Words: Kristie Real
Customizing is one of those things that requires a person to have immense patience. If done in haste, the end result could end up being a disaster. When going into any build, both the owner and the customizer must not rush the process – even if the dreaded SEMA crunch is making everyone involved nervous and overwhelmed. Tony Arme of American Legends Hotrods and Muscle Cars had an idea to create a different kind of 1968 Mustang 14 years ago.
With good intentions in mind and half of the work done, it just wasn’t coming out as he intended. Unsure as to what to do next, his ’Stang sat for about 10 years before he was able to unleash new life into the American muscle beast. “A lot of work was done about 12 years ago, including most of the sheet work and suspension,” he admits. “While the car sat for 10 years or so, lots of ideas came and went. It was finally decided that it was time to complete the car about a year ago.” Tony wanted something more than just a regular and typical engine swap and needed something wild to really stand out. He needed something that would draw people’s attention and give them something to talk about.
To jumpstart the new project he dubbed “Corruptt,” Tony sought to give it more power and transplanted a Ferrari F430 4.3L F136 engine to give the Ford some insane horsepower (an indiscretion by Ford purists, but many can’t deny the allure of a Ferrari powetrain). What was once a vision to simply build an elegant Mustang unlike any other had now evolved into a supercar-themed setup.
But Tony and his crew were no strangers to such challenges given they’ve done a wide variety of powerful cars, including a 572-hp 1957 Chevy to a Pro Touring LS7-powered 1969 Camaro. To complement the boost in power, a Ferrari California modified intake manifold, Nelson Racing twin turbos and Fast Fuel injectors all work together to push out an estimated horsepower of 700. The RideTech Shockwave air ride suspension gives the classic the ability to comfortably handle the increased power while also sitting low as a Ferrari would. A slew of other mechanical modifications all come together to make this an old school with the heart of an exotic (quite literally). “The engine and associated components were actually sourced through eBay and the remaining ones were either built, 3D printed or CAD designed and CNC machined,” he details. Given there was no blueprint for a build of this caliber, Tony ran into a few snags, but made sure to persevere to get everything exactly how he wanted.
As for the aesthetics, the classic clean lines of the ‘Stang are still there, but just enhanced to resemble a modern supercar. Tony chopped off 2.5” from the roof, added a custom side-exit exhaust, bespoke acrylic bumpers, a carbon fiber floor pan and lot of 3D-printed parts to fill in the blanks for all the one-off bodywork. The chopped body rides on Avante Garde wheels wrapped in sticky Toyo Proxes R888R rubber, with 14” Wilwood brake kit tucked behind them to provide substantial stopping power. Although it’s highly influenced by today’s supercars, Tony made sure that the entire build still embodied the original concept of the car. “We used today’s technology and then took details, fit and finish to the next level to achieve such a bold design,” he admits. A lot of the car’s mods are controlled using an iPad, achieving modern technology with nostalgic looks that combine the best of both worlds.
The high-powered Mustang was the talk of the 2018 SEMA Show, where it was unveiled inside the Odyssey Battery booth and it took home the DUB AMSOIL Award for “Best Performance Car.” “You never know how a vehicle like this will be received, and I think most people accepted it even though it was so far out in left field,” Tony reveals. “One of the coolest things for me was having people that followed the entire build on social media see the car in person and know about the work and detail that went into it.” Tony plans on continuing to show off his American muscle/exotic hybrid at shows and is looking forward to hitting up ½-mile events to show off that Ferrari power!