Smack-dab in the middle of a successful 2016 season which included a personal best of 8.09 and a win, Chad Neuenschwander impacted the wall while competing in NMCA Boninfante Racing NA 10.5 at Summit Motorsports Park in Ohio.
While he was able to walk away, the Mustang he has owned for more than 25 years was mangled.
Some suggested that Neuenschwander scrap it and settle for a replacement car, but he was set on rebuilding it.
“The car is very special to me because I’ve had it for so long, so I wanted to rebuild it rather than replace it,” said Neuenschwander.
The Indiana-based driver began by cutting everything off the front of the car at the firewall, with the exception of the factory frame rails, which he cut off after the K-member mounting locations. He then fabricated a tubular front end.
He also replaced his stock-style rear suspension with a PA Racing fabricated 9-inch, wishbone and ladderbar set-up, and Jay Nelson helped rebuild much of the car’s cage, while Scott Waters fabricated new fender-exit headers for it.
“It took a whole lot of fab work for the fender-exit headers, and we had to move the master cylinder into the car for that,” said Neuenschwander, who also opted to move the fuel cell and fuel pump to the front of the car.
Cory Roth freshened the car’s 400 cubic-inch engine, which is topped with Edelbrock Victor heads covered by fabricated aluminum Moroso valve covers, as the carbon fiber valve covers Neuenschwander had been using were melted in a fire that started when his car impacted the wall. He will continue to row the gears of his G-Force GF-2000 five-speed transmission.
“We had the engine on the dyno, and you can tell everyone it made 2,000 horsepower,” said Neuenschwander, with the most mischievous laugh he could muster.
Steve Rinard routed all of the wiring and installed a RacePak dash and MSD Power Grid, and Neuenschwander installed a Spaghetti Menders wiring harness and switch panels in the car, which now has a carbon interior by Advanced Chassis, carbon fiber one-piece nose and hood by Schoneck Composites, carbon fiber doors by Motor City Solutions, rear quarter panels from a donor car and a carbon wing by JSC Racing Fabrication. The car was painted burgundy by Nelson.
“I’ve got brake lights and everything now,” said Neuenschwander, whose wife and son, Joy and Dylan Neuenschwander, helped with the rebuild. “That almost makes it a street car, right?”
Neuenschwander will rejoin the rest of the high-revving racers in Boninfante Racing NA 10.5 at the 16th Annual NMCA Muscle Car Mayhem, March 8-11, 2018 at Bradenton Motorsports Park in Florida, and he plans to take part in the remaining events on this year’s NMCA tour, while his wife and son, Joy and Dylan Neuenschwander, compete on opposite weekends with the NMRA.
“My car will take time to sort out, but it will be worth the wait, and as a bonus, I think I’ll have even better and more consistent 60-foots,” said Neuenschwander. “That’s important, especially with a small-block and stick-shift combination.”
All of the action of NMCA’s highly-anticipated first race of the year will be captured on live feed offered by SpeedVideo.com via presenting sponsor ProCharger, along with E3 Spark Plugs, Comp Cams, Moser Engineering, Flying A Motorsports, Speedway Motors, Champion Cooling, and Late Model Engines.
(Photos courtesy of Chad Neuenschwander)