Ford had a dominant presence at the 2017 SEMA (Specialty Equipment Market Association) show, with more than 50 vehicles and the largest OEM display at the annual aftermarket industry trade event in Las Vegas.
In addition to customised versions of the F-Series pickup and Focus RS (which won the ‘Hottest Pickup’ and ‘Hottest Hatch’ awards at the show), Ford also presented plenty for pony car enthusiasts, including the announcement of a 700hp (522kW), 610lb/ft (827Nm) Ford Performance/Roush supercharger as an accessory for the MY18 Mustang GT, as well as Ford’s return to factory-supported NHRA drag racing.
In terms of Mustang show cars, there was a string of ponies inside and outside, but a special group of 2018-models occupied Ford’s stand that Ford dubbed “the magnificent seven”. The mix of GT and EcoBoost coupes and convertibles had been converted by seven different hot rod shops and custom houses, all of whom brought their own unique take to the Mustang.
Here’s a snapshot of what was created…
2018 Mustang 2.3 EcoBoost 10-speed auto fastback
Specialists in body kits, Air Design gave their Mustang the full treatment, with Mustang-specific replacement parts including their aggressive front bumper, side skirts, lower rear skirt and rear wing. The window louvres and side scops, along with the replacement bonnet, came from the Ford Accessories catalogue.
Under that custom bonnet, a Ford Performance by Borla exhaust was added, with the braking upgraded with Wilwood six-piston front and four-piston rear calipers on drilled and slotted 15-inch front and 9.5-inch rear rotors.
Air Design chose Forgiato Fratello ECL rims (21x9.5 front, 21x10.5 rear) and Pirelli P Zero tyres, while Sherwin Williams paint was selected for the exterior finish, and Sundial window tint was added to keep the interior cool.
That interior featured Recaro leather seats and a Kicker sound system from the Ford Licensed Accessories Audio catalogue.
It may have been one of the least modified Mustangs at SEMA, but thanks to those body add-ons and its stunning silver paint, the Air Design fastback was one of the best-looking pony cars at the show.
2018 Mustang 2.3 EcoBoost 6-speed manual convertible
California-based MAD Industries also chose an EcoBoost turbo four for their build, but extensively modified it inside and out.
Finished in white with custom green and black graphics protected by Nano-Fusion paint protection film, the MAD Mustang also featured custom Pony emblems, LED indicators and rear lighting, an adjustable APR carbon rear wing and a front splitter co-developed by APR and MAD.
Under the bonnet (accessed by Redline quick-lift struts), the EcoBoost engine was given a Ford Performance by Borla exhaust and Ford Performance cold-air intake system, while the suspension was upgraded to Eibach Pro-R2 double adjustable coilover shocks, with an Eibach three-way adjustable sway bar kit also fitted.
Wilwood Aerolite brakes, Staccato series (20x9 and 20x10.5) alloys from Niche Road Wheels and Michelin Pilot Sport S tyres also featured, as did 3M window films and parking sensors from AL Priority Quint.
The interior upgrade from MAD Industries consisted of Braum elite x-series racing front seats, custom leatherette trim, a Shelby GT350R steering wheel, CDC light bar on the rear of the rollover hoop and a custom sound system from AV Design Group.
Tucci Hot Rods
2018 Mustang 5.0 V8 10-speed auto fastback
With the goal of turning a Mustang GT into a 260+km/h street car, Tucci Hot Rods from New York started by adding a Hellion twin turbo kit to the 2018 GT’s 5.0-litre V8 – a claimed world first. Hellion stated that the kit fitted to the Tucci car at SEMA will put out 650hp (484kW) and 650lb/ft (880Nm), with up to 900hp (671kW) possible using an upgraded kit. Compare that to the 460hp (343kW), the MY18 GT’s V8 produces in stock form.
Tuned by HP Tuners, the engine then got a radiator, trans cooler and oil cooler upgrade from Mishimoto, with a tougher driveshaft and rear axles from G-Force. A Ford Performance by Borla exhaust and DEI exhaust wrap completed the engine mods.
Dom Tucci ‘concept’ body mods included Tucci’s own aluminium pro-mod wing and rear diffuser, Ultimaker 3D-printed bonnet vents and a Stroud drag parachute.
Under the skin, Tucci added Ford Performance front and rear sway bars, RideTech air ride suspension and Wilwood Aero brakes. Open lug alloy wheels from Forgeline were shod with Hoosier R7/A7 racing slicks.
Inside, Tucci fitted their own design roll cage with TMR Customs roll cage clamps, then added Cobra Pro-Fit GT front seats with Schroth Pro-Fit II HANS racing harnesses.
Speedkore Performance Group
2018 Mustang 5.0 V8 10-speed auto convertible
Speedkore’s creation was a feast of modern carbon fibre outside (the Wisconsin firm specialises in carbon fibre panels and other parts), but the full leather upholstery inside evoked classic roadsters.
Powertrain mods were restricted to a custom titanium cat-back exhaust for the new Mustang’s 5.0 V8, while Eibach Pro-Street-S suspension and Brembo brakes were the only other mechanical upgrades.
