Photography by Drew Phillips
Oklahoma based coachbuilder Classic Recreations expands with CR Supercars and the 1968 Mustang Villain, a turn-key supercar that fuses modern performance with an iconic American design.
By now, the recipe for building a decent Pro-Touring car has been pretty clearly laid out. It usually involves calls to companies like Hotchkis Sport Suspension or Detroit Speed, Wilwood or Baer, and a crate LS engine of some kind.
But what do muscle car enthusiasts who want something a little different do, particularly if they don’t have the patience or skill to tolerate the trial and error that often comes with building a high-horsepower machine? What do you do if you want something that just works? Well, thanks to Jason Engel and his company, CR Supercars, those questions are answered by the new Villain Mustang.
Jason and his staff at CR Supercars are probably best known for building stunning, factory-authorized continuation Shelby Mustangs under the moniker Classic Recreations. If their work was good enough for Carroll Shelby himself to sign off on (literally — he signed the glovebox of every Classic Recreations GT500CR prior to his death), then it is safe to assume that CR Supercars knows how to build that most quintessential of pony cars. The company undertook the difficult task of handcrafting turn-key vehicles that combine the classic styling that enthusiasts love with modern materials and technology. It’s this marriage of new and old that imbues the Villain fastback with all the powers of a modern supercar.
Each Villain Mustang starts with an original 1968 fastback, which is stripped back to a bare shell and made perfect before the new bespoke body panels are bolted on. This new body is made from a mixture of lightweight composite panels and strong sheet metal in order to strike that balance between light weight and durability. The Villain’s hood with its massive ram-air scoops is a custom variation on the 1968 GT500 hood, and because it’s rendered in lightweight composite, it shaves considerable weight from the front of the car. Also notable is the unique take on the classic “ducktail” trunk lid: CR also modeled it in carbon-fiber, the trunk is contoured to add a small measure of downforce during those spirited track drives. The Villain’s striking orange paint grabs attention and accentuates even the subtle changes to Ford’s iconic bodylines.
A car called “Villain” can’t have any old wheezing cast-iron engine. Because this car was built to be driven hard, CR Supercars blessed it with an all-aluminum 5.0 liter Ford Racing Coyote crate motor. The Coyote is a modern marvel: light weight, excellent breathing characteristics, dual overhead camshafts that give it high-revving horsepower. This particular incarnation nets a cool 475hp, which is sure to hustle the Villain down any road with aplomb. CR Supercars also offers supercharged Coyote as an optional upgrade, which puts out 600+ horsepower.
Jason Engel wanted to be sure that most of the 475 ponies make it to the ground, so the Coyote engine is backed by a Tremec T56 Magnum six-speed transmission, for maximum gripping power, the Villain uses a Centerforce Dyad DS multi-disc clutch. This unit is rated to hold at least 1300 lb-ft of torque. The multi-disc design combines huge holding power with light pedal and quiet operation thanks to a dampened hub on the drive disc and an anti-chatter steel floater plate between the friction discs.
Long gone are the days when the only thing that a car was expected to do was go fast in a straight line. The Pro-Touring movement put the last nail in that coffin. Future Villain owners are surely going to demand the razor-sharp handling and competent ride that is available from modern sports cars. For this reason, CR Supercars looked to Detroit Speed and their Aluma-Frame front suspension. This set-up is on the cutting edge of what can be done with a 1964.5-1970 Mustang’s front suspension. It starts with a cast aluminum cradle that offers maximum stiffness with the absolute minimum weight penalty. Mounted to the cradle are tubular A-arms, rack and pinion steering, integrated anti-roll bar, DSE/JRi custom-valved coil overs, Speed-LIGN caster/camber adjusters, and forged spindles. All this technology adds up to 6 inches of suspension travel and tunability for almost any conceivable driving style needed on the street or track. Detroit Speed even offers the Aluma-Frame with motor mounts designed specifically for the Ford Coyote engine.
