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RPM PROJECT CAR

1: It has been a long journey to get to this point, but we are thrilled to say that the Horse is finally in the paint shop! Michael Lee at Mykal’s Custom Autobody is handling the job and got started this month.

THE NEXT STEP

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PART 22 >>Project aPocalypSe Horse heads west for paint and body

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e’ll be honest: most car reality television absolutely sucks. Whether it is piped-in artificial sound effects, manufac-

february 2016 | RPM Magazine

tured drama, or stupid storylines, it is for the most part a half-notch away from completely unwatchable drivel (it is car-related and there are a few exceptions, after all). Probably the

worst part, though, is the completely unrealistic sense of time such shows offer the uninformed. To see most any automotive-related television “reality,” you get the sense that every

1 Toby Brooks

project is completed in a week or two…and that block sanding doesn’t exist. After spending the last year in the capable hands of Donald Williams and Bobby Starch-


2 2: Before Lee could get started, the Horse needed to be moved over 800 miles west from Virginia Rod Company in Newport News to Mykal’s Customs in Fairfiel , Illinois. Our friends Donnie and Julie Wilson were kind enough to offer us a ride in their s eet toter. They took in the PRI tradeshow before heading home to Virginia. Thanks Donnie and Julie! 3 & 4: After over a year at VRC, it was time to head out. Donald Williams, Bobby Starcher, and the rest of the VRC crew loaded the car into the Wilson’s rig and said their goodbyes. Hopefully the next time they see the car this summer at the Street Machine Nationals it will be complete!

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3: We tried the factory V6 rear bumper, but decided that a diffe ent approach would be better. The big rear cutout might be okay for an all-out drag car with dual wheelie bars, but we decided it was too much for our mostly street driven ride.

er at Virginia Rod Company, our project Mustang was at long last loaded up and delivered to the next stop in our build, Mykal’s Custom Autobody in Illinois. With the bulk of the chassis fabrication complete but countless details left o finish in, on, and under the car, we still have our work cut out for us to complete it in time for a summer 2016 debut. If

only we were on television, right (*note sarcasm)? Getting the car and all the extra parts from Newport News, Virginia to Fairfield, Illinois was no easy task. First, our friends Donnie and Julie Wilson offered up the vast majority of the trip in the confines of their trailer and hauler en route to the 2015 Performance Racing Industry

show in Indianapolis. The Wilson’s recently sold their cool pro street 1965 Nova and purchased a cool pair of his-n-hers street machines, a tubbed big block 1960 El Camino for him and a super-smooth 1966 Belvedere II for her. However, Michael Lee of Mykal’s Customs was finishing up one more project and needed to free up some room before he could take delivery of the car, so our good friend George Norovich offered to lend a helping hand, taking

delivery of the car and all the extra parts for a few days in his shop, Norovich’s Pro Street Customs in nearby West Frankfort, Illinois. Not content to simply babysit the Horse for a few days, Norovich chipped in on the build himself, getting our new Visner Engine Development billet intake mounted and installing coolant fittings. After holding the car for a few days, he loaded it up and drove the 45-minute trek to Fairfield and dropped the car off.

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RPM PROJECT CAR 6

6, 7, & 8: One of the final abrication chores VRC was able to start prior to shipping out was the install of these cool Air Frame hood hinges from Ring Brothers. Unlike the factory Mustang hinges that only pivot, these first gen Camaro hinges articulate up and out, allowing a pretty deep sweep back of the Harwood cowl hood without interfering with the factory front windshield. Although it will take further refinement and massaging to get the fit just right, our hood is at least operational.

7 5: Good buddy George Norovich babysat our ride for a few days while Lee finished up another project. During the time at Norovich’s, George massaged the Visner Engine Development intake manifold to get all the bolt holes functional and also drilled and tapped the coolant passages for us before loading the car up and hauling it to Mykal’s a few days later. That is George’s and wife Dian’s cool blown ’55 Chevy in the background. You can see a full feature on it and his blown and injected wagon in our sister publication TUBBED at http://bit.ly/22wTe4V. Mykal’s Custom Auto has been quietly gaining momentum and notoriety for killer paint work for more than a decade. An experienced auto body tech who happens to be an incredible artist, Lee opened his existing shop in 2001 and came highly recommended when plans with our previous shop fell through in the eleventh hour. Skilled, capable,

and ready to take on our project, Mykal’s was a perfect fit for our Project aPocalypSe Horse. Norovich dropped the car off nd Lee had it for all of about three hours before he had already torn in, completely scuffing the body and taking inventory of the work to be completed prior to paint. We opted for several changes both front and

rear. The first step was to pull the existing front fenders and start from scratch. Beginning with the passenger side, Lee pulled out his pneumatic cutting wheel and proceeded to carve up a new stretched section using a 2005-2009 Mustang CAPA-certified aft rmarket replacement fender that was then mounted to another 2005-2009 fender’s center section. Following

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RPM PROJECT CAR the contours of the factory opening helps to hide the body worked section and ensures a better overall fit. Moving forward on that same fender, Lee also sourced a pair of 2013-2014 front fenders and cut a large section from the front. Our build features not only a 5-inch stretch to the fenders, but also a swap to the more contemporary 2013-2014 nose. After cutting out the necessary section, Lee expertly worked the wheel opening and bodyline with a planishing hammer and secured the new piece into

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position. While it might be easy—and tempting—to just slather the area with plastic filler and call it a day, Lee’s attention to detail and metalworking craftsmanship will not only look great initially, it won’t crack out like heavy plastic filler is prone to do. With new fenders in the works, the half-completed stretched Harwood hood needed some attention, too. The task had been started back in Virginia, but the job couldn’t be completed in time before the car shipped out. Lee started by cleaning

9: Although the hood stretch had been started, it was not complete. Lee started by block sanding the existing work and hitting it with another light coat of resin before turning his attention to the front fenders.

