in , , ,


Put Together By A Baja Trophy Truck Racer, This Custom Mustang Is Built For Track Use

1965 Ford Mustang
Photo Credit: Manoli Katakis,

When we took the 2020 Ford Mustang Shelby GT500 to Oscoda, Michigan for an SCCA autocross event, we didn’t expect to see this. While the Classic American Muscle (CAM) classes tend to bring out some incredible restomods and pro-touring muscle cars, this 1965 Mustang build is simply on another level. But it’s most impressive features are what you don’t immediately see.

Under the completely custom bodywork rests the front and rear subframes of an S550 Mustang GT350, along the suspension systems. Meanwhile, under the hood is a 5.0L Coyote V8 crate engine.

Photo Credit: Manoli Katakis,

Along with photographing this awesome muscle car, we had a chance to speak with its owner, Mark Stevens. Stevens, who competed in the 2018 Baja 1000, is taking his building skills and driving abilities to the tarmac. The result is this Mustang build, which is also riddled with trophy truck hardware. The rear lights and the interior equipment mounting rails are just some examples. Below are words from Stevens himself:

Most of the real fabrication we’ve done like this was for the segment of off-road racing. So, my thinking was it would be a good idea to build something of that same style that could be used for more than a couple of off-road races a year where the vehicle gets basically destroyed every race. Also get a little more feedback from the car enthusiast public. A lot of the custom one-off things built for this car and the off-road cars are prototypes being both functionality and market tested for a product development firm we own that is always in search of a hole in the market. On this car we actually considered making this a purchasable kit that one could retrofit pervious gen cars with the 6th-gen subframes… turns out that wasn’t really such a good idea. At the end of the day it took so much fabrication on the car side of the gen 1 we just don’t see it as feasible to be sold as a kit and calling it an off the shelf product for your average mechanically inclined person doing this in their personal garage. That’s where the concept came from anyway…

Photo Credit: Manoli Katakis,

While you can get an impression of this radical pony car in our exclusive photo gallery, Stevens remains modest on its current appearance.

It might photograph fairly well but It’s not a show quality build by any means. It’s race car quality at best, from the body shop side of things anyway… not that I don’t respect the art or craftsmanship of that side of the automotive world Just from my personal perspective for use of the car the time vs reward ratio doesn’t play out. I’m much more about a car that you can see was built properly with good design; engineering and assembly but has lots of character due to both the build process and use. I expect it will only appeal to folks with that same kind of perspective. Assuming you’ve seen any high level race vehicle up close and in person, including F1 cars, they are not as pristine and perfect as television makes them appear.

Besides the GT350 chassis and Coyote V8 engine, here are the rest of the performance enhancements to this cone-cutting Mustang:

GT350 intake and throttle body, Custom Cold Air Box
GT350 Oiling system
Electric Water Pump
KOOKS Headers to 3” custom exhaust.
MMR timing protection
Stock 10 speed 10R80 Automatic Transmission (with Paddle Shift)
Gear selection (P,R,N,D,S) done with servo controlled by knob on steering wheel
STATUS: Carbon Fiber Seats and Harnesses
Custom 15-gallon aluminum fuel cell
MOTEC PDM CANBUS Keybad control System
Modular dash/console system that allows adjustment of mounting locations (all custom billet mounts)
Rear mounted Ron Davis Radiator
Penske Coilover dampers at all 4 corners
Racing Brake GT350 Rotors w/GT350 Brembo Calipers (no ABS)
Baja Designs LED headlights and Taillights with custom billet mounts.
CCW 12 X 18 Wheels on all 4 corners.
335/30/18 BF-Goodrich or 315/30/18 Yokohama tires, depending on the day
Custom Chromoly cage
Body Steel-It coated (polyurethane based stainless-steel coating)
Steel overt fenders.

You can catch the progress of the build as well as other racing projects from Mark Stevens by following the Instagram page Concrete2Dust.

Written by Manoli Katakis

Muscle Cars & Trucks was founded by Manoli Katakis - an automotive media veteran that has been covering the latest car news since 2009. His journalism has uncovered dozens of major product changes, updates, plans, and cancellations long before automakers were ready to make things official.

Some highlights over the years of his reporting include the uncovering of the Zora trademark before anybody else reported on the coming of a mid-engine Corvette, as well as the dead-accurate reporting of the coming of the Chevrolet Colorado ZR2, two years before it hit the market, and even before the debut of the concept vehicle. This type of reporting has immediately continued here, with reports of the original seventh-generation Camaro plans being shelved, as well as what's in store for the Chevrolet Silverado.

Some of his work can be found on massive automotive media outlets, such as Motor1. He also has been a guest on the 910AM Radio Station with Detroit News auto critic Henry Payne, as well as the enthusiast-oriented Camaro Show podcast.

Over the years, Manoli has interviewed various automotive industry titans, leaders, and people that make things happen otherwise. These include figureheads such as GM CEO Mary Barra, GM President Mark Reuss, automotive aftermarket icon Ken Lingenfelter, Dodge firebrand Tim Kuniskis, along with various chief engineers of vehicles such as the Ford F-150 & Mustang, Chevrolet Camaro & Corvette, and many more.

At MC&T, Manoli is taking his journalism expertise, deeply planted sources, driving abilities, and automotive industry knowledge to new levels, covering more vehicles and brands than ever before. This is the place where you will continue to read groundbreaking stories about American performance vehicles, pickup trucks, and sport utility vehicles. Here is where you’ll also read insights and quotes from various automotive subject matter experts on the latest relevant products, as well as some of the latest official news from their manufacturers.

Fun facts: he also once beat Corvette Racing driver Tommy Milner in an autocross with a Chevrolet Bolt EV. The biggest vehicle he’s ever driven is a John Deere mining truck. Besides a go-kart, the smallest vehicle he’s driven has been a Hyundai i10. He’s also spent time in the cockpit of various American performance vehicle icons, including the fifth-generation Chevrolet Camaro Z/28, Dodge Challenger Demon, and Ford Mustang GT350R. He has reviewed dozens of trucks, SUVs, and performance vehicles over the years.

One of his favorite new vehicles on the market today happens to be the Chevrolet Colorado ZR2 Bison. He is also a card carrying member of the Sports Car Club of America, and regularly participates in Detroit Region autocross events.

Achates Cummins Diesel M88 Engines


Jeep Gladiator 6x6