Master Of Deception: Meet The Magstang

This is not a simple vehicle. This is not a clone. This is not a 1967 Shelby GT500.

However, what it isn’t is just as important as what it is. This is a real-deal Shelby GT500 with one significant twist.

In building this car, a 2012-2014 GT500 was stripped to nothing but the unibody chassis and powertrain before being completely rebuilt from the ground up and being backdated to a 1967 body peppered with carbon fiber, and stuffed with more unique extras than you could ever order from your local dealership. Not one millimeter of this beauty was overlooked by long time Mustang restoration specialist Michael Golinder and his team at MAG Motors.

2019 Ford Magstang by Marc Goldbaum Speedhunters-13

Though his experience in putting technology into 1960s muscle cars was extensive and effective, Michael began to focus more on his unique backdating style. The end product with a modern chassis and powertrain under an iconic body was a huge success.

2019 Ford Magstang by Marc Goldbaum Speedhunters-06
2019 Ford Magstang by Marc Goldbaum Speedhunters-08

After the modern GT500’s strip down, the few steps to follow (in the most basic of ways to explain) involve chassis strengthening, tons of sheet metal fabrication and application, and the first stages of wiring. From a complete Dynamat interior to integrated Advanced Driver Assistance Systems (ADAS), this made-to order-technology is then infused with everything you could ever want for your next road trip, track day, or car meet.

2019 Ford Magstang by Marc Goldbaum Speedhunters-10

Honestly, it doesn’t make sense to go over all of the options Michael offers when it comes to this build, because it has everything you could ask for. Instead, I’ll just mention the most requested modern options I’ve heard from my days in the car sales business: Heated and cooled seats; navigation; back-up camera; a killer sound system;  keyless entry and push button start; ADAS (lane departure and collision detection warnings); every courtesy interior light you could want; a security system to appease the Pope; uncompromising reliability and safety such as airbags and four-wheel ABS; and let’s not forget horsepower ranging from 662hp to track packages tuned to over 720hp.

After completing his own vision of the perfect GT500 (dubbed the GT500R) Michael began getting orders for more all through word of mouth alone. Over the past five years MAG Motors have created four more examples of the GT500R, along the way perfecting a method to turn each one out in seven or eight months.

2019 Ford Magstang by Marc Goldbaum Speedhunters-03

When discussing these build times, we cannot forget to mention the hard-working talent that goes into each one of these creations other than Michael. One of these talents is Cole Newcomb, MAG Motor’s head fabricator, who helps devise each build. In addition to Cole’s many qualifications with fabrication, he also happened to be my wheel man for this shoot. As I hung out of the back side of my Fiat 500, Cole kindly drove Angeles Crest Highway allowing me to capture some awesome shots of the GT500R.

2019 Ford Magstang by Marc Goldbaum Speedhunters-11

What does that ‘R’ at the end of GT500R mean anyways? Well, I’m sure if you follow the backdating community at all you’ve encountered a number of ‘reimagined’ and ‘restored’ vehicles, and that’s where the ‘R’ comes from for Michael. This does however bring attention to the elephant in the room. What about companies like Singer and ICON? Isn’t MAG Motors just doing the same thing as them?

Well in a way, yes. MAG Motors is one of three companies using passion and engineering expertise to create incredible pieces of automotive art.

2019 Ford Magstang by Marc Goldbaum Speedhunters-12

One distinctive characteristic that must be rehashed about Michael’s GT500R is the reliability aspect. Far too often we see supercars and exotics visiting the local vehicle specialists for some type of unique yet frequently occurring flaw. This unique GT500 is different because it is extensively a new Shelby GT500. Despite being rebuilt from the ground up, this vehicle can be driven and operated just as any other GT500 Mustang would be. It can even be brought to any Ford dealership or qualified Ford mechanic to be worked on for its mechanical, electrical, and routine maintenance.

Now for the price: It starts at $185,000. Is that a lot of money? Absolutely. Is that a lot of money for the vehicle you’re acquiring? No, I don’t think so.

