Abomination: The 2JZ ’68 Mustang

As you can tell by the title, we’re not beating around the bush regarding the power plant with this feature. Beau Miklethun’s 1968 Ford Mustang is the unlikely combination of classic American aesthetics and Japanese turbo power.

It’s unapologetically different, but contrary to what many might assume wasn’t built to offend. It’s just the most recent iteration in one man’s journey to create a truly unique first generation Mustang.

Keiron Berndt - Speedhunters - 2jz mustang

Beau’s story with the Mustang started before he even owned it. Originally belonging to a family friend, he watched the car sit neglected for years. Knowing he could give the the Mustang a better life Beau would regularly inquire about its status only to be told “it’s not for sale”.

This cycle of inquiry and refusal continued for several years before the owner finally relented. The same day they said “make us an offer” was the same day Beau showed up with a trailer to transport the Mustang home.

Keiron Berndt - Speedhunters - 2jz mustang

Some clean up, rust repair, and maintenance later, Beau drove the Mustang out of his garage with the original straight-six motor. Unfortunately, as much as fellow Mustang enthusiasts applauded him for keeping it, the factory engine was gutless.

Wanting more power and something both different and challenging, Beau skipped V8s of Ford and GM manufacture. Instead, he replaced the stock motor with a Ford SVO 2.3L turbo. The spritely four-cylinder made 200hp and 240ft/lb in its most powerful factory form, more than enough to give the Mustang some extra giddy up.

Found On Road Dead
Keiron Berndt - Speedhunters - 2jz mustang

Beau wanted his swap to be challenging, but the 2.3-litre wound up challenging him quite a bit more than expected. His then lack of experience with forced induction engines combined with mid-1980s domestic turbo technology, and a bit of bad luck, resulted in multiple motor failures. After melting his second set of pistons, Beau fell out of love with the 2.3 and decided to go motor shopping once more.

Keiron Berndt - Speedhunters - 2jz mustang

Again he glanced at various V8s, but with all the turbo supporting mods already installed, going the NA route seemed like a step backwards.

Ultimately, Beau settled on the unorthodox idea of putting a Toyota Aristo-sourced 2JZ-GTE under the hood. Of the swaps he considered, measurements wise, the 2JZ actually fit best.

Keiron Berndt - Speedhunters - 2jz mustang

Not overly wide or extremely tall, the Toyota straight-six slotted into the Ford engine bay without an obnoxious hood cowl or strut tower modifications. In fact, Beau confesses that physically positioning the motor was the easy part; the real challenge was wiring it up to run within its new surroundings.

Thankfully, Beau’s 2JZ came along with the front half of an Aristo so he had plenty of factory wiring to consult when it came to connecting the electrical dots.

Keiron Berndt - Speedhunters - 2jz mustang

There’s a wealth of knowledge available online in regards to the 2JZ, and Beau may just have used all of it to get this car fired up. Sadly, it wasn’t all smooth sailing from there; the swap did offer up its fair share of growing pains.

Pushing Forward
Keiron Berndt - Speedhunters - 2jz mustang

More powerful than any of the motors that preceded it, the single turbo converted 2JZ preyed on the car’s weak points. The driveshaft proved particularly fragile, breaking twice, once on the street and once on the dyno. Each time it broke, it took the transmission along with it.

Today, a custom driveshaft has been installed along with an Aristo transmission equipped with a TransGo shift kit. So far this combination seems to be holding fast.

Keiron Berndt - Speedhunters - 2jz mustang

Backing up the transmission is a narrowed and centered Ford Explorer 8.8-inch rear end. These are a popular choice among builders of all sorts because they are cheap, plentiful, come in good (3.73:1 LSD) gearing and are fitted with disc brakes.

To match the new rear discs, Beau installed Kelsey-Hayes 4-piston callipers up front along with a matching five-lug conversion. Currently the supporting modifications for the motor include an Isuzu NPR truck intercooler, AEM wideband O2 sensor/gauge, and a GReddy boost controller.

In the future Beau wants to add larger injectors and a standalone ECU for more tuning capability, his goal being to bring the car up from its current 300hp to 500hp. To put power to the ground, sub-frame connectors and traction bars have been installed.

Anything But Red
Keiron Berndt - Speedhunters - 2jz mustang

The catalyst for the eye-popping Gulf livery came from a bit of rust and Beau’s desire to no longer own a red Mustang. Everyone has a red Mustang.

The commonality of Beau’s previous paint job meant the car would blend in at shows and events, and although he’s not in it for trophies he does appreciate talking shop with fellow builders. When it was red most builders would walk on by under the assumption the car had your typical Mustang motor under the hood, but no self respecting gear head can walk past a car with a Gulf livery without a second glance, which made it perfect for this car.

