The reproduction steel body market has been booming in the last decade, be it for Muscle Cars, Hot Rods or pickups. 1965 / 1966 Mustang Fastback owners now have their own option.
Saving an early Mustang fastback will be easier now that Thoroughbred International has released its 1965 / 1966 unit-body “skeletons” intended to replace the foundations of heavily rusted or otherwise damaged originals.
Though new Mustang restoration body shells have come to market in recent years, this is the first effort to address the needs of the1965-1966 fastback market. Dynacorn does offer a 65 / 66 Mustang, but the convertible.
Nate Miller, the mastermind behind these fastback reproductions, has been restoring classic Mustangs under the banner of Buckeye Restorations, his Canfield, Ohio-based shop; he worked before opening his shop at Al’s Mustang Stable in Niles, Ohio. It is during his work restoring Mustangs that he understood the demand and the need for these reproduction bodies, thus creating Thoroughbred International.
Thoroughbred International calls these reproductions “skeletons” to identify the structural framework of the unit-body hull. In order to ensure a perfect fit and no time lost reworking a less than perfect body, Thoroughbred said that Ford Motor Company’s own blueprint specifications were used as a guide.
Thoroughbred explained it worked with Cardinal Precision Machining (CPM) to create the fixtures to build the new skeletons. CPM is a machining company that was able to use modern manufacturing CAD system software to design the fixtures and then use CNC machine equipment to create the mounting points.
Thoroughbred added the sheetmetal stampings are set in the fixtures and assembled using large spot-welding rigs to replicate the original manufacturing techniques, yielding a final product that is said to maintain consistent dimensions within 1/16 of an inch of factory specs. This is said top be a closer tolerance than Ford used on Mustang assembly lines. In terms of appearance, Thoroughbred says the skeletons are indistinguishable from originals.
The new skeletons are delivered in red-oxide-style primer, the same color of primer Ford used in the 1960s.
The skeletons can be purchased as a complete unit-body structure or as a Clipster. A Clipster has nothing forward of the firewall and is offered in order to accommodate those planning to use aftermarket suspension clips.
A complete body shell can also be had; in this case, Thoroughbred said it works with Wild Horse Specialties to provide a unit with the roof skin, trunk panel, quarter panels and any other welded panel required installed so that all a customer has to do is add bolt-on components for final assembly.
“Whether looking for a track car, resto-mod, a solid basis for a restoration, a coupe-to-fastback conversion, or to make a personal vision for a classic fastback a reality, these skeletons are impossible to tell apart from the iconic pony cars of the 1960s,” said Nate Miller.
Pricing starts with the Clipster at $8,500; the complete skeleton is set at $9,500, and further options for additional body panels are added from there, peaking at $14,990 for the completed shell, as of this writing.