Classic 1965-70 Mustang underpinnings were carryovers from the compact Falcon from which the Mustang’s platform was derived. The Mustang’s suspension system was rather crude even by 1960s standards because development was all about budget and conceiving an affordable compact automobile with a comfortable ride.
Ford surely hit its target market with the Mustang’s introduction—which was a grand slam. It planned 100,000 units and wound up selling 600,000 in its first model year.
Yet when the Mustang was introduced, journalists of the period criticized the car for its lack of performance options like the 289 High Performance V8 and a competition suspension.
Ford, concerned over the Mustang’s performance image, consulted with veteran Le Mans winner and racecar builder, Carroll Shelby, who took a couple of Mustang hardtops and went to Willow Springs Raceway to work on suspension modifications. One of those modifications was a set of underride traction bars (dubbed “Traction Masters” by Shelby), which kept the rear axle stable when power was applied.
If you’re going to install traction bars on a classic 1965-70 Mustang, the Traction Masters are the best bars to install. They are practically invisible and engineered by Shelby American to keep rubber planted without wheel hop and instability. Thanks to the availability of accurate reproductions from Scott Drake, we’re going to show you how to install these bars.
We reached out to Marlon Mitchell of Marlo’s Frame & Alignment in Van Nuys, California, who has performed thousands of suspension modifications on classic Mustangs.
Jim Smart is a veteran automotive journalist, technical editor, and historian with hundreds of how-to and feature articles to his credit. Jim's also an enthusiast, and has owned and restored many classic vehicles, including an impressive mix of vintage Ford Mustangs.