Unique Cars - - CONTENTS -

Im­mor­talised on the big screen in the Ni­cholas Cage re­make of Gone In 60 Sec­onds, the Eleanor Mus­tang cap­tured hearts and imag­i­na­tions around the world, and while I per­son­ally pre­ferred the orig­i­nal flick from the 70s, it’s im­pos­si­ble to ig­nore the star power on dis­play in the GT500-kit­ted 1967 fast­back.

We’ve all seen count­less repli­cas, usu­ally low-ef­fort fi­bre­glass kit cars. But US Clas­sic Mus­cle Cars in Mel­bourne were keen to show us their take on the iconic star car.

Be­fore I go on, let me pref­ace the car with this: this is likely the great­est Eleanor in the world!

While it may look like any other Eleanor replica you’ve seen, Richard and Dy­lan at US Clas­sic Mus­cle Cars have cre­ated an ab­so­lute mon­ster with plenty of en­gi­neer­ing, re­search and de­vel­op­ment and a thought-out so­lu­tion to ev­ery sin­gle de­tail un­der­neath their cre­ation.

They’ve cre­ated a one-stop shop, through­out the en­tire build process; they do ab­so­lutely ev­ery­thing in-house apart from up­hol­stery. Cus­tomers sim­ply se­lect how they’d like their dream Mus­tang, with choices of colour, en­gine, gear­box and var­i­ous driv­e­line, sus­pen­sion and in­te­rior choices avail­able. But let’s start at the be­gin­ning.

Richard and Dy­lan per­son­ally fly to the US, to hunt, find and source gen­uine and orig­i­nal 1967 or 1968 Fast­back bod­ies, in the best con­di­tion pos­si­ble.

Once back in the coun­try, the body un­der­goes a full


ro­tis­serie tear down. The body is me­dia blasted, treated and de­ox­i­dised.

From there, the cus­tomer can choose whether they would like the car right-hand con­verted, or left in its na­tive left-hook con­fig­u­ra­tion. The fire­wall, dash and cowl are re­placed in the con­ver­sion – af­ter which a new one-piece floor is fit­ted, grafted to the rear sus­pen­sion with a full length-chas­sis fur­ther braced and strength­ened run­ning through the floor.

A steel Shelby tail­light panel is fit­ted, with quar­ters re­placed if de­graded be­yond re­pair.

Richard and Dy­lan use orig­i­nal doors and fend­ers to achieve the best pos­si­ble panel gap, and once all body­work is com­pleted, the front and rear sus­pen­sion sub-frames are fit­ted, while the body and pan­els head to the paint shop, and the guys can be­gin me­chan­i­cal and fab­ri­ca­tion work.

Spe­cial men­tion must be made of the qual­ity of the guys’ paint work too: these guys are ab­so­lute fa­nat­i­cal when it comes to at­ten­tion to de­tail. Ev­ery­thing is done to per­fec­tion, paint work es­pe­cially. They coat the body in a spe­cial epoxy primer and polyester for the per­fect fin­ish. The car is then blocked and coated in primer, with the un­der­body re­ceiv­ing a com­pre­hen­sive coat of stone-re­sis­tant ma­te­rial.

The body pan­els them­selves are painted sep­a­rately in or­der to prop­erly achieve an even coat, even around and be­hind sur­faces. Like I said, these guys are per­fec­tion­ists!

Un­der­neath the car is where most of the magic hap­pens how­ever. Look­ing at this thing on the hoist, I was as­tounded at the qual­ity of the work. You could prac­ti­cally eat off it, the un­der­side that is! Un­der the skin is also where cus­tomers have the op­por­tu­nity to let their imag­i­na­tion run free.


En­gine op­tions in­clude two 5.0lt Coy­ote crate mo­tors, with the base be­ing a nat­u­rally as­pi­rated quad-cam fuel in­jected unit, which the boys say is good for 370kW+, though we drove their su­per­charged ver­sion good for a ball-bust­ing 499kW (670hp). If you like your pow­er­plants a lit­tle more old-school, Richard and Dy­lan also of­fer a 427 small-block op­tion.

You also have three gear­boxes to choose from, a Tre­mec TKO 600 five-speed, a Tre­mec T56 six-speed or a Ford four-speed au­to­matic.

There’s also a plethora of fur­ther op­tions you can se­lect in re­gard to the driv­e­line and sus­pen­sion, though you do get rack-and-pin­ion steer­ing, dou­ble wish­bone front coilovers and a four-link rear in­cluded.

Chro­moly tail shaft, Strange En­gi­neer­ing 31 spline diff, tubu­lar rear sus­pen­sion, six-pis­ton Baer brakes, mini-tubbed rear to fit 315 sec­tion tyres, 18” Shelby wheels and sus­pen­sion pack­ages are all ways you can op­tion your dream car.

They can even hook up a ni­trous sys­tem if you’d re­ally like to live out your get­away driver dreams.

On to the out­side, the op­tional bil­let hinges are a work of art in them­selves. The boys can fur­ther cus­tomise your car with LED se­quen­tial tail lights, custom fuel tank and ce­ramic-coated ex­haust.

And the op­tions only go on from there once you look at the in­side. It’s stag­ger­ing!

As I said ear­lier, up­hol­stery is the only thing Richard and Dy­lan don’t do them­selves in-house. But you can choose to spec­ify var­i­ous custom op­tions, in­clud­ing leather cen­tre con­sole, hand-stitched roof lin­ing, moulded car­pets and


you can have much of the trim in ei­ther leather or suede.

The guys have even painstak­ingly fully de­vel­oped their own wir­ing loom and har­ness that al­lows for plenty of mod­ern tech to match the cut­ting edge run­ning gear. Mod­ern au­dio equip­ment, power win­dows, sat­nav, air con­di­tion­ing; the car I drove even had a push-but­ton elec­tric park­ing brake!

The amaz­ing thing Dy­lan and Richard have achieved is how all the parts come to­gether.

Driv­ing the thing, well… it still drives with a sense of fa­mil­iar­ity to any­one ac­quainted with old ’Stangs, but you can feel the sus­pen­sion work­ing un­der you over cor­ru­ga­tions and cam­bered roads.

And the sound! The su­per­charged Coy­ote ab­so­lutely howls! It’s got more power than you could ask for, and re­sponds like a hun­gry beast.

They’ve cre­ated a co­he­sive pack­age that’s more than the sum of its parts. Any­where you drive this thing, you’ll get looks. The car is a bona-fide movie star, and will make you feel like one too.

It’s no slapped-to­gether resto­mod, but is in­stead a ground-up fully de­vel­oped ve­hi­cle with clas­sic mus­cle feel, and new car sen­si­bil­ity.

Clas­sic Mus­tangs aren’t re­ally my thing, but this is likely the great­est Eleanor in the world!

If you’d like your own, get in touch with Richard and Dy­lan at US Clas­sic Mus­cle Cars. Though be pre­pared, the boys do have a wait­ing list and their in­cred­i­ble work and en­gi­neer­ing doesn’t come cheap.

Cars start at $220,000 with­out op­tions, but bear in mind the car we drove was fully loaded, so the bud­get is tied to your imag­i­na­tion!

ABOVE Looks like a movie star, will make you feel like one too.ABOVE LEFT “Go Baby Go!” shifter is nice touch.LEFT You could prac­ti­cally eat off that un­der­car­riage!.

ABOVE Few other cars feel this spe­cial.ABOVE LEFTSu­per­charged Coy­ote yields face-melt­ing 499kW.LEFT When two stars col­lide.

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