Project Build: ’70 Mach 1 on a 2006 GT Chassis
Engine swaps have always been a part of the performance industry. The idea of someone making something that no one else has should get every car guy’s heart pumping. The problem is that engine swaps are as common as Hondas at a high school. Even when you do perform an engine swap into an older car, it generally doesn’t handle like a newer car would.
Enter Jerry Madison. Many don’t know his name, and the people who do, tend to keep it to themselves. This ace-up-the-sleeve builder is the owner of Northwest Auto Creations. Along with his son Jeremy, the father-son team from Washington State has made some of the nicest new-resto cars that I have ever seen. If new-resto cars arenew to you, let me explain. It is an older car with modern technology. This includes, new engines, suspensions parts, brakes, etc. and usually retains the old frame and body. While all of that is a great help to an older car’s cause, it still isn’t a new car. Madison has had this in his mind for the last 20 years.
Madison has been working and building cars since 1972. Working on elite cars like Corvettes and Porsches gave him a taste and love for cars that perform and handle well. He then moved into custom limo building were he built two of the cleanest looking limos I have ever seen. That is when he started building retros. “Its what people were wanting, a better feel in a car” said Madison. After building the limos and gaining a fan base, Madison was approached on building custom cars.
One of those loyal customers approached Madison to talk about a new project. The only problem was, the guy didn’t really know what he wanted. The customer said he loves the way an old car looks, but they don’t drive like the new ones. “You can upgrade suspension, brakes, etc” said the customer “but it still won’t feel like a newer car.” The two went back and forth with each other. After a few drinks they ended with the idea that they wanted to do something different, something that no one else has. With that very general idea in mind Madison went home to begin his latest build the next day.
That is the build you see here. And it is – in a word – truly unique. It all started with this.
Madison was sitting around in his garage trying to come up with a new idea. He then was staring at the shell of a 1970 Mach 1. Sticking with the idea of something different, he masterminded the coolest build that I’ve seen in a while. The plan seemed simple. Take the body of the old Mustang and drop it on the chassis of a S197 Mustang. How hard could it really be? He took some measurements and the wheelbases and widths weren’t that far off. It seemed like this would be a walk in the park for the expert builder.
The first thing was to find a chassis. To buy a brand new (or even used Mustang) and destroy it for this build seemed a little heartless. He managed to find a wrecked 2006 Mustang that never had a chance to see better days. With only 6,000 miles on the odometer, this innocent little car suffered a fate the usually spells the end for all cars, a roll over, but not in Jerry Madison’s mind. This was going to be a new beginning for the beaten and abused GT, one that no other GT could have dreamed of.
At first glance Madison had wondered if he had taken on more than he could chew. After getting into the build and doing what he does best, it became clear that this car would challenge this father son team. “I’m one of those people who just goes, goes, goes,” said Madison. While it was no walk in the park, they have successfully been using their skills. Progress has been moving along at a very good pace through the build. Some of the harder parts of building this car were the small details. Getting the inner door jams to mount up between the two cars proved to be the most challenging task. That was until they put the fenders on.
While the wheelbase and wheel track weren’t that far off, the way the body sits on the frames is different for the two cars. The center of the wheel on the 2006 Mustang was four inches off the center of the wheel well on the rear of the Mach 1, a big problem indeed. This is where Madison’s fabrication skills started to come into play. He moved the entire wheel well back four inches to line it up with the ’06 chassis.
He also crafted the fenders to stick out the slightest bit to conform to the stock lines of the ‘70. The way that the body now flows really gives the car a real coke bottle look. After that his attention moved to the rear of the car. Not wanting to build something without a custom touch, Madison decided that he didn’t like the way the rear-end looked so he crafted ’69 rear-end on and plugged in some Shelby lights to really make it pop.
The rest of the body Madison said is going to remain mostly stock. While he did remove some of the sidelights to clean up the body, it still has a very Mustang look. His son is also custom crafting a ground effects kit for the car. Nothing gaudy, just something to fill some gaps newer generation chassis.
The old-new Mustang is ready for final assembly and paint. But Madison is in no hurry to get this done. He has been taking his time to work out details that most people sometimes over look when building a car. He likes to build cars that people can drive everyday, no show cars or trailer queens in his shop. Madison builds his cars to be fully serviceable so that if something does break, any technician, not just a custom builder, can easily fix it. He expects that his son and him should be able to have the car finished sometime in September. Since it is a work in progress, we will be bringing your updates as we get them.
Under the hood they aren’t going to settle for the stock engine. While all the details aren’t worked out yet, he did hint that the 4.6 Modular will be receiving a supercharger and the usual bolt-ons.
Comments received from this car convinced Madison to build a very similar version. He is taking a 1967 fastback and slamming it on a 2007 chassis to make a retro Shelby, and his phone has been ringing off the hook with people wanting updates or their own custom retro builds
Before I hung up the phone with Madison I had to come out and ask, “Why not just make a show car or something that looks great”. After a short pause he responded to me with the most honest thing I’d heard all week…
“If you got something that’s nice and your never going to drive it, it really not a car, it’s an art ornament and you might as well just put it in the foyer of your house to have your friends come over and look at it,” Madison said with a firm tone. “This car is going to have power windows and locks, everything that a modern car has. If I was going to bother putting all of these in the car, this guy better be driving it every day.” With that I couldn’t agree more. Madison, encouraged by his son, does put up videos on his site the follow along with the builds that he does there.
We’ll be sure to update you on the build as it progresses, but you can also follow along with it on Madison’s website at Northwest Auto Creations.