Mustang Savagery: Dead Horse Beaters’ Honda-Powered Pony, Hella Sweet Lemons Car of the Week

By: Eric Rood Photo Credits: Eric Rood, Rich Von Sneidern
July 24, 2019

Racers in the 24 Hours of Lemons enjoy trolling the loyalist factions of the car world. And prhaps no other car better represents this unapologetic savagery than the Dead Horse Beaters’ 1967 Ford Mustang. The cavernous engine bay gapes with the total absence of its original engine. However, a saunter to the car’s rear shows off magnificent automotive blasphemy: a 3.5-liter Honda V6 mounted transversely behind the driver.

Like many of our favorite builds, this Connecticut team’s build totally blindsided us when it debuted at New Hampshire Motor Speedway in 2017. We hardly expected this thing to roll up and when it did, we mostly just awed at its fantastic execution (and gave them the Organizer’s Choice). The Mustang began life as a six-cylinder car and ended that life derelict in a field. A cheap V6 Honda Accord donated its front subframe to make the team’s mid-engined Mustang dreams come true.

The Accord engine got pitched in favor of the punchier Honda Odyssey 3.5-liter V6, much like that found perched on the back of Sinical Racing’s Volkswagen Beetle. One six-cylinder out, one six-cylinder in. Easy-peasy, right? Combined with a terrific Castrol parody livery, the Mustang made the picture of a fantastic trolling job. Without knowing anything else about it, the Mustang bristles with purpose—as much as any Lemons car can, anyway—just sitting still. However, the Honda V6’s burble causes the unaware to cock their heads sideways. “What is going on here?”

But Does It Work?

The initial race(s) found many teething problems, of course. Any garage build and re-engineering of this magnitude will have that. However, after just a handful of races, the team finished a respectable 39th place of 127 entries—and third in Class C—in June 2019 at New Jersey Motorsports Park. They’re coming along…slowly. That race found them with the 85th quickest lap of the weekend, so the bristling 240-horsepower minivan engine hasn’t solved all of their problems yet.

The Dead Horse Beaters Mustang represents one of several ‘60s Mustangs to get the Lemons treatment. Knoxvegas Lowballers reskinned their Ford Contour with body panels from a hopelessly rusted ‘68 Mustang. The Mild Horses cut their ‘68 Mustang’s to fit a Mercedes-Benz OM617 diesel engine. If you’re worried about “RUINING CLASSICS,” remember that Ford built about 2.3 million Mustangs in the ‘60s.

We love that the Dead Horse Beaters have documented their car, their races, and their tow vehicle (a former corrections bus) well, too. Check out their Facebook page and YouTube Channel for more on this magnificently malevolent Mustang.

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