It all started with a little shipping damage. It has since developed into a far-reaching program that entails public/media relations, product testing and research, and no small number of adrenaline-fueled grins. We’re talking about reproduction Camaros and Mustangs built to use and abuse on road courses. But before we get into the nuts and bolts of the track cars, a little background on how this program began is in order.
A few years ago, Dynacorn began reproducing 1969 Camaro convertible bodies. We were excited by this development enough to order one of the first completed shells, and we documented the building of a complete car (the Mail Order Camaro book, part number YR1AG869). Soon after the convertibles were on the market, Dynacorn started repopping ’69 Camaro coupe shells. We ordered some of those, too. Unfortunately, one of the first bodies to show up incurred a bit of damage to the roof in shipping. We could hardly fix the roof and still offer the body for sale as a new piece, so we decided to build ourselves a bare-bones hot rod to have some fun, and maybe test a few Pro-Touring-style pieces along the way.
In its first iteration, our ’69 coupe sported a 500-horse 383 small block from High Tech engines, backed by a Tremec 5-speed and a Moser 12-bolt. The front suspension consisted of Detroit Speed and Engineering upper and lower control arms, with Hotchkis heavy-duty small block springs and a Hotchkis sway bar. Out back we mini-tubbed the body and installed a Detroit Speed and Engineering Quadra-Link four-link rear with Koni coilovers. An SSBC disc brake kit brought everything to a halt. We threw an aluminum race seat inside, mounted some AutoMeter gauges, fabbed-up a 6-point roll bar and went to the track. The car was fun, and after some dialing in was fairly competent on the road course. Then things took a strange turn.
We were contacted by the BCII production company (makers of Overhaulin’ and Rides TV shows), and asked to participate in a new Speed network show called the Forza Motorsport Showdown. This show, named after and sponsored by the popular Xbox racing game produced by Microsoft, would pit six different types of cars against one another in a variety of motorsports challenges. BCII wanted to know if we would participate, and if so could we supply muscle cars to go against the late-model machinery they’d already rounded up. We said yes, and yes.
The obvious candidate for one of our two entries was our ’69 coupe. (Our other car was a ’73 Challenger built with Air Ride Technologies). We knew the Camaro would have trouble on the road course versus the late-model C6 Corvette, ’05 Mustang, and Nissan 350Zs we would be competing against, so we thought the best course of action was throw a whole lot of horsepower at the car, give it really good brakes and some additional suspension adjustment, and hope for the best. So we stuck a 572 big block in the nose (sneakily labeled a 427, wink wink), bolted on monster 14”, 6-piston Baer brakes, QA1 adjustable coil-overs in the front, and went racing. The car was fast, and in fact was leading the final race at Road Atlanta by a large margin when we broke an exhaust hanger which allowed one of the tail pipes to contact, and shatter, our carbon fiber driveshaft.
The car worked really well once the initial bugs were worked out, and has since proven to be a ball on the road course. So much so, in fact, that any time we were at the track, people lined up for a chance to make a few laps in the Camaro. This got us thinking…
About the same time we were beating on the Camaro for the Forza Shootout, Dynacorn was showing their all-new reproduction ’67 Mustang Fastback at SEMA. A deal was struck that saw the SEMA body shipped to our facility in Braselton, Georgia, shortly after the show ended, and we prepared the body to be featured in Hot Rod Magazine. Once the Hot Rod feature was done, another deal was worked that saw us build the car as a track car “what if” project for the ’07 SEMA show in conjunction with a number of other companies – including Baer, BF Goodrich and Ford Racing.
The high level of interest among industry members and media in building the Mustang as a track weapon was very strong – to the point of surprise, really. Everyone loved the idea of taking a reproduction body, fitting it with high-quality suspension and brake systems, adding simple yet effective drivetrain components and hitting the track for some testing. So that’s exactly what we did.
We started by mini-tubbing the body for improved tire clearance. We then installed an expansive cage system to both protect the occupants and improve chassis rigidity. For suspension, we contacted Griggs Racing, a company well-known for their road-racing and street components for Mustangs of all years. Griggs set us up with a version of their GR350 system, which includes gorgeous tubular adjustable upper and lower front control arms, chassis reinforcements, steering rack, three-link rear setup with Watts link, and adjustable coil-over shocks on all four corners.
On the drivetrain side, Ford Racing supplied one of their brand new Boss crate engines, displacing 347 cubic inches and making 450 reliable horsepower. The carbureted engine features a relatively docile hydraulic roller cam, and is easily run on pump gas, making the entire setup easy to configure, powerful, and reliable. Behind the small block is a Tremec TKO600 5-speed from ProMotion, which transfers power to a modified Ford 8.8-inch rear axle assembly beefed up with Moser axles.
Once again we looked to Baer Racing for a set of their Extreme 6-piston mono-block calipers and two-piece, 14-inch rotors. This setup provides great feel and enormous, fade-free stopping lap after lap. Wheels are Ford Racing Fikse FM-10 three piece assemblies, actually designed for the late-model Mustang GT racing program. The 18”x10” wheels are wrapped in super-sticky BF Goodrich g-Force R1 DOT-legal race rubber, 295/35-18s front and rear.
Inside the car is all business. We mounted a couple of Kirkey road race seats, fabbed up a dash panel to hold the AutoMeter gauges. An Accusump system was installed to ensure oil pressure at all times, and a fire system was mounted just in case.
The Mustang has been a huge hit everywhere it’s been. The level of performance and handling is everything we hoped it would be, and then some. Development of the car is ongoing, but there’s no doubt it has exceeded everyone’s expectations so far, and generated a ton of interest from all corners.
And we’re not done yet. Plans are currently underway to refit the Camaro with a Detroit Speed and Engineering hydro-formed front subframe, and replace the grumpy big block with a carbureted, dry-sump late-model LS7 engine. Or we might leave it fuel-injected, we haven’t decided yet. Either way, we’re going to continue tweaking the package, and beating on it at the race track. Rest assured, what we learn in the process will be passed on to you through product evaluations and even entire vehicles.
And to think it all started with a little shipping damage…
YEARONE Ghostworks Garage and the YEARONE Ghostworks Garage Logo are trademarks of YEARONE Corporation in the U.S. and other countries. All others trademarks and copyrights mentioned herein are the property of their respective owners