The full SpeedKore body treatment included carbon fibre mirror caps, air vents, sill panels, front splitter, rear spoiler and diffuser, ‘speedflares’ and exhaust tips. To this, a complementary custom paint job was added, with P204 alloys from HRE Wheels and Michelin Pilot Sport S tyres.
Inside, the carbon fibre treatment continued with SpeedKore carbon fibre on the roll bar, tonneau cover and door panels, while the carbon fibre dash applique came from Ford Accessories.
The standout features was the custom ‘Bomber Brown’ leather interior executed by Gabe’s Interiors. A Californian firm that has worked with the big names in the US hot rod and custom scene and produced interior trims for four AMBR winners and a Ridler Award winner, Gabe’s old-school, distressed-finish leather was applied to the custom front race seats, rear seats, centre console and door cards.
2018 Mustang 5.0 V8 6-speed manual fastback
The widebody treatment on this Mustang from US racer Brad DeBerti drew immediate attention, but there was a lot more going on, including driveline, suspension and braking modifications.
Unconfirmed reports had this machine running the new Roush supercharger, but what was for sure was the Ford Performance by Borla exhaust system, as well as a 9-inch diff upgrade from Currie Enterprises and 3.70:1 final drive ratio from US Gear.
Chassis mods included a Watson Racing IRS upgrade, adjustable springs and struts from H&R Performance and Ford Performance brakes. Forgiati wheels – 20x9.5 front and a whopping 20x14 rear – were wrapped in Mickey Thompson tyres.
Appearance changes included a DeBerti billet grille insert and custom bonnet built by Ice Nine to DeBerti’s design. The widebody panels came from TS Design, with the head and tail lights from Bullyseye Retro, while the Air Design rear wing was supplied through the Ford Accessories catalogue.
The deep black Sherwin Williams paint used on the outside was also applied to the interior, along with a DeBerti rollbar, trim panels from True Carbon and a Kicker audio system modified and custom fitted by Exotic Sound.
2018 Mustang 2.3 EcoBoost 6-speed manual fastback
A non-profit, youth-oriented after-school program, DRAGG (Drag Racing Against Gangs and Graffiti) teaches high school students about cars with the aim of getting them out of trouble and into the automotive industry.
DRAGG’s initiatives at SEMA this year included live drifting demos outside, while inside, a police-themed custom featured a 2.3 EcoBoost four enhanced by an Air Raid cold air intake and Jet-Hot high-performance exhaust coating on the Ford Performance by Borla exhaust.
Chassis mods included Ford Performance lowering springs, sub-frame and rear sway bars from Eibach, while body mods comprised a Rally Innovations custom front splitter, Petty’s Garage rear spoiler and a police ‘push bar’ from Metalhaus Inc.
A full complement of genuine Federal Signal emergency lighting was applied at the front, rear and on top, while Commercial Auto Body handled the police-themed custom paint job.
Brakes were upgraded to Wilwood six-piston high-performance calipers, with the wheel and tyre package comprising Velgen VFMP10 alloys (20x10 front, 20x11 rear) and Michelin tyres.
Inside, the DRAGG Mustang featured Katzkin leather seats, sports pedals and a Kicker audio system.
2018 Mustang 5.0 V8 10-speed automatic fastback
Saving the best ‘til last, the Roush Performance-modified Mustang GT was the star of the ‘Magnificent Seven’, with its exterior touches and distinctive paint finish mimicking the Grabber Green on Ford’s 1970 Boss 429 Mustang.
The ‘Roush 729’ decals on the front guards also paid homage to the Boss 429, but more specifically pointed to the build’s 729hp (543kW) motor, achieved through the addition of the Roush supercharger that’ll be offered for the Coyote 5.0 V8 via Ford Performance (Australian availability TBC).
Other Roush Performance add-ons included a cold-air intake, ‘air gobbler’ functional ram air system and active quad-tip exhaust that allows the driver to tune the note of the exhaust to their preference.
The air gobbler intake works thanks to a bonnet scoop create by Stratasys, who also co-designed the concept’s wide body kit. The rest of the body kit was a Roush item that has been newly-developed for the 2018 Mustang and includes functional window scoops and heat extractors, a custom grille and tail panel blackout applique.
Numerous carbon fibre aero parts were co-developed with Anderson Composites, including the front splitter, rear spoiler and aerofoils, sill panels and mirror caps. The wheels were Vossen RVS forged alloys (20x10 front, 20x11 rear) finished in a dull gold and fitted with Continental Extreme Contact tyres.
Inside, the Roush 729 featured a Watson Racing roll cage, rear seat delete and Roush Performance gauge cluster, as well as Recaro race seats trimmed in Katzkin leather and fitted with Sparco 4-pont harnesses.
While the Roush 729 was extensively modified, the Michigan-based firm (whose products and upgrade parts are available here in Australia through Mustang Motorsport) said that many of the components used on their SEMA stunner are available for Mustang owners to add to their vehicles. In the US, Roush also offers their Mustang modifications in complete, turn-key form.