Florida company builds 1960s Mustangs with today's oomph
Mark Phelan / Detroit Free Press / August 11, 2019
(photographs courtesy of Revology)
That gorgeous, like-new '67 Ford Mustang Shelby GT500 you may see rolling down Woodward Avenue in pre-Dream Cruise traffic might actually be new, thanks to Revology Cars, an Orlando, Florida, company that's building classic Mustangs with all the modern conveniences, including a 600-horsepower Roush-built supercharged V8.
“There are people who love classic cars, but don't like the way they drive, or that they don't always start and they overheat on hot days. We make cars for them,” Revology founder and CEO Tom Scarpello said. The Woodward Dream Cruise, by the way, rolls from Ferndale to Pontiac on Saturday.
Scarpello updated his first classic Mustang as a personal project when he was an engineer with Ford's performance group. Decades later, he founded Revology, which has made about 50 cars for enthusiasts.
Revology builds convertibles and fastbacks based on the first generation of Mustangs, 1965-68.
“You can improve the dynamics and the pleasure of driving a classic tremendously with modern technology,” he said. “We make 'em fun to drive.”
Also way faster.
More powerful than the originals
Revology's base engine is Ford's current 460horsepower Coyote 5.0L V8. Compare that to 164 hp for the 260-cubic-inch V8 (that's 4.3 liters in modern terms) in the original 1965 Mustang GT. Don't forget, '60s-era horsepower claims can charitably be described as optimistic.
Powered by one of Mustang-master Jack Roush's legendary supercharged V8s, Revology's 600-hp GT500 is simply in another galaxy from the cars that inspired 1960s songs and legendary chase scenes like the one in the 1968 action thriller “Bullitt.”
“We're looking at a Ferrari-level power-toweight ratio when you drop the Roush V8 into a '66 Mustang chassis,” Scarpello said. Powerto- weight ratio - the vehicle's weight divided by horsepower - is a common measure for high-performance cars.
The cars also get new steering, brakes and suspensions to handle the extra power and deliver better ride and handling. Buyers can choose a Ford six-speed automatic transmission or Magnum six-speed manual made by performance- car specialist Tremec.
Revology builds every car to order. Prices start at $175,500 and can approach a quarter million. There's a one-year waiting list for delivery, even though Scarpello recently sped up production by adding a second shift of production.
One Revology customer recently drove his GT500 3,000 miles on a meandering trip from the factory in Orlando to his home in San Francisco.
Licensed by Ford, Shelby to build replicas
Revology is the only company Ford has licensed to build a replica of its vehicles. It also has a license from Shelby, which makes performance vehicles based on new Ford cars and trucks. The process starts with the chassis of a 1965-68 Mustang. Revology either builds a complete car on it, or upgrades everything but the powertrain and lets the buyer put in their own engine and transmission.
“We just do one kind of car. That's the key to doing it well,” Scarpello said. His factory has 37 skilled workers.
The business was born at the 2015 Amelia Island Concours, a classic car show in South Carolina. Scarpello had built a single car, a '66 Mustang convertible with new body panels, paint, interior, the works. “Our first order was from Ethiopia,” he recalls. “That's when we knew there was a market.” Revology built eight cars a year in 2016 and '17, 20 in 2018.
There's a finite supply of 55-year-old Mustangs waiting to be used as donor vehicles, so Revology plans to start building new Mustangs from scratch when federal agencies finish writing new safety regulations for low-volume automakers.
“So far, every '68 GT we've sold has been Highland Green,” the color of Steve McQueen's fastback in “Bullitt,” Scarpello said.
Backup cameras and Bluetooth
Other features include LED lighting, backup camera, navigation, Bluetooth compatibility, power windows and locks and pushbutton start. The power window switches are hidden in what looks like old-fashioned hand cranks.
“We maintain the look of the original, but the modern amenities are all there,” Scarpello said. Interior materials include walnut or brushed aluminum trim, Alcantara fabric and wool carpet.