Let’s see the 1965 Ford Mustang restomod that wowed crowds at SEMA 2023

In a recent video courtesy of automotive YouTube channel AutotopiaLA, we get a look at the debut of an all-new Ford Mustang restomod. Called Vicious 2.0, the car gets its name from its aggressive character. It’s also an evolution of the first incarnation of the car that wowed crowds at SEMA 7 years ago in 2016. Now it’s back with a vengeance, a new style, and a powertrain with the same kind of table manners as an alligator.

We look at Vicious 2.0 and find out how it got put together its highlights, and some of the specifics of its awesome powertrain lurking under the first-generation-inspired Ford Mustang sheet metal. Sean from AutotopiaLA looks at the muscle car from all angles, and even takes it for a spin at the end of the video below, where the sounds of the Frankenstein V8 speak for themselves.

“Vicious” Is The ’65 Ford Mustang Restomod That Stormed SEMA 2016

As AutotopiaLA presenter Sean says, the 1965 Ford Mustang ‘Vicious’ restomod first popped up at SEMA 2016 (at Magnaflow) and wowed crowds with its aggressive retro design and performance potential – he even got to ride in this first iteration of the muscle car. It also returned in 2017 with Ford.

Since then, the machine got involved in an unfortunate minor accident and suffered some damage and scrapes that necessitated a repair. After 3 years off the road, it’s back with upgrades and an all-new color scheme which Sean says makes the car look ‘grown-up’. Timeless Kustoms recounts the process of building the car initially and goes over its current configuration, which as we’ll see, is where it gets its name from. It most recently appeared at the recent SEMA 2023 show which we cover here at the CTEK booth.

Vicious 2.0: Built From The Ground Up As A Racecar

  • The owner of Vicious gave the designers and engineers at Timeless Kustoms flexibility in shaping the chassis, powertrain, drivetrain, and body of the custom muscle car.
  • It was an intensive process lasting approximately 9 months and with a large team working on the project, sometimes all at once.
  • Sean mentions that the project may have taken a toll of 10,000 hours.
  • The goal was to create a racecar for the road first and foremost, with an aggressive restomod body style laid over the top.
  • Although it isn’t a homologated racing machine, it is the ultimate track day car.

A common theme that occurs throughout the video is the philosophy of the car’s designers that form follows function. Built around the mechanicals, the impressive body is functional and serves the fire-breathing mechanicals underneath.

The team took a clean and original 1965 Ford Mustang coupe like this barn find, and stipped it back, leaving the cowl and A-pillars as the foundation for Vicious’ design. Vicious 2.0 is much wider than a classic ’65 Mustang, and many times more powerful. Despite this, they took a pared-back approach to the technology and (very red) interior that looks raw and functional.

Big Changes For The Second Vicious Ford Mustang

Weight got cut out for Vicious 2.0, with a total of about 180 lbs saved with a new carbon fiber hood and trunk lid. Now the hood weighs just 8 lbs. This helped bring the muscle car’s mass down from 3,400 lbs to about 3,200 lbs.

3″ and 5″ flares accommodate the wide track – the racecar is around 8″ wider than the original period Ford Mustang in the rear. As Timeless Kustoms says in the video, everything got designed and laid out to prioritize the mechanicals and chassis, with repairability, longevity, and performance all key considerations.

Suspension from the C7 Chevy Corvette sits up front, and there are powerful carbon-ceramic brakes, as well as lots of strengthening with cross-supports and a roll cage to keep the car rigid. Under the pans and sill, trims help protect the underside and body of the car from debris and stone chips. One of the highlights is the center-exit exhaust, which sits as a particularly aggressive, yet functional diffuser.

Vicious 2.0 Body And Chassis Construction

Timeless Kustoms Vicious 2.0 (1965 Ford Mustang Restomod)
Chassis Custom, chassis incorporating A-pillars and cowl from ’65 Ford Mustang
Body Custom sheet metal with chromoly supports
Composites Carbon fiber hood and trunk lid
Suspension C7 Chevrolet Corvette front suspension, Art Morrison multilink rear
Brakes Brembo carbon-ceramic rotors
Interior Integrated roll cage, racing harnesses, removable steering wheel

Data courtesy of AutotopiaLA

Vicious 2.0’s Body And Chassis Highlights

  • Custom sheet metal and composite design built around mechanical requirements
  • Still features a recognizable first-generation Ford Mustang design
  • New gloss black design changes character, rear diffuser adds racing vibes
  • Center-exit exhaust with grille cover looks original

The Timeless Kustoms Vicious 2.0 comes with an Art Morrison multilink rear suspension and a Dana differential with a 3.42 rear-end gear ratio. There are triple-adjustable shocks, and the engine sits in a mid-front-engine position for optimum weight distribution. Openings in the front grille send air cleverly to the front brakes for cooling while an air duct in the hood sends air out over the top.

