing Arizona summers is a pair of custom air inlets behind the left headlight combined with an AFCO aluminum radiator and heat exchanger. On the Kenne Bell dyno, the package produced 750 horsepower with 650 lbs-ft of twist.
For his personal SportsRoof, Bill went the supercar suspension route. That means Heidts Mustang II-based independent front suspension and AFCO coilover shock absorbers front and rear, combined with the heavy-duty rear axle located with a contemporary Ford four-link setup. (A fully independent rear suspension is available as an option.) Bringing this pony to a sure and safe stop are binders provided by SSBC. Front and rear are equipped with 13-inch cross-drilled and slotted discs with four-piston calipers.
One of the most distinctive elements of the exterior would be the Modern Muscle-sourced multi-piece forged wheels, 19 x 9 inches up front, 20 x 10 in the rear. Bill specified BFGoodrich g-force T/A KDW tires, P235/35ZR19 front and P285/30ZR20. Other exterior distinctions, besides the custom mixed and applied Standox silver paint, include a modern interpretation of the original Boss-style hockey sticks, as well as subtle tweaks to the rear fascia, recessed tail lamps and a billet fuel filler cap.
The road test reveals Ford GT-like sprints from zero to 60 in under four seconds with a top speed well in excess of 175 miles per hour when given enough road.
When you open the door, you’re in for a shock. Since virtually every part in the 1969-1970 Mustang interior is available in the aftermarket, you could reasonably expect a tastefully upgraded 1969 Mustang cockpit. Not here. The entire interior of a modern GT500 was transplanted between the door sills. The 2005-2009 GT500 dashboard is nestled between the A-pillars almost as if it was designed for it. The transition from the vintage body shell to the modern interior is seamless.
The instrument panel gets a set of Auto Meter gauges while the stock steering wheel has been tossed in favor of a custom Grant unit. The dash, console and seats have been trimmed in Alcantara suede, giving the cockpit a very upscale look.
Modern Muscle added a Flaming River push button start along with power windows from Electric Life. As is the case with most Modern Muscle creations, the audio/video system is provided by Sony centered around an in-dash AM/FM/DVD/navigation system with a seven-inch screen. Behind the trim panels are upgraded full-range speakers front and rear complemented by a pair of trunk-mounted 12-inch subwoofers. Multiple Sony amplifiers, producing more than 1,000 watts, bring this system to life.
It’s safe to say that Bill Sefton has the best of both worlds, classic style combined with modern power and reliability. What’s even better is that this creation is not a trailer queen. Bill exercises his stallion often, whenever he’s in Arizona.
Several times a year, he invites fellow enthusiasts to his garage where he sets out a day’s itinerary. Lucky participants swap key chains and get behind the wheel of his collection of vintage and modern classics. Who wants to drive the Mustang?