Have you heard the saying ‘art imitates life’ well for entrepreneur Malcolm Pages, it was a matter of life imitating art this time around. After buying an unfinished, movie numbered, Mustang GT500 based on the Gone in 60 Seconds film, he encountered what can only be described as drama with a capital D. The story is one for the ages.
“I bought the car in 2008 off a guy in the US who was well and truly over the build. Unique Performance (the workshop licensed to build the cars after the movie’s success) had gone under from ripping people off and he was wrapped up in that drama, so he was no longer interested in finishing the project. I jumped on the car as it was the first serious black version made – not just a flip on the paint scheme. This was a genuine alternative and was supposed to be the more performance orientated version. Back in 2006 I had previously imported an earlier version but the build quality was well and truly below par so I sold it instantly and just waited till a better option came up at the right time. Once I had the car in my ‘possession’ I shipped the car off to Memory Lane classics in MN to be finished. It needed paint, some assembly and a few custom touches I wanted” said Malcolm.
Nothing too exciting yet you say? Well the story was just warming up. “The shop that was working on the car then on sold it to four other people around the world – in a Ponzi scheme fashion. It took me a while to figure it out but I slowly discovered it as the work was just taking far too long and the shop had way many excuses and wanted more and more coin”
It wasn’t long before the FBI got involved and it turned out that these criminals were doing it with nearly every vehicle in their possession. “Some cars were recorded as having up to nine owners. The workshop had taken the car world for millions. The scale of the operation truly amazed me” Sadly the story got much worse for Malcolm.
His car had the motor taken and sold off. He had sorted out a 680hp, 5.4 supercharged motor from a 2012 GT500 that had cost him a further 20k, that was delivered but didn’t even see the engine bay of the ‘Stang. They also sold a lot of the parts from the car – the gearbox, other performance items and all of his signed Shelby items that were worth thousands. “At the time the FBI suggested I have the car stored at a workshop down the road till I worked out what I wanted to do. Unbelievably, the car disappeared from there and was missing for years. I couldn’t believe my luck”
The car was eventually found at Classic Recreations in 2010 and it had legal claims from other people all over the world, who had titles and Bills of Sales for it. “I spent a bucket load with a USA lawyer and proved that I actually owned it first and all other titles and Bills of Sale since then were voided. This took some time but I was not going to give up”
Malcolm eventually got the car but it had obviously seen much better days. After all the hiding from shop to shop, the car was damaged externally and missing plenty of items. Somehow, he decided to not throw in the towel but rather do his best to get the car finished off properly so it could be shipped to Perth. First of all, Malcolm had to sort out a new heart for the car. With the initial build costs blowing out, he had to ‘settle’ for a fully built 347-cube small block Ford motor wearing AFR 185cc CNC ported alloy heads. It was equipped with a Competition Engines custom hydraulic camshaft, a Scat 9000 Series crankshaft with Sealed Power pistons and an Edelbrock RPM Air Gap manifold with a Pro Systems 780cfm carby atop of it. Malcolm tells us the combo is good for 430-plus hp with 410-plus ft-lbs of torque. It is a mean sounding mother of a thing too. On the streets of Perth the car was turning heads left right and centre when it rumbled past.
Wanting to actually drive the car, Malcolm chose a Tremec TKO 600 5-speed overdrive transmission with a Ram dual clutch – no slush boxes here. A 9-inch rear end with a 3.25 Currie centre exists out the back. The suspension on the ‘Stang is as fresh as a daisy. A Total Control Products power rack & pinion along with Unique Performance coil overs sort the nose out with matching coil overs making an appearance at the other end along with a Watts linkage. Baer slotted and cross drilled disc brakes measuring 13-inches on the front and 12-inches on the rear make sure the ‘Stang pulls up in time when under the pump. “I had 17-inch Shelby wheels to start with but they were stolen so I changed to custom made, 18-inch Coys for a more aggressive look” Triangle tyres do their best to get the power to the ground.
Being an ‘Eleanor’ replica from the 2000 film remake, the car had to have all of the body kit which comprises of that massive 4” hood, the upper and lower nose with the amplified lighting system and a combination of factory Shelby stuff and other custom Eleanor bits. The billet flip open gas cap and the Shelby rear lights complete the ‘look’. The same story can be said for the cabin – Shelby seats, brushed aluminium dash pieces, white faced gauges and that now famous, shifter assembly. You may notice that the car is black with silver stripes, which is a reverse to the movie car – this is just a point of difference that drew Malcolm to the Mustang. It pays homage to the film car but is still somewhat unique in its own way.
Finally getting the car here and licensed Malcolm has been out enjoying it as much as he can – which means as much road time as possible for him and his young bloke Brooklyn who loves getting picked up from school in it. For the last fifteen years he has been an avid car collector having rides varying from Brock Commodores, Mazda Rotaries, through to old school Chevys and he is a massive Mopar fan. “I love all types of cars. I can appreciate both power and style and old and new. Sometimes I see a car and it just strikes a chord with me. I buy them, modify them to suit my taste and just drive them. I have always wanted to own a serious car or two and as I get older my tastes are changing and my desire for certain cars increases. I can’t tell you what I will end up within the next year but it will reflect who I am. Cars are a major part of my life, that will never change” You have to take your hat off to Malcolm, when the chips were down he didn’t give up, he didn’t cease the chase for the car nor the completion of the build. You have to agree, it was quite the story in the end.