Written by Eric Becker
Few things flow together more seamlessly than hot rods and rock and roll. The melodic thumping of an American V8 interwoven with the rhythmic thrumming of an electric guitar have long created a timeless sound that forged the soundtrack for a generation. That’s why, for the 2021 Barrett-Jackson Scottsdale Auction, the Barrett-Jackson Builds team partnered with Fender Guitars to Resto-Mod two of the biggest icons of all time: the Fender Stratocaster and the Ford Mustang, which will be crossing the auction block with No Reserve at the March event. The project began as somewhat of a celebration, as 2021 marks Fender’s 75th and Barrett-Jackson’s 50th anniversaries, two impressive milestones for both companies.
This provides an exclusive chance for one lucky bidder to own a piece of Barrett-Jackson and Fender history: A 1969 Ford Mustang Resto-Mod designed in-house at Barrett-Jackson and matching 1969 Fender Stratocaster designed by Fender’s Custom Shop director and Principal Master Builder Ron Thorn. This marks the first time a Barrett-Jackson Builds vehicle will be offered at auction and sets the stage for more exciting vehicles to come out of Barrett-Jackson’s in-house workshop.
The Mustang was built by an elite team of craftsmen led by Barrett-Jackson shop foreman Jason Aker of “Fast N’ Loud” fame. Aker and the Builds team – including Tony Cano (also from “Fast N’ Loud”), Barrett-Jackson Vehicle Logistics Manager Jeff Catlin and mechanic Shawn McGee – worked closely with Ron Thorn and Fender VP Product Development Fender Custom Shop Mike Lewis to create a special Mustang ready to rock the moment the key is turned.
The build began with a teardown of the ’69 Mustang, which was then by painted in a deeply rich shade of gloss black with a contrasting matte hood and trunk. Beneath the custom Boss 429-inspired hood scoop rests a BluePrint engines 347ci V8. The stroked Ford small-block produces a dyno-proven 419hp at 5,600 rpm, and 436 ft/lbs of torque at 4,600 rpm. The V8 is fed via a FiTech Performance fuel-injection system. Speedway Motors provided the powerful V8’s bark, rumble and bite with a set of custom headers and a full exhaust system. Channeling all that muscle to the road is a rebuilt automatic transmission that sends drive to a Speedway Motors-provided 9-inch posi-traction rear end with 3.50 gears.
The Mustang grips the tarmac thanks to a set of Continental Extreme Contact Sport tires (245mm wide up front and 295mm at the rear) wrapped around a set of custom painted 18-inch Rocket Attack Series wheels. The Fender Mustang looks the rock star part thanks to a low and menacing staggered stance. Bringing things to a halt is a set of Wilwood 12-inch-diameter vented brake rotors and 6-piston Dynapro calipers. The ample stopping power is backed up by a Wilwood Compact Tandem Master Cylinder. For the ultimate in handling and performance, the Mustang uses a RideTech bolt-in 4-link rear suspension, HQ series coilovers and steering kit.
Some of the world’s best automotive performance brands contributed to bringing this Resto-Mod Mustang to life, including Eddie Motorsports taillights and hood hinges, an Old Air Products climate-control system, Steele Rubber Products weatherstripping, Vibro Solutions sound-deadening, Airraid/K&N Engineering intake and air filter, and Kicker Audio speakers. Additionally, to complete the Mustang’s rocker aesthetic, Billet Badges created special Fender badging and lettering.
The Fender Mustang is ready to take center stage and wow the crowd at the 2021 Scottsdale Auction with its signature V8 orchestra. For any and all Mustang and rock aficionados, this is your car. Bid well.
THE GUITAR: Another Star is Born
There’s no shortage of rock songs celebrating our favorite mechanical pastime, but the Fender Stratocaster’s connection with the automobile and links to hot-rod culture speaks for itself. Not only did Fender experiment with car paint in the early 1960s, but the ’69 Stratocaster sold in tandem with the Mustang was inspired by Fender’s Principal Master Builder Ron Thorn’s rock-driven, hot-rod-shop ethos. As chance would have it, Ron Thorn’s first car just so happened to be a 1969 Mustang, giving this project a personal touch.
With over 800 bespoke guitars to his name, Thorn set to work designing the ’69 Stratocaster in his signature blend of precision and soul. “Resto-Mod is the perfect term for this guitar,” Thorn said. “Although built from scratch, we took the core 1969 Stratocaster model and modified it with customizations and high-performance components – exactly what the Barrett-Jackson Builds team did to the car.”
The Stratocaster body shape remains true to form, but the pickguard has been deleted and the electronics located to the rear for a more modern and aggressive look. The Stratocaster uses Fender’s EVH high-output humbuckers, and the custom covers are constructed from actual 1969 Mustang side marker lights.
The traditional 6-screw tremolo unit is replaced with a modern 2-point unit coupled with locking tuners and a graphite nut. The tremolo arm is machined to match the turn-signal arm of the Mustang, and the volume and tone knobs were specially machined to match the radio controls on a ’69 Mustang.
The round-lam ebony fretboard features a more modern 12-inch radius and larger fretwire with “MUSTANG” inlaid in sterling silver using the same classic font found on the decklid of early Mustangs. The chrome and red accents are set off nicely against the Raven Black-painted body, and the matte black competition stripes and pony are a perfect match to the car’s hood. When the guitar is plugged into the built-in Fender Deluxe amplifier in the trunk, the player can riff on a tasty blues jam or drop it down and tear it up with full shred action!
The Barrett-Jackson Builds team is grateful to the amazing sponsors who helped make this project come to life!