Surprisingly, the paint was done by Maaco, a chain known more for their value than quality. In Beau’s case, Maaco did a great job providing a blue canvas for the orange, black and white livery to come. Overall the combination works quite well on the Mustang, especially when paired with the lowered ride height and MB Wheels Old School 15x8s.

Keiron Berndt - Speedhunters - 2jz mustang

Inside, the factory interior has undergone a bit of a refresh. AEM gauges, a performance shifter, and a woodgrain steering wheel make up most of the modifications here.

One change that often goes unnoticed is the addition of BMW E36 front seats. This was a budget-conscious choice, but Beau admits if the clock was wound back it’s one modification he wouldn’t do again. The seats ended up taking quite bit of work to fit in the Mustang correctly.

For creature comforts, Beau installed a Bluetooth-powered audio system that could be heard over the 3-inch exhaust. He also went so far as to install aftermarket air conditioning, making this car ready for about anything.

Keiron Berndt - Speedhunters - 2jz mustang

On the road 2JZ-powered for three years now, Beau’s given the car the nickname of ‘Abomination’ simply because that is what a lot of the Mustang community refers to it as. Online, people tend to be quite vocal about their dislike for the car, where as in person Beau says everyone seems to dig it. Of course, no matter what anyone says there are a million red, Ford-powered Mustangs out there, and Beau has the only blue and orange one that travels down the road with the heart of a Toyota.

If you enjoy a good build thread as much as I do, Beau’s can be found here.

Dave Thomas
Instagram: stanceiseverythingcom

Photography by Keiron Berndt
Instagram: keiron_berndt
Keiron Berndt Photography

Beau Miklethun’s 1968 Ford Mustang Coupe

Toyota 2JZ-GTE 3.0L DOHC 24V inline-six, Turbonetics ‘Lety’ turbocharger, Precision Turbo wastegate, Isuzu NPR intercooler, AEM wideband O2

Toyota Aristo automatic transmission, TransGo shift kit, Ford Explorer 8.8-inch rear end with 3.73:1 LSD

Subframe connectors, traction bars, electric power steering conversion, Kelsey-Hayes 4-piston front disc brakes, Ford Explorer rear disc brakes, 5-lug conversion

Wheels: 15×8-inch MB Wheels Old School wheels

Interior: BMW E36 front seats, aftermarket air conditioning, AEM Tru-Boost, Rockford Fosgate audio system



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Ah, a Washington State car...thought I'd possibly seen it before on the roads with that eye-catching livery. Nice video, too.


Yeah, I did recently give that video a watch it's well done!

Chris Colouryum

Love it. So true. Most the people who hate online wouldn't say shit in person. Car meets are where the real feedback matters.


Built to battle DK on the touge


Donkey Kong?


Had the same feelings right from the beginning. :D


Well, on one hand, the car in the movie (and two of the movie-cars) had RB-engines.
Then again, looking at prices for those, the JZ is a much more sensible option.


Tokyo Drift intensifies


I've never been a big fan of that mustang, but this thing is pretty sweet. I bet it's way fun to drive.


In this day and age, crazy motor swaps isn't really as surprising. I love the idea of putting a 2JZ in...well anything it fits in! What surprises me more is that Maaco painted this! I had a Maaco job on my 92' DA and you whoever prepped and painted should have been wearing a hair net. The amount of hair caught under the paint was astounding, not to mention the poor masking job around the black mouldings. You could see all the straight lines of tape used for the curves. But hey...you got lucky and got a decent paint job! I dig the car, probably even more because it's against the grain.


Maacos are privately owned, so there will be great ones as well as bad ones. I had a panel on my car painted by a local one and it turned out pretty good. Five years on and it's still looking fresh.


That's why I chose to include the shop name. I was blown away when Beau told me Maaco did it.

However I do Beleive he did the prep.


Just have to pop in with agreement with the Maaco comment...just stunning ANYONE would consider that abominable outfit for a paint job!
My only venture with Maaco was the worst ever, too many issues to waste space here accounting...many that developed later from the clear lack of quality work, materials, and skill involved in that job that got sent there unknown to me in the first place.
They suck so bad they deserve to be skewered here and anywhere else their name comes up.


