It seems like the most obvious question in the world: why doesn’t Ford bring back the original 1965 Mustang? After all, the first Ford Mustang sold 1.3 million copies in 21/2 years, a record that remains untouched.
Tom Scarpello had heard the question many times, and he knew the answer.
Scarpello ran Ford’s special vehicle team from 1998 to 2004 and knew the old Mustang body design couldn’t meet today’s federal safety requirements.
“But that idea always stuck with me,” Scarpello said. “I would tinker with old Mustangs with new technology, and people would look at me as if I was nuts. But I was always fascinated by how much better they can be.”
Scarpello knew if you picked a car and a set of specifications, low-volume production could produce economies of scale, yield better quality and net the benefits of mass production.
His two-year-old company, Revology Cars of Orlando, Fla., displayed the result at the 2016 Amelia Island Concours d’Elegance in Florida, where Scarpello unveiled a 1966 Revology Mustang GT convertible and a 1966 Shelby GT350H. A third car, the two-and-two coupe, wasn’t shown. Prices start at US$129,750.
The replicas start with new unibodies built by Dynacorn, the only company licensed by Ford to manufacture them. Then, the car is re-engineered to accommodate the modern drivetrain and chassis electronics. The standard power plant on the coupe and convertible is a GM-built LS3 6.2-litre V-8 rated at 430 horsepower and emissions-certified nationwide. Ford’s all-aluminum, dual-overhead cam 5.0-litre V-8, rated at 435 horsepower, is optional on the coupe and convertible and standard on the Shelby GT350H. A racing version of the Ford engine is optional on the Shelby for US$3,250.
The suspension has been substantially upgraded; steering is rack and pinion, with power disc brakes all around.
All cars can be fitted with a four-speed automatic transmission. Coupes and convertibles can be had with a five-speed manual transmission, while the Shelby can be fitted with a six-speed manual. “I would have expected a lot more demand for manual, but people prefer automatics.”
And if you’re expecting more than four speeds in your automatic, forget about it. “There’s not enough space there; it was a three-speed automatic back then. More gears actually take more space; most people don’t realize it.”
Thankfully, few of the car’s upgrades are visible.
Grabbing and pushing down the window handle lowers the power window. The same idea works for the door locks. Turning on the radio brings more than an AM radio band. And there’s even remote keyless entry. But little of this is evident when seated inside, and that’s the beauty of a Revology Mustang.
“Really, what we’re offering is a car that you can drive every day if you want to.”
So, what does Ford think?
“I think it’s really good,” said Moray Callum, vice-president of design for Ford. “When you think that it’s basically a car built from scratch, it’s actually pretty impressive and a really good value, too. It’s a real Mustang.”
Callum isn’t the only one who has been impressed.
Ford has designated the Revology cars as officially licensed products. “They validated our claim of being the world’s first Mustang replica.
It’s been validated by Ford,” said Scarpello.
Nevertheless, don’t expect buying a Revology Mustang to be as financially beneficial as owning a real 1965 Mustang.
“There will be a depreciation curve,” said Dave Kinney, publisher of the Hagerty Price Guide, which tracks collector-car values. “It might not be anywhere near as long as a new car, and it could be that it stops after six months.”
Still Kinney does see advantages to owning one.
“Branding with a brand that denotes quality will mean that the resale will continue to be high. Having a re-manufacturer’s stamp of approval on it does mean something,” Kinney said, citing continued demand for Lingenfelter Corvettes as an example.
For many others, the advantages will be simpler.
“It’s a great alternative to buying a new Mustang; it’s distinctive, it’s different. You’re never going to see yourself coming at you on the road. It’s a viable alternative,” said Kinney.
“I would love to drive one,” Callum told Scarpello. “You have to get one up to Detroit.”
— Tribune News Service