The annual SEMA Show in Las Vegas never disappoints with a seemingly endless number of wild builds that display what is possible with sheetmetal, carbon fiber, composites, fiberglass, and paint. No strangers to building cars that are way outside the box and get people talking, Chris Steinbacher and his team at B Is For Build showed up to this year’s SEMA show ready to wow the crowd and stir the pot a little. The B Is For Build guys have seemingly hit the trifecta of car building controversial subjects by cutting up a classic 1967 fastback Mustang, making it mid-engine, and LS swapping it.
Chris and his team rolled their one-off creation into the Holley booth two days before SEMA started. The only problem was that the car wasn’t finished and didn’t run. After another couple of sleepless nights inside the Central Hall of the Las Vegas Convention Center, the crew completed the Mustang and got it running with only an hour to spare.
From What-If To Reality
Chris admitted he had wanted to build a fastback Mustang for a long time. When the opportunity popped up to snag a mid-engine chassis for a reasonable price, he decided to take one last swing at building a classic Mustang the way he wanted. Having seen a rendering by artist Karan Adivi of what a ’69 Boss 302 Mustang could look like with a wider-than-wide body kit and the proper stance, Chris knew the direction he wanted to go with this build. So, he reached out to Adivi to get his blessing to bring the artist’s rendering to life in steel and fiberglass. With the enthusiastic support of Adivi, Chris got to it with a combination of 3D scanning, modeling, and old-fashioned pencil and paper to figure out how to fit a classic Mustang body to a mid-engine chassis.
Turning A Pony Into A Thoroughbred
Taking an iconic car like a ’60s Mustang and building it with the exaggerated proportions of Adivi’s rendering will make waves among car enthusiasts. There are the purists that believe the body lines should be left alone, the custom car people that are all for making things unique while following unspoken aesthetic criteria, and the ones that think there are zero rules to car building. Chris and the B Is For Build crew fall into the latter group. Their creation is sure to garner positive and negative reactions from all who lay their eyes on it.
Backing up a little, Chris sourced the rolling chassis for this project through a friend who had a line on several retired movie cars from the film Need For Speed. The chassis is one of approximately 14 built by Superlite Cars (SLC) specifically for the film to be replica supercars. This particular chassis appeared as a Bugatti in the movie. Although the car was a bit of a basket case by the time Chris purchased it, the foundation was there to start a new build. The SLC chassis is a thorough-bred race car chassis built for speed and handling. It features independent front and rear suspension with QA1 coilovers. Chris’ purchase also included an LS3 engine mated to a Porsche transaxle. To spice things up a bit, a Holley Hi-Ram intake fitted with a direct port nitrous system from NOS was added to the existing LS3.
With the SLC chassis sitting in the B Is For Build shop, the team set work getting their Mustang body to fit. Although the rendering of this car is based on a ’69 Boss Mustang, the car uses a ’67 Fastback Mustang as its starting point. As is expected with this type of project, the wheelbase of the body needed to be adjusted to match the chassis. Cutting the body in half and stretching the wheelbase 3 inches was surprisingly one of the more straightforward body modifications made on this project. According to Chris, they had to cut their Mustang body along its entire length several times to narrow and taper the car’s width a total of 8 inches to match up to the SLC chassis.
With the body nipped and tucked to fit its supercar chassis, the next stage of the build was to fabricate the framework and skeleton of the extra-wide body kit, followed by layers upon layers of fiberglass. Once the guys had the body’s general shape in solid form, many hours of meticulous hand sanding were required to achieve the curves and lines to match Adivi’s rendering. When building any wide-body vehicle, the wheels and tires can be a make-it-or-break-it piece of the puzzle. B Is For Build teamed up with American Racing to create a custom set of 12-inch wide wheels with staggered offsets to fill the bulging fenders just right. The approximately 10 inches of lip on the rear wheels is achieved with a 144 mm negative offset.
Building a complete car from the chassis up is a huge undertaking. Building a car that requires cutting and sectioning to fit a chassis it was never meant for and then creating a one-off wide-body kit from scratch all in about 45 days to make a SEMA crunch deadline is mind-blowing. Chris and the B Is For Build crew pulled it off and have created a car that gets people talking. We look forward to seeing what B Is For Build will come up with next.