STREET MACHINE OF THE YEAR
PONY UP! DANNY SHAFFER’S ’67 MUSTANG CLAIMS THE CROWN FOR THE GOODGUYS 2023 STREET MACHINE OF THE YEAR
Ironworks Speed & Kustom brought the winning pony to Columbus this year, claiming the crown for the Goodguys 2023 Street Machine of the Year with Danny Shaffer’s stunning ’67 Mustang. Like a thoroughbred on steroids, this muscular steed combines classic lines with modern performance and custom touches that gave it a winning advantage during the 25th Summit Racing Nationals Presented by PPG.
Dubbed the DS-500R, the Mustang is the result of an extensive build process that began at another shop before Shaffer shifted in his saddle and brought the car to Rodger Lee and his talented team at Ironworks. The goal was to avoid the Eleanor cliches and instead build a supercar-influenced classic with a distinctive style all its own.
Fresh legs for this pony come in the form of a Detroit Speed front suspension, which delivers contemporary performance geometry, tubular control arms, rack-and-pinion steering, and a lowered ride height. It’s outfitted with RideTech coil-overs with Hyperco springs and 14-inch Wilwood disc brakes. At the rear, a custom frame clip supports a four-link rear suspension with coil-overs and a 9-inch rearend with a GearFX center section. The one-off six-spoke 19- and 20-inch wheels were machined by EVOD and evoke the look of vintage GT40 wheels. They’re wrapped in Michelin 275/35/19 and 335/30/20 tires.
The fat rear rubber takes punishment from a Ford GT500 engine, a supercharged all-aluminum 5.4-liter V8 that has no problem delivering supercar-caliber acceleration. This one benefits from Holley Dominator EFI, a custom accessory drive bracket system, and extensive detailing highlighted by bright red paint. A Tilton clutch connects it to a Tremec T-56 six-speed from Bowler Performance Transmissions. The custom stainless exhaust system delivers an assertive bark through Borla mufflers.
While the body retains its Mustang heritage and flavor, it has been extensively reworked and refined. Enhancements designed by Sean Smith and Tavis Highlander include widened fender flares and quarter panel scoops, custom fastback roof vents, and 3D-printed rocker panel moldings with custom-machined extensions. The rear bumper has been narrowed for a flush fit, the pot metal taillight housings replaced with machined examples, and there’s a custom billet lower valence framing the exhaust tips and finishing off the rear.
The car’s front end was designed and built in-house at Ironworks using Solidworks computer aided design. “Parts were cut on our plasma table, parts were 3D printed for mockup, and a lot of parts were machined from aluminum and painted black,” Rodger says. This includes the custom-machined grille, lower front spoiler (machined from three parts, then welded together), lower valence vents, and the radiator close-out panel. A custom hood scoop provides a peek at the supercharger. Cotati Speed Shop gets credit for the flawless PPG metallic gray finish and Sherm’s Custom Plating did the plating.
Modern techniques were also used in creating the custom interior. Jorge and Rodger at Ironworks did much of the design work, which was put on paper by artist Tavis Highlander before starting the CAD design process. Most of the interior was built using machined parts (like the door pulls and center console insert) and 3D-printed pieces (like the console). DJ Designs machined some of the panels, while EVOD machined the aluminum parts. Gabe’s Custom Interiors wrapped the red leather around the hard parts and stitched the upholstery on the bucket seats. Dakota Digital instruments fill the custom-machined gauge bezels.
All the design elements, details, and processes come together in a way that honors the Mustang legacy, while still giving it a unique modern twist. The end result was impressive enough to earn the Outstanding Engineering award during competition for the prestigious Al Slonaker Memorial Award at this year’s Grand National Roadster Show before coming to Columbus to compete for the Street Machine crown. Shop owner Rodger Lee knows it’s an impressive pony, but he’s equally pleased with the way his Ironworks team came together to make it all happen. “Everyone at the shop had a hand in this car from start to finish,” he says. “The entire team just wanted to do their best. And now we’ve built the Goodguys 2023 PPG Street Machine of the Year.”
Article by Damon Lee
Photos by Street Machine Central