Companies with a similar process aforementioned range from $250,000-$600,000+ per build and hold a completion time surpassing two years in some cases. This GT500, by comparison, is an absolute steal in my opinion. Did I mention the build time is only seven to eight months? Yes, yes I did.

Striking ground in a market as niche as this can put one in an interesting place. Not only is MAG Motors creating a reliable and modernized version of the iconic 1967 GT500 but following through with their plans to expand further into this muscle car world would potentially solidify them as the go-to muscle car guys for these types of builds.

2019 Ford Magstang by Marc Goldbaum Speedhunters-14

So, what’s next for MAG Motors? Currently more GT500R builds are in progress and branching out into classic Chevrolet Camaro SS(R) and Dodge Charger R/T(R) creations are on the horizon. With each of these original classic examples comfortably surpassing the $200,000 mark (and climbing) it certainly gives enthusiasts a new and exciting option.

Marc Goldbaum
Instagram: magold_photo


How To join the IATS program: We have always welcomed readers to contact us with examples of their work and believe that the best Speedhunter is always the person closest to the culture itself, right there on the street or local parking lot. If you think you have what it takes and would like to share your work with us then you should apply to become part of the IAMTHESPEEDHUNTER program. Read how to get involved here.



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The bodywork quality is very bad.




The big thing that grabbed my attention right off is the tail lamps aren't square with the rear panel. Overall, I really dig the concept. Just needs a bit more refinement and it will be sharp.

Michael Golinder

Hi thanks for the response, but the tail panel and fitment is 100% Shelby 1967. The tail panel and tail lamps are 100% in the OEM position. They flow down from center and the panel itself is concave. The classic has a lot of curves. You can’t compare it to say a modern Dodge tail


Conceptually, this is interesting but from an execution standpoint it leaves a lot to be desired. Panel alignment needs to be taken care of much better, had a chance to explore a Singer Porsche, beats Lexus in bodywork!! This is nowhere close. Door panels do not match up with the quarters.
Secondly, the safety tech (airbags; traction control) seems sketchy because these systems rely on precise calculations for a particular vehicle weight, wheelbase etc and simply grafting from one body to the other will not work especially airbags. I have come across only one properly executed example of a traction system being grafted from one car to another; matching wheelbase and close enough weight though the system still is not perfect (wheelspin; unintended braking). There is a reason why Singer does not bother themselves with safety tech or driver assistance features. These systems are uniquely calibrated for a particular vehicle; crash one of these Mustangs, and you are looking at a huge potential lawsuit!! Good concept but needs a lot of work, and cash!!


"Secondly, the safety tech (airbags; traction control) seems sketchy..."

Safety - properly understood - is a matter of perspective.

For example - I might be up on the roof without a fall harness, but no one's shooting at me.



Safety tech like an airbag isn't related to vehicle weight. It's just based on manufacturer preference, so thats not an issue. There are heaps of vehicles out there with rougly the same weight and wheelbase, but totally different type op airbags (size and inflation speed)

Traction control: It's based on speed sensor with a cogged wheel/rotor compaired to actual vehicle speed en left and right + front + rear. So again, not really an issue. Weight is an issue in itself, as well as horsepower and aerodynamics. The most influential system is actually the tire. Gettingway stickier rubber will activate ABS when grip isn't lost yet. And a garbage tire won't active ABS although grip may be lost before that. But thats about all. But thats the same regardless of this vehicle or a modified one.

Crashing: Depends on the sub structures. Leave the whole frame intact, and it shouldn't really make a difference. Outer panels won't be of much help in a crash, weather it is a regular mustang, or a modified one. Its the frame that does that, since it a unibody. This isn't a body on frame car (which even the original mustang wasn't).

@michael Golinder:
What I would like to know just from a curiosity perspective (since I'm not a prospective customer): What is the actual benefit to start with a relatively new mustang and backdating the body so to speak, compaired to starting with and old mustang and updating the car to the new mustang specs? Because from a pricing, weight and smog exempt status and older 1967 mustang has the advantage?


modern day vehicles have a multitude of ECU's some of which handle active saftey systems such as the airbags. To say that airbag choice is the "preference" of the manufacturer may have been a correct statement last decade but isnt true today as the active systems are much more complex in order to detect certain conditions as they are happening and deploy the airbags before the actual impact (such as a rollover). As the understanding of saftey and crash structures has evolved over time, so have the calculations to not only select airbags as well as when to deploy them. When those calculations take into consideration the momentum of a vehicle you cannot argue that the weight of a vehicle is irrelevant as momentum is a function of weight (p=mv).


