For the car enthusiast, there’s nothing more exciting then transforming a stock car or truck into something no one else has and someone has dreamed about. The annual SEMA car show in Las Vegas, Nevada is one big playground for gearheads to showcase the cool ways to customize a Ford F150 into an off-road beast, a Corvette into a performance-enhanced race vehicle and a Ford Mustang into a Surchaser that is ready to catch some waves which is something MRT did as their VERY first SEMA project vehicle.
The MRT Surfchaser™ is a realistic and achievable lifestyle vehicle! MRT started with an ‘03 supercharged Cobra as the foundation so we could build a unique, high performing high quality custom car! We took great care to integrate appropriate components in this Mustang while accentuating the Mustang DNA and then “kick it up a notch” in exterior and interior styling, chassis performance, drive train performance, interior comfort, audio/video…its all about fun!!!
If you think of Mustang as an expression of un-tamed American Freedom, can you picture yourself “Owning the road” with gobs of power, muscle car exhaust note, tight suspension, top down….Surfboard mounted on the top, Beach boys music “filling the room” with a killer stereo system? MRT could too and here’s how we made it happen just in time to be showcased at the Fall 2003 SEMA show.
MRT took delivery of our 2003 Mustang Cobra (number 31 if you’re interested), as a SVT engineering vehicle with about 13,500 miles on it…which can be very hard miles on a car, but this one was in very good shape! We didn’t have too much time to prepare the project — picking up the car on August 6, 2003 and having it ready for transport on October 15, 2003. Two months might seem like a lot of time to work on a project but boy does time fly when you get into it!
MRT had many partners in this SEMA build. We started the modification at Classic Design Concepts (CDC) with hand fabricated front fascia and custom carbon fiber leather wrapped light bar, remote controlled fuel door, sequential lights, side scoops, floor mats and Old school Mustang shaker hood. Back at the MRT installation shop we continued the build and installed several MRT engineered and designed products to add driving performance to this Mustang. We removed the IRS suspension and installed a solid rear axle with the MRT street performance suspension kit then added X2 front ball joints and bump steer kit to round out the best Mustang chassis upgrades. Oh – MRT also added Baer 13 inch front and rear brakes, featuring cross drilled and slotted rotors, PBR calipers and Pro-3i rear control arms, caster camber plates and frame rail connectors.
At MRT, every SEMA vehicle needs powertrain mods such as the Catted H Pipe a premium aftermarket exhaust with black chrome exhaust tips designed by MRT, Exedy high torque clutch and flywheel, Ford Racing aluminum drive shaft, JBA Racing titanium coated mid length headers and Accufab throttle body. These modifications definitely allow the driver, passenger and the viewers to Hear the Difference of a custom vehicle. Power upgrades included Pro-M Racing Air meter and Nitrous Express 75 dry shot system balanced with a dyno tune.
The Get Notice factor is on overload at SEMA and this MRT project vehicle did not disappoint. Team MRT installed custom steering wheel, shift boot, parking brake boot, gauge mounts, Stewart Warner gauges, rear wing and a Custom Shift Knob for some interior style. These interior changes were wrapped up in a convertible top cover AND a surf board to really make a splash!
Audio and Paint Detailing
Now that we had the 03′ Cobra running, it was time to install the audio visual system….the gang at Kicker really went all out on this one! They provided speakers, amps and installation (through Car Tunes in Allen Park Mi ….special thanks to Tony and Mike…..these guys are absolute artists…..and great car enthusiasts!!!) Tony and Mike went to town (working around the clock…literally) custom forming the speakers into the front doors, installing the head unit with in-dash DVD, fabricating the center stack gauge pod, totally hand laying the entire trunk, back lighting the MRT logo….an install that is truly a piece of art!!! …..oh, when Mike wasn’t inventing something new for the door panels……he kindly took on the task of custom painting the surfboard……you got to have a surf board that matches your car!!
Mean while, the guys at Ladd Road Collision were putting their magic touch on painting the custom striped Mach 1 hood, front and rear fascia, fuel door and side scoops. MRT mounted the Goodyear F1 GS-D3 tires on the 18×9 Halibrand Cobra III wheels….with knock offs!!! The crew at Artworks Design and graphics were now in full swing cutting the graphics for both the car as well as the surfboard. While, last, certainly not least, the team at Razzi Ground Effects worked feverishly to get the new “Bullitt Style” wing ready which MRT and Razzi collaborated on.
The Final Push
Now it was all coming together! Team MRT had 2 days left until the car is loaded onto a transport, heading for the 2003 SEMA show in Las Vegas where (thanks to Goodyear) we landed a front and center display spot in the Goodyear booth!!!
The Surfchaser™ went back to the MRT shop for installation of the custom carbon fiber trimmed Recaro seats, show wheels and tires, followed by a rub out of the rear wing and quick mount to the deck lid, install the graphics on the car and the surfboard. Wow! Everything is done…..almost….. we need a surfboard mount!
Back to CDC we go!!! George, Jeff and I tried 3 different iterations of surfboard mounting……at the end of the day, the simplest solution seemed to be the most elegant. We configured a simple unobtrusive strap for the front and a rear harness that clips into the seat belt receptacles….clean and purposeful!…Just in time, the truck just showed up…. detailing will finish in Vegas!
Update: The MRT Surfchaser SEMA project build led to many other builds on display at the Ford SEMA booth. MRT is proud to participate as well as be the recipient of multiple design awards.