Dan Scanlan test-drives the 725-horspower boosted, bad and mega-priced Mustang from Galpin Ford.
As Ford was teasing the sixth-generation Mustang, Fisker was thinking of how to give it more “pure emotion,” he said. The result is the Galpin Fisker Rocket - Galpin Auto Sports, Henrik Fisker and an apt name for a 725-horsepower Ponycar. They unveiled it at the Los Angeles Auto Show: a low-volume carbon fiber-bodied super-Mustang. Then I became one of the first to drive production model No. 1 at its premiere at the 20th annual Amelia Island Concours d’Elegance.
Fisker designed the BMW Z8, coachbuilt Tramonto and Latigo CS (a rebodied Mercedes-Benz SL and BMW 6-Series), Aston Martin DB9 and V8 Vantage, luxury plug-in hybrid Fisker Karma and Aston Martin Thunderbolt, also revealed at Amelia.
Galpin Auto Sports is part of a 69-year-old automotive empire in California that includes multiple dealerships as well a Van Nuys-based customizing and personalizing service. Galpin’s President Beau Boeckmann said the Mustang has been his favorite car for most of his life. He said he thinks Ford’s design team “nailed it” with the 2015 model, but he wanted to do
something really special with it.
He started with photos of the new Mustang and did drawings. They secured a 2015 Mustang in October and scanned it, then overlaid his design on top of it, making sure the crush and bumper points were preserved. The Rocket design was modeled full-size in clay in a week because “I need to see it” - seven weeks start to finish.
One look at the Rocket and you see recognizable Mustang, obviously inspired by some of the hottest vintage Shelby GT500s. Then realize that all bar the roof and glass is new, done in carbon fiber crafted by GFMI Metalcrafters.
The Ford grille is there, but a longer and wide-open hexagon shape filled with a carbon fiber mesh. It’s split by a polished aluminum blade with running horse in the middle, like a 1960s Mustang, and two high corner fog lights. There’s a prominent lower air dam with intake.
“The nose is a little longer to kind of drag it down and give it a more aggressive look,” Fisker said. “You want to show the muscle; you want to show the power with the power dome and all the intakes.”
Doors retain their channeled look over a deeper carbon fiber sill. The rear gets twin side scoops before a more radically shaped wider fender with defined shoulder curves reminiscent of Mustangs almost 40 years ago. These sculpted flared fenders neatly frame P325/30R21s in back, their upper lines converging on an integrated rear spoiler with the “Rocket” name in chrome.
Under that handmade carbon fiber beats the heart of a Mustang – a five-liter DOHC 32-valve alloy block V-8. Galpin adds a chromed Whipple supercharger and Bassani cat-back exhaust system with quad tips. Ford’s optional Mustang performance package is there - larger radiator with oil cooler. Blip the throttle and the engine growls, with a hint of impatient supercharger whine. The six-speed Mustang manual felt just fine with 225 more ponies galloping through it. Throttle tip-in is immediate. “You can always make one-off cars that have 1,000 horsepower, but may not be drivable,” said Fisker. “ It was important for us since we will make a few that it was still drivable very day.”
The Rocket rides on fully-adjustable double-ball-joint MacPherson struts with stabilizer bar up front, and Ford’s new integral-link independent rear with coil springs and stabilizer bar. It’s been retuned and felt firm, but was supple enough on the coastal roads we drove it on. It didn’t beat you up on bumps. Alas, curves were non-existent on the test route bar some traffic circles. The car’s electronic stability control is there to help, and so is a 3.73 ratio TORSEN rear differential. The Brembo 6-piston brake calipers had 15-inch rotors front and rear, and offered a progressive bite, solid pedal feel and very sure stops. The adjustable-effort electric power-assisted steering, set in Sport, had a firm feel with just the right touch of effort with those sticky gumshoes all around. It felt well screwed together.
Rocket Mustangs are available through Galpin Ford or selected dealers across the country. For more information, please visit http://galpinrocket.com/