@ Mike:

Not really: Do you think that airbags and all there asociated systems ore developed by the car company? They only provide guidelines. From there on out there a multiple quotes asked from different companies. And usually the cheapest one gets the contract. And that can also be different with the same car on a different continent as wel. Going on for years and still going on today.
Yes I can argue that for sure. You are right about momentum being a function of weight. But name me one system thats actually relevant of weight, which cant cope with a change in weight? To my knowledge there isn't one. You know why? Because the other side of momentum is speed. Change speed, change momentum. So if what your saying were true, driving into a wall with 10KMH won't make a difference for the sensor compaired to 100KMH. When in fact they both trigger a differnt response. The sensors measure momentum in the same way your smartphone does: Using an accelerometer. It account for every change in momentum. Speed and weight are needed for an outcome. Change a speed, change the outcome. Change weight, change the outcome. Since an accelerometer measures momentum (G-force), It will account for both.

Michael Golinder

Thanks for that reply. We have modified old 67 mustangs with modern tech before. You do have to modify the engine bay quite a bit. Shock tower delete, using aftermarket components etc. It is never a cheaper option however and you do still have an old frame with a mess of aftermarket components.
Why not use 50 years of Ford advanced tech in chassis, components and electrical.

Michael Golinder

Pictured is a prototype vehicle. Call it proof of concept. We don’t do bodywork anylonger. We make full carbon fiber panels for correct fitment. Second the tech. The tech is not transferred over to a 67.
The chassis, wheel base, everything below the window line is a 2014 Shelby GT500.
If you take a 2014 or any car for that matter and change the hood and customize the fenders would that change anything as far as geometry or safety? If you reduce the weight of a modern car for track use does that mean the launch control won’t work?
You can read more about the process on our site.

Michael Golinder

Hi. Thanks for the reply. Let me address a few things here. Pictured is a prototype vehicle. Call it proof of concept. We don’t do bodywork anylonger. We make full carbon fiber panels for correct fitment. Second the tech. The tech is not transferred over to a 67.
The chassis, wheel base, everything below the window line is a 2014 Shelby GT500.
If you take a 2014 or any car for that matter and change the hood and customize the fenders would that change anything as far as geometry or safety? If you reduce the weight of a modern car for track use does that mean the launch control won’t work?
You can read more about the process on our site.


If you have sorted out the bodywork in carbon fiber, then panel fitment and alignment would be much better. ADAS designed for this particular model should work but not airbags. My day job is designing safety components for the transportation industry, and simple hood change can potentially trigger an active airbag system failure because, mass of a stock vehicle is used in airbag momentum change calculations. Launch control will work but not active safety system, airbags never!! Article specifically mentions airbags, so I pointed that out. However, if these kinks are worked out you have my respect and money, even more than the $185,000 you are asking.

Michael Golinder

Thanks again Michael. I appreciate the input. Yes the client vehicles are quite something. We have a new one being built that will show off exposed carbon fiber. As far as Airbags. The seating and steering wheel positions remain OEM.
Yes the weight of the wehicle is slightly lighter. So what you are saying is that if I take my 2018 Mustang for instance and put an aftermarket carbon fiber hood the airbags won’t deploy in a crash?


Might or might not! Generally, around 12 lbs to 20 lbs change is built into the programming to account for different fluid levels etc. So, a massive change in weight will definitely effect the deployment.
For example:
In a 2015 Mustang, a simple hood change might not effect it but if the whole front end is CFRP with a nearly empty tank of gas the airbag will deploy at a higher speed collision; may be at 35 mph rather than 30 mph for stock. The triggering sensors measure momentum which is mass multiplied by velocity. If one decreases then other must increase for the sensor to trigger.
A trivia fact is that above 90 - 95 mph front end collision say with a pedestrian will not cause airbag deployment because the pedestrian will fly over the windshield before the accelerometer sensor detects the impact. Tested on a GT350 with a dummy!