Normally I would agree. The Maaco I went to was highly recommended by the local hot rodders. The owner owned this paint shop for many years, he turned it into a Maaco to get more insurance work. I didn't get the $99 special :) It has its flaws, but the non-metallic color hides them well. They shaved some emblems and some other stuff, all told it was under $3K out the door.


not a budget special but 2k less than any quote i ever got for a decent coat of paint.


really love this car, because it's just such a bold and well-built statement. I've always liked the idea of a straight-six swapped pony car, because of the perpetually low prices on six cylinder mustangs.


much less of an abomination than that siemens mustang that tried in vain to drive itself up goodwood. lmao
seriously though, this thing is wicked. more straight 6 pony cars are always a pleasure


This reminds me of the 'Stang in FnF Tokyo drift, I expected the owner wanted the Toyota-engined version. Personally I think the Japanese engines are better for the Pony Cars then the original 6's they had!

Jay Soh Tsu Chung

All I can say is, well done! I'm surprised by the use of a turbo-diesel truck intercooler.

The Voodoo That You Do

I would have dropped a Turbo charged Ford 300 Inline 6 and kept it all Ford. A turbo charged 300 six is a mean beast


He did have another Ford turbo in it, I'm not familar with the 300 was it a factory turbo option?


There were VERY few factory turbo 300's, finding the manifolds is pretty much impossible these days. The few people who cobble a turbo 300 together get around 300HP and 500TQ are really crappy tunes. There is a 10-second maverick with a turbo 300 that has a stock bottom end.


There were zero factory turbo 300s as far as I know.

I have a turbo 300 in my '66 F100. It is stout. But yeah, almost everything hotside was custom made.


Brb going down the 300 rabbit hole. Be back later.

(thanks for the info)


If this were one of only a handful of 68 Mustangs left then maybe it would be an abomination. But there are thousands of these things all perfectly restored and dragged out of the mustaing-nostalgia-catalog-decorated garages for Sunday morning winga-dinga meets and cruises. So why not have a little fun. I love the build. Good on him for doing whatever he wanted.


some call it villanous


I especially love how natural that engine bay looks, that the owner didn't decide to go full show-car with it. The 2J actually looks very at home in there. Brilliant car all around.


I have had my '69 coupe for 10 years now in full factory spec, 250ci and all, with the exception of electric ignition. I've always had aspirations of putting a 3.2L Rebello L series in it. This story inspires me to move forward.


Is it bad that I actually like the RB one from Tokyo Dirft better? Which is weird because I usually prefer JZs over RBs

Dave Buck Shaw

Except this one is real.


Tokyo Drift had an SR20 in it, not an RB


Ok, I take that back. It did have an Rb.... Just googled it....


Auto trans KILLS this car for me, but such a cool car and idea non the less

Dave Buck Shaw

They work great with a turbo car on the street.


-_- Why so you can do stoplight-to-stoplight runs? Unless it's a modern high spec auto then I disagree that it would be better than a manual for anything other than street-modified drag racing.


I think the GNX only came in auto trans and was also a turbo 6.. I wonder if drag guys keep that setup.


I really like this. 1st gen Mustangs are pretty much the most common classic cars next to the VW beetle, so creativity > purity.

Dave Buck Shaw

Just like that 2JZ Scamp you guys featured a couple of years ago. These Aristo restomods are practical, fast, and fun! Great job Beau.


Abomination my ass.

There's something very right about this car.


Original straight 6 car with more power in the right blue, yeah I'm a fan of that alright. That's something I had dreamed up back when I was a little kid and glad someones done it.

I wonder though how long until you start seeing older Mustangs with the EcoBoost 4s and v6s in them.


I would love to do either of those swaps, but $$$$. Now, if Ford wants to sponsor me to get that Toyota engine out of there.... :)


stepping on a dangerous nerve buddy


don't know why but it doesn't seem strange (maybe little bit strange but not shocked), i think we've seen a fair enough extreme swaps. Plus it's well executed so why not?


Great job giving this notch back some balls.


Cars which deserve Gulf paintjobs: Racing cars.

Cars which don't: All others.

Mustang - nice, 2JZ also nice, slushbox and gaudy paint - wasteful and unnecessary IMO. Looks like it sits nicely though in terms of wheel/tyre and fitment. Extra spotties are cool too.

Surely an IRS rear end bolt in kit and a manual box would make it.


what the fuck took this car so long to get featured; I've seen it for years at car shows in Seattle area (two of which I was head judge).

this car always took something home iirc.


Logistics I assume, there's a lot of SH staff but we can't be everywhere.

It's featured now though :)


I'd be happy to extend the staff :-)
Then again, we got the TÜV here in Germany, which limits car-modification :-/


Well done Dave. I like the odd ball stuff.


This needs a Barra


Actually, this concept isn't that outlandish.
After all, when the Mustang hit the showrooms (possible pun not intended) the entry-level engine was an inline-6.
So while the choice of the engine's source might be controversial, the kind of engine (I6 over V8) absolutely isn't.


I like that it remains an i6.

I do think a Barra should be on order in the future though.


Y NO Ford Barra?