In the world of custom muscle cars there are those cars that emerge at the shows that put chins on the pavement and are talked about for years to come once they’ve made their show debut. These types of cars usually feature more body mods than a Hollywood movie star and sport the best in drivetrains, suspension and body and paint, but one element that makes these cars a frequent topic of gearhead conversation is shock factor. To make a statement in the custom scene, these cars have to impress at the very first glance and reel the viewer in with exquisite detail.
Rosie, the 1966 Mustang fastback shining off of these pages, is a prime example of one of those cars that are “talked about for years to come,” and with good reason. Owner and builder Rod Nielsen of Hot Rod’s Restos in Delta, B.C., Canada cut no corners and spared no expense when constructing this virtually one-off, Blue Oval beauty. The laundry list of modifications on this rolling artwork is enough to fill this entire magazine, so we’ll hit the highlights and let the imagery sate the rest of your appetite.
Starting with an original 1966 Mustang fastback, not much of the original metal is left, as Rod has massaged, reworked, pinched, and shaved every panel to utter perfection. The project gains ground in the form of a 2 x 3 Art Morrison chassis complete with HRR chrom-moly cage and unibody construction. A Hot Rod’s Restos billet offset steering box provides the control gearing for the Mustang’s navigation qualities, while a custom IFS by HRR with coil-overs supplies the forward underpinning updates. In the tail end, where the rubber meets the road, Rod installed control in the form of a fully polished CWI quick change IRS rearend stuffed with a 2.74:1 gear set. Wilwood six-piston binders forward and four-piston aft complete with 14-inch front rotors and 12-inch rear rotors bring the masterpiece Mustang to a firm stop. Boyd Coddington Crown Jewel billet wheels widened by Green’s Automotive provide stable and stylish platforms for the rolling skeleton. At the nose, 19-inch Boyd Crown Jewels wrapped in 305/25ZR19 rubber make up the rolling attire, while the rear supports massive 345/25ZR20 skins rapped around 20-inch Crown Jewels bolted up to the gleaming IRS.
A muscle car of this caliber has to have a stunning and asphalt-ripping power plant and Rosie is no slouch in the horsepower department. A 427 small-block Ford, machined by K&S Machine, features an SVO dry sump block, cam motion roller camshaft and a duet of T-76 Q-trim T4 turbochargers all supported with Motec fuel injection with G-force and Data logging. Also featuring AFR 225 CC CNC-ported cylinder heads with shaft-mount rollers rockers, a Jesel dry belt drive system, and DEI thermal products, this sucker gets with the program the second Rod drops the six-speed hammer and abuses the custom pedal assemblies. Vibrant Performance supplied all of the expertly bent and meticulously polished induction tubing, which draws your focus the minute you lay eyes on Rosie’s detailed doghouse.
Rosie’s envelope is sealed with a bevy of one-off sheet metal and body mods for an arrow-straight finish. A custom-built HRR front fascia with PIAA HID lights draws initial focus as Rosie rolls up. Stretched lower front fenders flow seamlessly into the custom lower front fascia, while custom-flushed taillights provide the rear custom landscaping. Integrated steel front wheel wells with turbo inlet pipes and a custom-built belly pan are just a few more of the numerous tricks present on this museum-quality piece. The meticulous metalwork was covered in Sherwin-Williams Planet Color custom-mixed Silver and glass flaked black two-tone by painter Steve Crompton. Steve accented the opposing hues with a Candy Orange stripe drawing focus at Rosie’s waistline.
Moving into the cockpit, Rosie packs a punch with a sheet metal headliner and overhead console all flowing down into a custom sheet metal transmission tunnel and wheel wells. An Acer laptop was metal-worked into the smoothed and steel embossed dash. HRR custom-built door panels round out the sea of hand-formed and painted panels, while a billet dash panel with custom VDO gauges by Redline Gauge works provides signals to the 1,000-HP 427’s mood. A Flaming River tilt steering column and wheel command the Mustang’s direction of pavement destruction, while a 4,000-watt audio system keeps occupants entertained as they are pinned in the custom Kirkey race seats. A custom glass rear floor allows visual access to the polished independent rear suspension, and the potent twin turbo mill drinks from an HRR custom aluminum fuel cell. Rosie was reassembled with oversized clear glass to provide an unobstructed view into the race-inspired interior, also fit with leather trimmings by Dan Drofenik.
Rod Nielsen has crafted one insane ’66 Mustang, one that can hang whether put to the performance test or displayed under the uncompromising lights of an indoor turntable car show. Now that is a versatile, all-out, custom muscle car.