@ Michael:
Kind of defeating its own point, isn't it? Full fuel tank and an empty one? 1 fuel tank full or 1 liter left Don't know the exact capacity of this particluar mustang, but lets say 70 liter. 1 liter of fuel is about 750 grams (als its lighter then water) . 69 x 750 = 51750 / 1000 = 51,75 Kg x 2,2 = 113,85.

And lets not forget load, passengers and so on. When you take that into account, there is just a tiny sweet spot. Does that mean it will not work anymore? Of course not, but not in de optimal designed way, but still in the target area. Otherwise safety equipment companies would be out of business and there wouldn't be a safety equipment company left?


That’s similar to info we received from a Ford engineer when we did R&D. For reference the Speedcore GT350 fully carbon fiber is much lighter than OEM and they have produced 100s of CF aftermarket parts.
We do also retain the OEM seatbelt retractors which lock with momentum.


That is good thinking, and great job!! I have always felt that classic Mustangs have an unique appeal that can be utilized to create something along the lines of Singer or Gunther works.
Michael, once again great job! Moving forward, it would be great if you can incorporate some unique design features that makes it standout will give you a global audience. I think instead of a supercharged GT500 motor if you can create an unique powerplant, you will tap into the Singer market! May be a NA V8 that is still lightweight, meets emissions but has around 600HP to 800HP would be phenomenal. Utilisizing unique weaves of carbon can be another! I know a 71 Mach One being built currently in which the owner chose to have the stripes in the bodywork itself using Kevlar over carbon which gives a unique yellow-on-black stripes. Once finished, it will be probably be featured in a movie or something, I am not sure. Food for thought!!


Thanks Michael. Can’t wait to show off the newest build with exposed carbon fiber features. Kevlar is also a very cool look. We have made some engine bay parts with that before.
As far as creating a new motor well the stock 5.8L Shelby motor at 662hp is easily upgraded to 800hp and since these are custom builds the clients can choose to do whatever their wallet allows as far as engine upgrades.


You are welcome. It is great to see an American icon getting the love it deserves. Combine Kevlar and carbon in innovative ways in one panel; will make you standout in the aftermarket community!! If your ultimate goal is to really redefine custom Mustangs, interestingly offering too many options dilutes brand value!! Offer two to three engine options unique to your company, with a standardized design feature and we will have the best Mustang. Sorry for comparing you to the Singer but what can I say, I have high expectations for you and the Mustang. Best horse ever!!


I completely appreciate the feedback. Good or bad. We are always looking to improve the ultimate build. I do not mind a comparison to builders like Singer. If anything we are striving to emulate that kind of quality and bring it to a one of our favorite classics.


You might have missed where he mentioned the ADAS systems were made for this car? I didn't get the impression that they were just swapped over.

Michael Golinder

That is correct. We don’t swap components in the 67. We reskin the modern vehicle leaving everything in place


A classic is a classic, but it's always good adding modern technology to maintain the tradition of classics.
The quality of the bodywork is perfect for its style.


so instead of making a resto-mod you are making a mod-resto? Interesting idea!


Technically, it's a more of a destro-mod. Since you are taking something new and destroy it, just to restore it to a state where it's less then new but with more extras.


Man, this is absolutely awesome. Great photos and a good read too, glad to see this here.


Well, I admire the tenacity it takes to make something like this work, at $185,000 my heart wouldn't be in it. Not when $17.5k buys you a brand new Dynacorn '67 Fastback body. It's pretty easy to start with a bare unibody and build a beautiful car in a similar vein.

