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Special Agent: A Mustang That Quickly Changes Missions

story by kevin adolf • photos by kevin adolf unless otherwise credited

Let’s say you’re given the option of driving one of two iconic, classic Mustangs: either Steve McQueen’s ’68 Fastback from “Bullitt” or Parnelli Jones’s Trans-Am Boss 302.

Which would you choose?

Pretty tough decision, right? It’s like asking if you’d rather be the coolest person rolling down the street, getting thumbs-up at every stop light, or the person strapped into a cage while enjoying all the sounds and smells of the race track. The obvious answer is “both.”

The guys at Agent 47 have somehow found a way to give people just that. The company’s Harbinger model combines the cool factor of a daily-driver vintage Mustang with the ability to roll up to your favorite track and compete in wheel-to-wheel racing in just a matter of minutes. Yes, this perfectly street-legal, road-going Mustang can be transformed into a fully track-prepped, race-legal competition car in just about an hour.

It can cruise around the block to your favorite coffee joint or dive down the corkscrew at Mazda Raceway Laguna Seca.

The Harbinger starts with a 1969 1970 fastback shell–either original or a replacement through Dynacorn–and adds a modern 5.0-liter Ford Coyote V8, the same basic plant found in the latest Mustangs. Then there’s a very well-sorted, race-proven suspension consisting of a short-long arm front suspension, rear V-link, race-quality JRi shocks, big brakes and custom lightweight wheels.

But this one goes beyond the typical pro touring or vintage track car build: Corey Weber, owner of Agent 47 and the force behind the Harbinger, set out to build a car that can transform from street-legal to race-legal in a matter of minutes with minimal tools. Anyone can build a race car, throw license plates on it, and pretend it’s a street car, but it takes ingenuity to create a car that can fully metamorphose from one extreme to the other.

When we caught up with the car during the Optima Ultimate Street Car Challenge at Spring Mountain Motorsport Ranch, the Harbinger was in full street trim. A few weeks earlier, it had battled for the NASA American Iron championship at Miller Motorsport Park, going wheel to wheel with some of the best drivers in the nation and the most dedicated race cars in the series.

This true dual-purpose car requires just eight changes to go from street duty to race trim. This short checklist creates a very mean ’69 Mustang.

Front Bumper and Splitter

The street front bumper gets replaced with a lightweight race bumper built using a hand-crafted mold. This fiberglass mold incorporates the shop’s own brake cooling scoops, which were 3D-printed to mate up to Agent 47’s pre-made SN95 brake cooling kit.

The splitter, which is NASA American Iron-legal in length, is made of super-strong and lightweight Tegris, a plastic composite material. Custom-molded bases and adjustable stanchion rods keep the splitter level and attached, while the entire bumper and splitter unit attaches quickly thanks to a breakaway design. The swap requires just six bolts and 15 minutes to complete.

Rear Wing

The rear wing is made by G-Stream, the same company that supplies wings for the factory’s Ford Boss 302S. In this case, it’s mounted to custom stanchions made by Agent 47. Wing installation also requires the taillight buckets to be replaced with ones that are slotted to accept the stanchions. The stanchions mount to the chassis via supports inside the trunk. This process takes only 7 minutes.

Seats

In street trim, the Harbinger features drilled, retro buckets that are surprisingly comfortable and very supportive. For race duty, Agent 47 swaps in an ISP race seat, although the same Schroth harness is retained. The passenger seat and harnesses are removed entirely for racing. Time for the seat swap: 10 minutes.

Carpet

Once the seats are out, unfastening four bolts allows for the removal of the entire carpet kit as well as the center console. Once the carpet has been removed, the center console gets reinstalled. This is the same console that has a perfect spot for your smartphone of choice–but note that Agent 47 is against texting while driving. Deleting the carpet takes 3 minutes.

Door Bars

This is one of those details that makes a world of difference. Sure, people sometimes climb past door bars in their so-called “street” cars, but rarely is it comfortable. The Harbinger faces wheel-to-wheel competition with standard ladder-style door bars that bolt into the structural landing points in the A- and B-pillar hoops, tying the chassis together. For street use, those door bars are removed and replaced with 3D-printed block-off covers, leaving the cage with a clean and finished look. This extremely vital part of the conversion takes just 5 minutes per side.

Down Bar

The race-prepped Harbinger also gets a down bar that runs from the center of the rear X to a connecting tube found at the bottom of the passenger-side kick panel. Not only does this provide additional rigidity, but it also adds to the vintage Trans-Am appeal. Adding this bar takes 5 minutes.

Cool Suit

The Agent 47 team does most of their testing and racing in the middle of the California desert. For those American Iron battles, a cool suit cooling system pumps chilled water through the driver’s suit, keeping him comfortable and focused. Adding the driver cooling clocks in at 5 minutes.

Wheels and Tires

The final piece of the conversion involves swapping on a set of American Iron-spec Toyo Proxes RR race tires already fitted on a set of spare wheels. While it is theoretically possible to drive to the track on these DOT-approved competition tires, commuting on something a bit less extreme is more realistic. Swapping wheels and tires equals another few minutes.

Add up all of the times and you’ll find that transforming the Agent 47 Harbinger from street to track trim takes exactly one hour. It’s a unicorn of a vehicle that can drive to work and then visit the winner’s circle.

How Fast Is It?

The Agent 47 Harbinger is more than a pretty face–or a novel quick-change artist. During last year’s NASA Championships, it posted solid lap times and finished fourth in its American Iron class. At the Optima Street Car Invitational, it finished 11th out of 54 entrants.

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