This article was first published in July 2000.
Given that Carol Shelby manufactured only a handful of GT-350 Mustangs, to find one on the streets of Melbourne would be about as rare as running over a pile of rocking horse shit in a McLaren F1, don't you think! Perhaps it's for this reason that - whether it's in Australia or any other country for that matter - replicas are the norm. Not that there's anything wrong with 'mock-ups', so long as the owner isn't one of those jerks who likes to insult one's intelligence by lying about a car's authenticity.
Not that air conditioning engineer, Peter Furmedge would ever contemplate such an insult. Nosiree. Matter of fact, the number plate adorning his unique Mustang says it all. Yep, I'd say that 'pseudo' sums things up very nicely! Actually, the whole theme of the car indicates that Pete is the type of bloke to take the mickey out of himself and anyone else prepared to suffer his humour. Mmmm, 'suffer' is perhaps a little inappropriate, because Pete is a real card. Dry to the bone, he lets his wicked Mustang do the talking when the numbers need to be crunched. It's just like you or me opting to hide behind a secretary rather than face adversity or conflict first hand. The old blame-it-on-somebody-else syndrome. Then again, wouldn't you if that 'secretary' was powered by a heavily improved twin turbocharged 351 Windsor!
The story goes that Pete's Mustang was the brainchild of a lovely American gentleman by the name of Don Emas from Covina, California. Seems that Don wanted to continue the Shelby tradition by buying and converting a 1966 Mustang convertible. Circa 1986 and Don cut to the chase by thoroughly stripping the 'Stang, and adding all of the goodies that were felt needed to 'Cobra-ise' it. With more modern technology available, he opted to improve the LSD 3.00 nine-inch diff, ending it with 1970 Lincoln Versailles discs. Likewise, a freshened front-end benefits from 1968 Cougar disc brakes. Like the original GT-350s, Don lowered the front upper control arms 25mm, added lowered heavy-duty springs and a 3mm oversize front bar.
The engine was beefed and backed with a T10 four-speed, the exterior topped in Porsche paint and GT-350 stripes and rear quarter side vents, while fresh Pro Car bucket seats adorned the re-stitched roll cage-equipped interior. Detailed to the max, Don's Shelby replica turned so many heads that someone in their wisdom decided to take it around the globe on a whirlwind show tour. The trip worked very well in that the 'Stang never made it back to red, white and blue shores; rather a discerning character decided he had to own it. Three years later, it was offered for sale with Pete promptly coming to the party, making an offer too good to refuse. Although the previous owner had converted the steering, Pete wasn't fully satisfied and went over it with a fine-toothed comb. At the same time, he replaced the manual transmission with a radically modified Tranztuff C9 and Dominator converter.
It's Only Just Begun
Work certainly didn't stop there, with Peter fine-tuning his 'rally' ride on a regular basis. The original 289 was next on the list, Peter trading it for a new concoction pieced together by ex-V8 Supercar engine builder, Shane Lowe of Performance Engines. Starting with a seasoned 351 Windsor short, Shane race-prepped all bottom end components, added an offset ground stroker crankshaft that takes the cubic capacity up to 372, added big block Chevy connecting rods and low compression Arias pistons, a large capacity aftermarket sump, high volume oil pump and Sig Erson 'turbo' camshaft.
Keith Harvey Motors Ringwood prepped the 302 cylinder heads, adding Yella Terra roller rockers with stainless steel one-piece valves, ported runners and equalised chambers designed to reduce the static compression ratio to 7.5:1. A tinkerer, Pete decided to add his own flavour by developing a sealed plenum arrangement housing a four-barrel Holley carby mounted over the stock inlet manifold. Two Nissan 300ZX turbochargers hung off either side of the engine, the fuel charge ignited by a Performance Ignition modified HEI distributor. Spent gasses exited through custom Mr Muffler extractors and a twin system.
A keen classic car racer and rally driver, Peter took out his frustrations at the racetrack and on any number of tarmac rallies. Mind you, a second Mustang came on the scene after a few years and was configured specifically for the circuit, which would allow the convertible to be further modified for serious rally competition - as well as plenty of road driving! Pete attacked the suspension, adding adjustable Koni shocks, he swapped the diff centre for a 2.7:1 'cruiser' while adorning each corner with new 15 x 7-inch Performance alloys replacing the genuine 10-spoke Shelby rims. The current tyres are 205-60-15 Falken Azenis race versions.
"The interior was so good that I've left it pretty much alone, only adding a few necessities such as a 2-kg fire extinguisher, VDO Mini Cockpit, tacho, small boost gauge, harnesses, engine immobiliser, and I've updated the sound system to include a Kenwood CD. Don fitted Alpine speakers and amplifier, there's Pony deluxe trim, and a Lecarra steering wheel," Pete advised. The exterior is 'as was' with the R-model racing apron, Shelby bonnet scoop and white side stripes.
"Within a couple of years of fitting the turbos they started getting a little smoky, and having been advised that they couldn't be rebuilt, I decided to bite the bullet and update the entire induction package including larger turbos and fuel injection," Pete enthused. The process kicked off with a custom 80-litre aluminium Vanell Products fuel tank and 600 horsepower capable Bosch fuel pump mounted in the boot. Renowned engine management system company, MoTeC, supplied complementary fuel lines, filters and regulator to coincide with a modified Edelbrock Victor Jnr with 1000 cfm throttle body and eight Bosch injectors.
The owner fabricated turbo plumbing, inlet pipes and plenum works with two 350 horsepower Garrett water cooler ball bearing turbochargers - however, there is one major downfall. Yep, thanks to limited engine bay space, the combination lacks an intercooler. Fact is, Peter thought about it and even went to the extent of attempting to design a suitable radiator/intercooler set-up, however with space at an absolute premium, all he could do was fit a custom aluminium radiator as supplied by Race Radiators. Trans and engine oil coolers are mounted fore of the radiator.
For almost a decade now, Peter has campaigned his unique Mustang in bitumen rallies Australia-wide. He loves the challenge of driving, the frustration of difficult navigation, the lure of amazing back roads and the hospitality of many town folk. The Mustang has seen a huge variety of events from a run in a "Dutton" in 1992, something like four Tour T'Adelaide runs, Le Bordeaux Rallies, three by 3-Peaks, Ballarat Winter Classic rallies (1st in class 3 years), lotsa hillclimbs (Morwell, Mt Leura, Rob Roy, Arthurs Seat), Mangalore Sprints, Calder, Phillip Island, Calder and a whole lot more.
Thanks to Rob Hainal of Hillway Dyno Teck, Kilsyth, Peter Sortell of Petewell Engineering in Croydon and Keith Harvey Motors Ringwood, Pete's Mustang continues to run like a dream while performing feats considered too difficulty for many later model cars. And guess what, the owners of these late model cars absolutely hate being beaten by a 'crappy old Mustang'!