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10 & 11: Lee decided to re-do the modified f ont fenders, cutting away the previous work and adding a new 20052009 Mustang fender to the stretched portion, following the contour of the wheel opening.


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up all the seams in the fiberglass stretch and applying additional resin to fill the voids. The crew in Virginia was able to get the Ring Brothers Camaro billet hinges pre-fit and operational, and Lee plans to beef up the hinge and fender mounting locations with a new fabricated fender substructure and framework before block sanding begins.

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To add some additional styling as well as improved cooling functionality, we brainstormed and photoshopped a number of possibilities for a heat extractor for the build. We considered a narrowed GT500 design as well as a fifth-gen Camaro unit, but eventually settled on a pair of Boss 302 units mounted centrally near the front, helping our SPAL-equipped Saldana Racing Products radiator

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keep the big Ford just a bit cooler. We found a pair of factory units on eBay and ordered them up. With the units roughed in place, the expansive real estate of the stretched hood now has a bit of visual interest, too. The heat extractors will be flushed into the hood along with two AeroCatch hood pins. Lee is adding additional strength to the underside of the hood to increase stability and ensure a smooth clean fit.

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12, 13, & 14: Lee then moved his attention to the front edge of the fender, grafting in a 20132014 fender eyebrow using the same contoured approach. After massaging the wheel opening to match the older style fenders, he positioned the new piece and tacked it lightly with his Miller MIG welder.

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15, 16, & 17: With the massive stretched hood taking shape, we opted to add some function and styling by sinking a pair of factory Boss 302 heat extractors in place. Lee positioned them just over and behind the Saldana radiator for a cool look that will also literally keep things cooler by allowing heat to escape the engine bay.

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18 & 19: We pulled the V6 rear bumper off and s apped on this smooth Parnelli Jones rear cover sourced from Found-A-Deal.com.

RPM PROJECT CAR Elsewhere, we opted to remove the modified V6 Mustang-style rear bumper with something a bit smoother. The factory Mustang GT bumper that came with the car has exhaust provisions, which we obviously do not need. The V6 style eliminated those provisions but still had a license plate provision to contend with. While that seems fine, our S&W Race Cars single wheelie bar penetrates the bumper right where that plate would need to mount, making it an unnecessary aspect of the rear bumper. After a thorough internet search, we found exactly ONE style of 2005-2009 Mustang rear bumper that did not have a provision for a rear plate. The ultra-rare Parnelli Jones package provided a plate mounted to the decklid along with a smooth rear bumper. Although the design had exhaust cutouts, we will be able to easily fabricate a roll pan to eliminate them. After searching eBay again, we discovered Found-

A-Deal.com had managed to score a handful of the bumpers in addition to their wide assortment of performance parts. We promptly ordered one. Unfortunately, the swap meant that the cool tinwork out back built by Bobby Starcher probably won’t fit the new bumper. We pulled off verything attached to the old bumper and stored it for now, then pre-fit the new Parnelli Jones piece in place. The change adds finished look that is more in line with the stealth street brawler look we are going for. Elsewhere, we also started tackling the problem of the lower rocker trim that no longer fits. With the stretched fenders and zoomie exhaust dumps, the factory plastic is not only now too short, but a melting hazard even if it weren’t. Lee plans to build new units from steel with a massaged exhaust dump area and super cool Quik-Latch minis to fasten in place. Lee also dug in to the other mods, filling the factory fuel

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RPM PROJECT CAR 20

20 & 21: Body mods will be kept to a minimum, but one item that needed to be addressed was the factory fuel filler d or. Lee fabricated a filler pane , then tacked it in place with the MIG. After slowly working his way all the way around the opening while allowing time for the relatively thin factory sheetmetal to cool, he added just a bit of lead body solder to fill the seam. In ernet haters were quick to decry the use of lead in a drag car, but we are more concerned with a great paintjob that won’t crack out as opposed to the lightest possible weight. Check out the QR code above to see Lee in action!

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21 door opening and generally just getting the car ready for the wild Axalta North America paint. Meanwhile, we hauled all the remaining parts in Norovich’s shop back to our shop in Texas, where we plan to get started on some other aspects of the build like plumbing the nitrous system and planning the induction system routing. Stay tuned…things are starting to really shape up!

SOURCES Mykal’s Custom Autobody http://on.fb.me/1mJcqMx 618.842.7676

Harwood Industries www.eHarwood.com 800.822.3392

Ring Brothers www.ringbrothers.com 608.588.7399

AeroCatch www.aerocatch.com sales@aerocatch.com

Found-A-Deal

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22: The factory rocker trim won’t fit now, so we will have to come up with something else in steel to finish off the area.

www.FoundADeal.com 901.259.2220

Quik-Latch www.q-latch.com 469.387.0212

Axalta North America Refinish www.axaltacs.com 215.255.7932

1602 part 22 the next step  

Part 22 - The Next Step

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