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Retro

We shouldn’t want this roofless Mustang STL-1 restomod… but we do

The STL-1 will be built with off-roading in mind and is inspired by one man’s journey across the Pan-American highway

Published: 27 Mar 2024

Away from the litany of Porsche 911 and Jaguar E-Type restomods, this 1968 Ford Mustang Fastback is a very different proposition. Dubbed the ‘STL-1’, the heavily modified pony has been rendered by Milanese design house BorromeodeSilva, but it'll soon become a reality.

The inspiration for the project came when the company co-founder, Carlo Borromeo, travelled across the Pan-American Highway in his own Fastback back in 2008, which conjured up a few ideas for how he could’ve improved his car for the trip. Clearly a custom XL cupholder just wasn't ambitious enough.

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So, BorromeodeSilva began by ditching the roof for a tubular cage, which still adopts the original roofline in a pretty seamless integration process. The frame itself is constructed from steel and while the car’s shape is still recognisable, the lifted posture is not. This comes courtesy of an independent suspension setup and all-terrain tyres, breathing some off-road life into the old Mustang.

Other notable features include a set of turbine wheels and a reimagined front bumper with bigger, more centralised fog lights. You even get a crankcase guard and a thinner rear bumper to help the STL-1 squeeze a few extra centimetres of ground clearance. Lovely.

There are upgraded coilovers, tubular upper and lower control arms and even rack-and-pinion steering with new tie rods and bushings. Fresh 11in brake discs and aluminium calipers are also present, as is a limited-slip differential.

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Oh, and given this is an American muscle car we should probably mention the V8 engine. Because of course it's a V8. The engine itself is the 5.0-litre ‘Road Runner’, which debuted back in 2012 with the Boss Mustang 302. It’s been given a new forged steel crankshaft and aluminium pistons, while the cylinder heads and intake manifold are pulled from a 302R racer. 

The changes mean it loses around 10lb ft of torque compared to the unaltered engine, but we're promised it produces more than the original 444bhp output. 

Moving inside (or is it still outside?), you’ll spot a minimalist cabin which adopts a handful of modern touches, including a new steering wheel and seats, while the digital dashboard should make it easier to locate fast food joints on the fabled road trip

“I first crossed the United States and then from New York to Buenos Aires. It was during this epic journey, along the gruelling Panamericana, that I began to imagine how this extraordinary muscle car could be modified to become the perfect all-terrain car destined for adventure," says Carlo Borromeo. "It took us a few years to realise the idea, but we are finally there: we are now ready to build the best off-road Mustang in the world, combining our experience in restomod design with our love of epic journeys.”

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And yes, these images may be renders but they are going to actually build this thing. Just one for Carlo himself at first, but more can be commissioned if it's what the people want. We want.

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