The Vicious 2.0 Ford Mustang Engine Is Triple-Charged

Vicious 2.0 Ford Mustang engine, closeup view
Via: YouTube via AutotopiaLA

Under the hood is where the magic of any muscle car lies, and this Ford Mustang restomod features a stunning built behemoth. Many parts from specialist manufacturers went into building the custom, ‘Ford Performance Aluminator’ 5.1-liter Coyote V8 that powers Vicious 2.0.

The team also fits a Ford Shelby Mustang GT350’s cylinder heads, and the car runs on E85, which gets fed from a large Aeromotive brushless fuel system. The innovative use of combined twin-turbocharging and supercharging makes the car so powerful. This is something seen rarely, but is a method of power gaining traction among drag racers like this turbocharged-and-supercharged Ram TRX.

The turbos feed air to the 1.8-liter Magnuson supercharger, and on the dyno, the car makes 1,003 hp at the rear wheels, with a chunky 855 lb-ft of torque. As Sean finds out, the engine is extremely aggressive on the road, revving up to 9,100 rpm and with brutal gear changes courtesy of the 6-speed sequential gearbox, which gets operated via paddles. After a long driving session, the presenter concludes that there is nothing else like it on the road – see the video for the almost speechless driver as he tries to tame the Vicious Ford Mustang.

Timeless Kustoms Vicious 2.0 Specifications

Timeless Kustoms Vicious 2.0 (1965 Ford Mustang Restomod)
Engine ‘Ford Performance Aluminator’ 5.1-liter custom-built V8, twin-turbocharged and supercharged
Power 1,003 whp
Torque 855 lb-ft
Drivetrain Front-engine, rear-wheel drive
Transmission 6-speed sequential
Weight 3,200 lbs

Figures courtesy of AutotopiaLA

Vicious 2.0’s Powertrain Highlights

  • Twin 68-mm Precision turbochargers feed air to the supercharger
  • 16 lbs of boost provides 1,003 hp at the rear wheels
  • Featuring a MoTec engine management system and runs on E85

The 1965 Ford Mustang Is An Appreciating Classic Car

1965 Ford Mustang Coupe, front quarter view
Via: Bring A Trailer

Ford’s Mustang is one of the most iconic cars of all time, with it still being produced today and is now in its seventh generation. As Hagerty points out, there were three body styles for the 1965 model year which is where Vicious’ donor car came from. Vicious 2.0 uses a ’65 Ford Mustang coupe hardtop as its base, rather than the available fastback or convertible body styles. The pony car got its power from the same range of engines across the different body styles, but Hagerty suggests that the entry-level, 101-hp, 2.8-liter I6 was a convertible-only affair.

A 3.3-liter version of the Thriftpower I6 gave up 120 hp. Either way, the V8 is where the Mustang starts to shine more brightly, and while the 4.3-liter could provide 164 hp to the rear wheels, the 4.7-liter variant offered from 200 hp up to the impressive ‘High Performance’ version’s 271 hp / 312 lb-ft. Those are good numbers for ’65, in a car weighing marginally more than its designers’ goal weight of 2,500 lbs.

Hagerty’s valuations climb predictably from the modest 3.3-liter coupe’s valuation of $18,400, steadily up to the sought-after 271-hp version, which is worth an average of $38,400. Fastback models on the whole are worth more than their equivalent coupe hardtop counterparts.

Market values recently dropped around 5% for the lion’s share of these ’65 Ford Mustangs, except for the high-performance version which saw a 1.9% increase according to Hagerty. Classic.com suggests an average auction value of around $42,000 for all variants of the ’65 Mustang, with sought-after and notable models fetching up to more than $100,000.

1965 Ford Mustang Coupe Specifications

1965 Ford Mustang Coupe
Engine 3.3-liter, naturally-aspirated I6; 4.3/4.7-liter, naturally-aspirated V8
Power 120-271 hp
Torque 190-312 lb-ft
Drivetrain Front-engine, rear-wheel drive
Transmission 3-speed automatic, 3-4-speed manual
Weight From 2,449 lbs (base I6 engine, 3-speed manual coupe)

Figures courtesy of Hagerty

1965 Ford Mustang Coupe Highlights

  • Second year of the first-generation Ford Mustang production
  • Values depend largely on model and options, but most are relatively affordable
  • Less valuable than the equivalent ’65 Ford Mustang Fastback

Sources: Hagerty / Classic.com / AutotopiaLA

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