Latemodel Restoration revamps its 2011 Mustang as a company Pace Car
By Steve Turner
Photos by Steve Turner and courtesy of Latemodel Restoration
Project cars are born for many reasons. Some are started to develop products. Others are born to promote products. While others still are simply part of a personal journey. For those in the promotional and development categories, the road can be hard. More often than not, if the car is running, the pedal is probably flat on the floor.
There is no rest for the weary, especially if you are a project car in the burgeoning stables of the Latemodel Restoration. The companyâ€™s slogan is â€œPowered by Enthusiasts,â€ and itâ€™s not hard to see the enthusiasm exuded by its numerous and varied project vehicles. From a Fairmont with a Three-Valve 4.6 swap to a 1997 Cobra with a Coyote swap, they have some cool cars in progress.
Well one of the companyâ€™s long-running projects had become a little tired. The Latemodel crew had come to a consensus that it was in need of a freshening. However, it wasnâ€™t until catastrophe struck that the metamorphosis from Project 777 to the SVE Pace Car began. After a hard life of burnouts and endless road racing laps, the notorious number-eight cylinder let go.
Since the car needed a freshening under the hood, it served as a great opportunity to revamp the carâ€™s whole theme. Of course, the most important step was getting it up and running again, but the Latemodel bunch is not one to leave well-enough alone. They werenâ€™t going to just rebuild the stock engine or replace it with a stock crate engine. Nope. They had to step it up, and who could blame them?
â€œThis project started as one of our first real company â€˜projectâ€™ cars and after some time with the blue and orange scheme, it was time for something new. We ran the car hard on the original motor, but we needed a little more to reach our goals of the ultimate, all around performance car,â€ Jeff Jimenez, Latemodel Restorationâ€™s marketing rep said. â€œWith the new Ford Racing Aluminator XS motor in place, we figured a fresh look was in order to due the car justice. After many ideas, we settled on the 1979 Mustang Indianapolis Pace Car look with our own fresh spin to make it our own.â€
â€œThe wrap was designed with the Indianapolis Pace Car in mind, being we are Fox-body people, it just worked for us and who we are,â€ he added. â€œIt brought back some nostalgic feelings that brought us back to the roots of why we are in this industry and the passion we have for the cars that helped in growing our company.â€
The aforementioned Aluminator XS crate engine (PN M-6007-A50XS) is a stout unit, and they backed it with a SPEC Stage 2 clutch. If you arenâ€™t familiar with this engine, it is one of the most robust non-supercharged Coyote engines offered by the factory racing division. In fact, it is the engine that powers the naturally aspirated Cobra Jet drag racers. Topped by Boss 302 heads fitted with Ford Racing cams, this engine is built with Mahle forged pistons, Mahle H-beam rods, a billet-steel oil pump, and ARP fasteners.
â€œThe Aluminator brought a whole new feel to the 2011 Mustang. With the huge set of lungs, the motor will pull as long as you are on the throttle,â€ Jeff explained. â€œThis was the perfect combination for us using the car for open track racing. Overall power remains constant throughout the entire rpm range and really takes the cars overall performance to the next level in a competition setting.â€
As we said, the Latemodel crew likes to go big. And the robust Aluminator XS is made to produce over 500 horsepower at the flywheel. Fed by a JLT CJ CAI and a Ford Racing throttle body and back by a Stainless Works/Bassani exhaust, this combo was ready to run in the Pace Car. With tuning from Justin Starkey at VMP Tuning, the XS engine put down 447.10 horsepower and 382.04 lb-ft of torque to the rear wheels on 93 octane.
With a robust new heart transplant, it seemed the appropriate time for a whole new rebirth of this 2011 Mustang GT project. As you must know, Latemodel Restoration got its start with Fox Mustangs, and has grown to support every Mustang since. So, it was only natural they would come up with a theme a retro theme for the modern Mustang. In addition to the obvious pace car cues, they also added a Boss 302S grille and a set of the companyâ€™s SVE Drift wheels, and a few acknowledgements to the Aluminator underhood. They later switched over to the SVE Series 2 wheels in black.
Though it looks like a show car now, that doesnâ€™t mean the SVE Pace Car is going to sit still. Instead, the Latemodel Restoration crew has already hit the road hard with it. The car has made full-tilt road course laps at the Mid-America Shelby Meet in Tulsa, Oklahoma, and they road-tripped it all the way to Myrtle Beach, South Carolina, for Mustang Week where we saw it for the first time.
â€œPeople fell in love with the car as soon as it hit the streets,â€ Jeff said. â€œAnyone who knows Fox bodies immediately takes to the look of the car and are blown away when they look under the hood. If we are not snapping necks on the highway, people are trying to snap a selfie with it at a show or gas station.â€
So the revamp was successful, but that doesnâ€™t mean the project is finished. As we know, a project is never really finished. The enthusiasts at Latemodel plan to push this combo even harder before stepping it up with a power adder. That stands to reason, because this car is now setting the pace for the company.