1966 Martini Mustang T-5R: The Mustang Racecar That Never Was


Whether it's fictional tales of alternate history or sci-fi movies about parallel dimensions, many of us enjoy pondering what might've happened if the past played out a little differently. In the automotive realm, there were many period-correct parts and upgrades that, in retrospect, could've been combined to create a fantastic vehicle from an alternative timeline. This thought process led Steve Strope, of Pure Vision Design in Simi Valley, California, to build his 1966 Ford Mustang into a truly unique racecar that never existed. Starting with a Ford/Lotus Indy car engine from the same year, and drawing inspiration from road rally cars and the iconic Martini & Rossi racing team livery, Strope's Mustang is the best kind of automotive fantasy.

Lead photo courtesy of Wes Allison / Hot Rod Magazine

Pure Vision '66 Ford Mustang T-5R


Strope's creation, dubbed the Mustang T-5R, is a blend of American muscle and European flair. The 255ci dual-overhead-cam V8 under the hood was originally built for Indy 500 racecars, and resided under the hood of the winning vehicles in 1965, 1966, and 1967. Strope partnered with Ed Pink Racing Engines, who bored and stroked the block to 292ci and configured it for street use (for example, they added an onboard starter, which the Indy car engine never had).


So, why is it called the T-5R? Martini & Rossi was closely associated with Porsche racecars, so Strope wanted to retain some German influence in this build. He wrote, "Since the German export model of the Mustang was called the T-5 and Ford would be sending basically a race prepped Shelby R model, we figured it would be known as the T-5R." It has export style red/amber tail light lenses, and the gauges are all labeled in German, too.


As for the rest of the interior, it's stripped out and functional, just as you'd expect from a racecar. Aside from blue leather-wrapped bucket seats, blue door panels, and blue floor mats, all other surfaces are clad in white paint or brushed aluminum. Many other Shelby R parts are present, such as the radio delete plate.


Colin Chapman, Formula 1 innovator and founder of Lotus, built his racecars by the motto "simplify, then add lightness." He reinforced this with the assertion, "Adding power makes you faster on the straights. Subtracting weight makes you faster everywhere." Strope and the Pure Vision team maintained this philosophy throughout the T-5R build. All body panels except the doors are fiberglass, and the glass has been replaced with plexiglass. The CR Racing manual transmission only weighs 63 pounds, and the all-aluminum engine weighs 300.

This race-prepped Mustang never existed in the 1960s, but it certainly could have, and we love it either way. Check out the video below from Petrolicious to see (and hear) it in action:

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