Growing up in Brighton, Massachusetts, in the late '60s, Mike Murray was drawn to the musclecar scene thanks to numerous vicious street machines tearing up his town's streets. Although these cars possessed demonic power, they lacked the graceful lines worn by another style of car Mike fell for: customs. For years his passion gravitated between the two, until eventually he realized the seemingly different styles could be combined-true horsepower and handling packaged in artistic custom style. As the years passed, he began gathering up a fleet of '50s and '60s Fords (eight so far) that he plans to rebuild into killer custom rods.
Mike always wanted a car from the year he was born-1957. He found the perfect candidate in someone else's abandoned '57 Ranchero project from California. Influenced by some of today's top builders, including Foose, Alloway, and Trepanier, Mike began gathering ideas and met with Ben Hermance of Hermance Design to map out the Ranchero's visual transformation into a menacing, aggressive machine loaded with tasteful custom touches.
Mike started the project on his own by installing the Fatman Fabrications frame stub and IFS before enlisting the well-known talents of Lenny Schaeffer at Chop-Shop Customs in Woburn, Massachusetts. With help from staff member Dave Slik, Lenny has dialed in the key elements of the Hermance rendering. This has included a lot of sheetmetal finessing both front and rear, with custom lights and bumpers on both ends, a new grille opening, plus shaved trim and driprails. Brad Studley of Studley's Custom Fabrication lent his chassis-building skills to get the frame squared away and set up for a ShockWaves-suspended triangulated four-bar rear suspension.
Not losing sight of his passion for horsepower, Mike decided on a 460ci Ford big-block topped with a wild TWM fuel injection system controlled by Accel DFI electronics. The big Ford mill will deliver its raw power through a T56 six-speed transmission linked to a Currie 9-inch rearend with an aluminum centersection.
If you think this is as bitchin' as we do, you're gonna love some of the other projects Mike has in the works. We'll be showing you more of 'em in the future, so stay tuned!