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Restomod Mustang: Must Have Performance Upgrades

  • Cars Explained
  • Ralph Robert
  • 6 minutes

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Ford Mustangs are one of the most popular cars in the United States. A timeless classic that made its first appearance long back in 1964. In 2022, Ford launched the seventh generation Mustang, which could potentially be the last generation of this beautiful car. As electric cars take center stage, American muscle and pony cars powered by internal combustion engines are on their way out. Fortunately, there are still plenty of Mustangs on the street today that will allow you to create all types of restomod Mustangs.

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Restomod Mustangs, simply put, are the restored and modified versions of the classic Mustangs. They are a definite upgrade from stock Mustangs, crafted to extract the maximum. Some restored Mustangs are so good that they can go toe to toe with even the seventh-generation Mustang. If you want your Mustang to stand out but are short of ideas to do the same, here are some of the best ideas to restomod your Ford Mustang.

Is it Possible to Restore a Mustang?

Mechanics work to restore and modify a Mustang

One of the best features of classic cars with internal combustion engines is how flexible they are to restore and modify. Ford Mustangs and more powerful American muscles like the Dodge Challenger, Shelby GT, and Pontiac GTO are some of the best cars to modify. Another interesting aspect about resto modding a Mustang is that there are endless opportunities on offer. The Mustang has been around for so long that a good mechanic can instantly give you multiple restomod options. So yes, it is very easy to restore a Mustang and make it a much more capable machine, by all means.  

What are the Best Ways to Restomod Mustangs?

Before we dive into the different options to restomod a Mustang, it’s important to understand the concept of restomods first. What is a restomod, and what makes it worth the time and money you invest in it? Restomod refers to the restoration and modification of cars to upgrade their performance, aesthetics, and build quality. Thanks to their global availability of parts and performance upgrades, there is unlimited potential to modify cars like Ford Mustang. With that said, let’s dive into some of the best upgrade options to restomod a Mustang. 

Also read: What is a Restomod? Everything You Need to Know


Brembo brakes underneath 19-inch black alloys of a restored and modified Mustang

One of the major drawbacks of first-generation Mustangs was its drum brakes, which were miles behind disc brakes in terms of performance. If your restomod Mustang is a generation one, it is good to invest in a drum-to-disc brake conversion kit to improve your stopping power. If you are on a tighter budget, it is best to upgrade your front brakes to disc brakes, at the least. Even if your Mustang comes with stock disc brakes, there are aftermarket brake kits with better performance, cooling, and anti-corrosion features that reduce rusting, a major issue with older-generation Mustangs.  


overdrive manual transmission

If you have a first- or second-generation Mustang, it will probably be a good idea to consider upgrading your stock transmission with overdrive transmission. If your restomod Mustang happens to be from before 1984, an overdrive transmission can drastically improve your fuel efficiency. While the technical definition of an overdrive transmission can be confusing, the simple definition would be the addition of an extra gear into your stock gearbox. This will allow your engine to produce more revs without consuming more fuel, increasing fuel efficiency.  

Body Kits

Blue and White american muscle with Sporty Body Kit and Lip Spoiler

Investing in a body kit is one of the easiest ways to make your Mustang stand out. From widebody to full-carbon and fiberglass body kits, there are plenty of options. You can also consider going for a spoiler to improve the aggressive look of your Mustang. Another interesting option to make your restomod Mustang unique is to go for a splitter that’s attached to the front bumper. Body kits can also be custom-made with aerodynamic features to enhance performance, like top speed and acceleration. To see how body kits change the appearance of your Mustang, check out the pictures of the 1967 ‘Nightmare’ Mustang.  


aftermarket alloy wheels

The stock wheels of Ford Mustangs have historically been visually appealing, distinct, and unique. However, it is not everyone’s cup of tea and not a design that stands out. As the stock Mustang comes with 19-inch wheels, you have unlimited aftermarket options. There are alloy wheel rims with minimal and hyper-loud designs. Most of the leading wheel brands also have a wide catalog of 19-inch wheels. While it often comes down to your individual taste, best to go for a forged wheel instead of cast wheels. They are the best of both worlds and give you the best aesthetics.


Ford V8 Engine

When it comes to restomods, the donor cars can be in different conditions when you get them. While some cars come with everything intact, you get cheaper deals for cars in not-so-ideal conditions. You will definitely need an engine upgrade in such scenarios. The first-generation Mustang can become much more efficient with an engine swap from newer Mustang engines. These engine swaps can significantly boost performance and engine refinement. 5.0L Coyote V8 and 5.8L Trinity V8 are some of the best options for a first-generation Mustang engine swap.  


Lowered restomod looking into the sunset

Classic Ford Mustangs were popular for many reasons, but handling and tight corner management were not their forays. While this has improved to some extent on the newer Mustangs, handling continues to remain an Achilles heel for Mustang. The easiest option to improve this aspect is to go for a suspension upgrade. You can choose between lowering springs, coil overs, and air suspension, which all decrease the center of gravity. This sharply improves the cornering abilities of even rigid cars like restomod Mustangs. Aftermarket suspensions also come with a host of performance perks tailor-made to improve the average performance of a Ford Mustang.  

Bottom Line

At the end of the day, it all comes down to what you want to achieve from your restomod Mustang. If you want a Mustang as your everyday drive, you only need to restore your engine to life. But, if you want to extract the maximum potential, you will need to consider the modifications we suggested. Do your research, buy the right parts, and build your dream Mustang.

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