Mid-engine Mustang breaks the muscle car mold

Published November 02, 2012

| FoxNews.com

It’s often forgotten, but the first Ford Mustang was a mid-engine car.

Not the production vehicle, but the Mustang I Concept that preceded it.

Introduced in 1962, the lightweight, futuristic two-seater featured a tiny V4 engine, a shorty racecar style windshield, a basket handle roll bar and pop-up headlights tucked into its slope nose.

Deemed a bit too pie in the sky for the times, by 1964 the Mustang had morphed into the more traditional pony car coupe we know today, while some of the spirit of the original found a home in the four-time 24 Hours of Le Mans winning GT40, albeit with a honking V8 behind the seats.

But 50 years later the two have come together, courtesy of Oregon’s Eckert’s Rod and Custom. The shop has put together an amazing supercut of a 1969 Mustang Mach 1 and a 2006 GT, Ford’s modern tribute to the GT40, for a client looking for something certifiably unique.

Starting with the Mach 1, David Eckert’s team reworked the entire car, chopping and lowering just about every element while moving the drivetrain to the rear. The engine is a modified version of the 5.4-liter supercharged V8 from the GT, which can run on E85 and now puts out between 600 hp and 850 hp, controlled by a dial on the center console.

With no motor up front, the suspension was redesigned with double wishbones, while heat extractors in the hood – themselves a take on a GT40 styling cue – let the twin fans of the radiator breathe easy. The final product looks so good that it makes you wonder why Ford never did something like this itself.

The project was done as a one-off for a customer, and Eckert won’t say how much it cost, but combining a 43-year-old classic with a $150,000 supercar couldn’t be cheap.

But fear not, the car was just named "Best Hot Rod" at the Sony Playstation Gran Turismo Awards and will be added as one of the driveable cars in the Gran Turismo video game franchise soon, so you'll at least be able to take it out for a virtual spin.

Read: Ford unveils 'new' 1940 Coupe

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http://www.foxnews.com/leisure/2012/11/02/mid-engine-mustang-breaks-muscle-car-mold/