Of all the classic Mustangs that still exist from the car’s first decade, perhaps the 1971-72 models receive the least amount of love. The last of the “big” Mustangs these models were referred to names such as Grande. While the Mach 1 package was continued in 1971, it was a mere shadow of its former self.
With that said, the ’70-’73 Mustangs have always fascinated us. We have often thought this model was under appreciated with untapped potential as a project car. So, when Gateway Classic Mustang contacted us about a 1971 Mustang that would be on display in its booth at the SEMA Show, we were excited to check the car out.
Gateway Classic Mustang specializes in Mustang restoration and restoration parts. This particular car belongs to a family member of Gateway’s owners, Dave Childress. Childress said during our interview “I’ve always wanted a ’71 Mustang, and I was looking for a project when this one turned up just around the corner from my house.”
Childress says the car was in rough condition when he acquired it. “We decided to start completely over with the car, having it chemically dipped to strip it down to bare metal.” After spotting Dynacorn producing parts for this particular body style Mustang at SEMA a few years ago, Childress and the Gateway Classic crew took the pieces home when the show ended. “Last year, Dynacorn had the doors available at the SEMA Show and we brought back a pair of those. The hood, cowl, fenders, doors, and quarter panels are all Dynacorn parts,” Childress said.
The body remains mostly stock-finished in Axalta paint in Ford’s Blue Flame Metallic Hue with JRD International smoked glass used to darken the exterior. The car was mini-tubbed to allow more modern and wider rubber to fit in the rear, and Curtis Speed wheels are wrapped in 18-inch rubber.
Under the hood is a Ford 5.0-liter Coyote V8 which sends its power through a ACE racing clutch and a Tremec T-56 Magnum transmission. Torque and horsepower make way to the rear wheels via a QA1 carbon fiber driveshaft and 9-inch rearend. A Magnaflow exhaust provides the sounds of horsepower out the tailpipes, and Gateway Performance suspension helps with the handling and brakes from Baer take care of stopping. The entire car was rewired using an American Autowire harness. Inside there are components from Kicker Audio, Recaro seats, and gauges from Classic Instruments.
The build was finished the Tuesday before SEMA, and then loaded up for its trek from the Midwest to Sin City for the SEMA show. The only miles on the odometer so far are from testing done right before the show in Las Vegas.
“The car was built to be a restomod, to have all the comfort and power of a modern car, but look like an older car,” says Childress. Gateway Classic Mustang provides restoration service, parts sales, and technical support to its customers. Everything on this ’71 is available through Gateway Classic Mustang.
We always appreciate unique takes on the Mustang, especially on those vehicles that are less appreciated, or less popular within the Mustang world.