The QUADRAlink rear suspension also comes courtesy of Detroit Speed. This four-link rear suspension set-up is designed without compromise to give full adjustability and smooth operation without binding. Once again, specially valved DSE/JRi coil overs are used to set ride height and provide quality damping. Early Mustangs were never exactly the last word in chassis rigidity, so the QUADRAlink upper floorpan crossmember assembly goes a long way toward significantly stiffening the rear of the Villain. This, combined with a long panhard rod, keeps the Strange nine-inch rear end firmly planted. Stopping duties are handled by huge Wilwood six-piston calipers that bite down on 14-inch rotors at all four corners.
The large, but decidedly vintage-feeling “Grudge” wheels come from the Grip Equipped line from Forgeline. The knockoff-style center caps are custom pieces from CR Supercars. The 18-inch wheels are shod in sticky BF Goodrich tires sized at 275/35/18 front and 335/30/18 rear. This fat rubber fills out the wheel wells and gives plenty of contact patch, allowing the driver to take full advantage of the Villain’s trick brakes and suspension.
One of the nicest things that can be said about the Villain Mustang’s interior is that, despite all its modern conveniences, it still feels like a classic Mustang. The Procar seats by SCAT are a perfect visual fit and outfitted with five-point racing harnesses to keep both driver and passenger fully anchored during any spirited drives. The cabin is regulated at a comfortable temperature by a highly effective heat/air conditioning system from Old Air that looks like Ford could have installed it themselves. CR Supercars recognized that Villain owners may want to listen to music other than that made by the 5.0L lump under the hood and so the solution is a JVC CD player with removable face and bluetooth-compatible head unit triggering a stealthy, but powerful Kicker audio system.
Jason Engel and his crew at CR Supercars have spent 2,500 man-hours creating something familiar, yet special in the Villain Mustang. They took an automotive icon — a 1968 Mustang fastback — and made it in to a daily-drivable coupe that can run circles around the best offerings from Europe and Japan. Closing the gap in performance from 1968 to 2015 takes a great deal of skill and vision, both of which Jason seems to have in spades.
For more information on CR Supercars, visit www.CRSupercars.com
Villain 1968 Mustang Fastback Specs
Investment starting at $154,900
Bad Guy Orange/Matte Black, Black/Bad Guy Orange, Blue/Silver, Red/Matte Black
**Custom colors available upon request
Ford Racing Coyote 32 Valve (475hp)
Tremec six speed manual transmission
9” Strange engineering rear w/ 3.89 gear ratio and Posi Traction installed
Rous Yates Pulley System
DSE Rack and pinion steering (power)
Flaming River tilt column (polished)
Procar Evolution seats (pro touring)
Five point Camlock seatbelts
Villain custom gages
Sparco leather steering wheel
Old Air Products A/C system
Deluxe 1967 Door Panels (finished in matte black)
1967 ABS Dash and Trim
Custom Villain console with clock and voltmeter
Color matched floormats
JVC CD Player with removable face and Bluetooth
Kicker component speakers
Wheels and Tires:
Grip equipped wheels by Forgeline 18×9.5 front
Grip equipped wheels by Forgeline 18×12 rear
BF Goodrich tires 275/35/18 front
BF Goodrich tires 335/30/18 rear
CR Supercars Villain Exterior Fiberglass Enhancements
CR Supercars Taillights
CR Supercars billet gas cap
Electric fuel pump
Stealth 18 gallon fuel cell
Front: Wilwood 6 Piston brakes and 14” rotors
Rear: Wilwood 6 Piston brakes and 14” rotors
Slotted, crossdrilled and zinc washed
Adjustable rear proportioning valve
Trunk Mounted Battery (Optima)
DSE long tube stainless headers
Dual 2.5” mandrel bent exhaust
Magnaflow Stainless Steel Mufflers
Becool Aluminum Crossflow Radiator
2-13″ Electric Cooling Fans
DES sub frame connectors
Six point rollbar
DSE alumaframe coilover front suspension
DSE quadralink coilover rear suspension
Oversized sway bars front and rear
Flip out screen with DVD $1,000
Right hand drive $12,500
GPS tracking device $499
**Custom options available upon request