BLACK DEATH

1968 Ford Mustang Fastback

Article and Photographs : Stefan Kotze

Built by Sportech Cars

The Black Death. An apt name I thought. This car looks mean and bad, and every time it gets driven it certainly murders fuel, tyres and all common sense. But hey, who needs common sense when it comes to a car build like this, an expression of power and personal vision. 

The story of Laurent Decalion’s 1968 Ford Mustang Fastback started a few years back, when he had a chat to Chad from Sportech and Chad discussed his longing to build a proper Mustang for himself one day. A year later and after a second chat, Laurent told Chad that he was ready for them to build him the car of his dreams – a 1968 Mustang Fastback. And so The Black Death story began. Chad is extremely performance-orientated so he pushed for a car that would stop, turn and handle exceptionally well even with an abundance of horsepower under the bonnet. Laurent readily agreed. 

The search was on for a car and eventually they located one in Cape Town which had supposedly been rebuilt (but not to high standards) however, it looked decent and could be driven. It had underwhelming power and if you looked closely, it was pretty obvious that lots of shortcuts had been taken with regards to this build. The car was purchased and shipped up to Sportech in Jhn where a complete stripping of the vehicle was the first thing to be done. The parts that were not needed were sold. These included the motor and gearbox. The entire body and chassis were stripped down to bare metal and that is where some major issues were discovered. 

The car was in dismal condition underneath the paint with body filler everywhere, uneven gaps and also some rust. To start remedying this, they had to replace certain panels as well as welding in metal to fill up the holes and gaps. The entire car was also seam and strength welded. Once all of this was completed, it received its new, spectacular paintjob. This entire process took around 6 months to complete. While this was taking place, the search had started for the best suspension for the car. This ended up being a full Heidts setup. This system runs fully adjustable coilovers both in the front and rear of the car with sway bars in place. It is all rose jointed as well. They used polyurethane bushes wherever possible as well as fabricating custom lower control arms and uprights. 

The front suspension is a weld-up setup which enabled them to cut out the shock towers which created more space for the massive motor that would eventually be slotted into the car. 

Fitted between the rear suspension is a hefty 9” limited slip differential which hints at eh power this car produces. To help the car stay on the road, it is fitted with a 6 pot Wilwood braking system along with braided hoses, Wilwood master cylinder and special soft compound brake pads. This enables the brakes to be ready, even if they are not warmed up at all. The Wilwood master cylinder was used with an integrated electronic brake booster to create the pedal feel of a modern car. Now we get to the juicy part. Juicy being an apt description of this beast of a motor as it gets only 1-2 km per litre – but when doing a build like this, fuel consumption is a term that gets left out of the conversation. 

A specially built 408cu crate motor was commissioned from Proformance in the States. Instead of being run on an old school carb setup, it runs a fuel-injected supercharged system which also runs a huge Procharger, currently producing around 800 HP and 1000NM. The engine was specifically built for the higher altitude in South Africa as well as our fuel quality. When the engine arrived from America, it was supposed to be a bolt-in setup but Sportech found that the Supercharger exceeded the height of the engine bay and the bonnet could not close.

The motor had to be dropped lower into the chassis, taking into consideration that the oil sump was also lower now. It was a mission to get this right but in the end, they triumphed. The vehicle also runs a massive MRP Motorsport radiator with a huge fan, oil cooler and gearbox cooler to ensure that all the temps stay low. The car also sports air conditioning. On the ignition front, the car runs 2 systems – a MSD system as well as a Mallory system. This keeps the spark nice and tidy whilst Aeromotive products keep the fuel supply and pressure sorted. To ensure that everything keeps running as it should, a local engine management system was chosen and the car was tuned in Cape Town, where she resides on a daily basis. Custom boost pipes were built in-house and actually run through the fenders on the left and right of the car. The exhaust itself is also a custom piece which exits at the bottom of the car and boy is it loud!! The entire motor setup is then connected to a manual 5-speed Tremec box with a very special clutch that can hold all the torque this car gives out. Believe me, this car can pull!

Now we move on and focus on the looks of the Mustang. The all-black paintjob is complimented by some matte black stripes with red accents whilst every piece of chrome on the car was blacked out with some HID lights fitted in the front. When it came to wheels, Laurent had seen a design he liked and Sportech had them custom-made in the States – this was also due to the wheels needing a very specific offset. They had to be pushed out as far as possible without rubbing the body. This was also necessary as Laurent wanted to keep the rear seats in the car. The wheels are finished in matte black with red wheel protectors and they are shod with Michelin Pilot Super Sports – 285/38/18 and 255/45/18 respectively. 

Finally, we get to the belly of the beast which is actually a very nice place to be. The carpeting was completely redone whilst a new dash was also ordered and then recovered, before being installed. White velocity gauges replaced the original ones which help with a more modern feel to the car. A centre console was specially built and houses a few more gauges and switches. The gear lever is from American Powertrain whilst the steering wheel has an entire job on its own. It took almost 4 months to find the manufacturer of the wheel but fitting as perfectly as it does, it was well worth the additional effort. 

The seats are Sparco which were completely recovered in leather and Alcantara, along with the door cards and rear seats. Lastly, with this much power under the hood, safety has to be a priority. A custom rollcage was built and kept as close to the roof as possible so that it takes up as little headroom and space in that car as humanly possible. 

So, in a nutshell, this car is definitely about old-school muscle. However, it drives like a modern-day powerhouse and driving this car anywhere is bound to get you heaps of attention. So, a Black Death might not be a bad to go after all.