I recognize that wasn't the goal here, but if you want a '67-look car with modern conveniences, I think the traditional approach of grafting modern conveniences into the old-style body shell is the way to go. Particularly when the aftermarket has most of the solutions one needs ready to go. And the aftermarket can and frankly does build better cars than Ford ever has. The stock 2010-2014 GT500 is a performance beast, but a mediocre car in terms of refinement and quality. Since you're going to have to re-do everything to bring it up to today's standard anyways, you might as well start with a very fresh and blank pallet. The price tag will still be six figures, but you'll end up with a completely custom built vehicle as opposed to what is in essence...and I know this will ruffle feathers a bit...a carbon fiber body kit put over a 6-year old car at this point.


Thanks for the reply. Having built plenty of pro touring and resto mods I have to agree that’s easier, but definitely not cheaper. Similar builders ask $220-250k for modernizing with a coyote etc. still an old chassis and a mismatch of components and electronics.
Sure you can slap together a nice resto mod for $100k or so.
Also regarding the interior and ford mediocrity. That’s exactly why we had to step it up 10 and make custom parts and finishes. Check out our website or IG. You have a blend of classic and tech. Again, it’s not for everyone, but people that enjoy custom cars have nothing but the best to say about drivability, reliability and overall performance


Lotta hate going on here, I for one love the style of this build!

I am sure there is improvements that could be made, but it is a killer look, and no doubt very fun to drive. Comparing a sub 200K car with singer is also cruel. Don't they start at 500K and range up to close to one million?

Michael Golinder

Tha k you, but I don’t see it as hate. People like what they like and we do appreciate all kinds of feedback. That’s why there are so many different builders out there that specialize in different things and yes the Singers are averaging $650k build prices now.
Still spending 200k on a build you would expect the best and we have gone to that next level with our new carbon fiber.


Very cool, I will look forward to seeing the Camaro and Challenger versions. A new Zr1 with an early c3 body would be killer also.

Michael Golinder

Appreciate that. When we do anything like that it would only be on the top tier OEM like the ZL1 or Hellcat because of you are going to do it why not go all out as with the Shelby GT500


That Shelby is my dream muscle car
Nothing can beat it


this car's body work and paint is so wavy. I don't know if its waving hello or goodbye =)


Looks pretty good. I can’t believe you made a modern mustang look as small at the 67. So perfectly proportioned. Do you replace complete roof structure of the donor car? Would love to see a full build instead of just the finished product

Michael Golinder

We do replace the top structure. Take a look on our website and newsletter


I wanted to do this with a DeTomaso Longchamp


You know, I think people forget that the body-panel alignment of the original was not exactly spot-on. The only time the old ponycars cars look as perfect in real life as they do in our heads, is when they've been restored by someone hellbent on outdoing the original.

And this car certainly succeeds, from all the pics I've seen. My own quibble is with the way the rear flare meets the rear wrap at the quarter panel, right behind the wheel. The issue could also be nonexistent in real life, and due to how the photographer handled the editing, with respect to shadows and midtones.

The bigger picture is that of an epic build that stands with the best of the best, in terms of joining classic and modern styles, to my eyes anyway. What we're not seeing here are the countless little pieces, from the brackets and hinges to the switchgear and trunk liners, retainers, and so on, which must all carry that same harmony throughout. The amount of thought that goes into retromodding on this level is just bonkers. To be disciplined enough to create something this extensively harmonious, a builder has to be able to turn love into craft, which means taking on any weakness and reshaping into ability until it's a strength.

To say "not everybody has that in them" is an understatement. Machines like this one are marvels.


I'm not a huge fan of the rear lower valence's look, but other than that this thing is awesome!


No engine shots? Awwwwwww


Where are you guys getting all these gt500s to build the cars, wrecks or people bring you a car?

Michael Golinder

Clients bring us theirs or we source them for the client. No salvage or damaged cars, not worth the time to worry about the damage and clients paying that much would rather a clean low miles donor


They're probably to clear the brakes im sure, but wheels are too big in my opinion. Needs 17s.


The idea is great, but the bodywork is terrible, the car is not symetrical, the 67 body and the fiberglas elanor kit is all twisted... great idea but terrible exicution

Michael Golinder

That’s the reason everything is now carbon fiber custom made for these frames and not a kit.


Love the photos Marc! Happy to see another automotive photographer rocking a Fujifilm setup.