I’ve been tracking Mike Akens Victress since he bought it in a remote location of Colorado back in 2014. Right from the start, Mike jumped on its restoration and hasn’t looked back. You can check out his first story in 2014 where he discussed his “find”, his plans, the beginning restoration and, of course photos.
As you read the first story, you’ll learn that Mike wasn’t really restoring his Victress. Instead, he was modernizing all aspects of its performance down to the frame. For example, his plans at the time called for:
- Custom frame based on the Factory Five Cobra design
- Independent rear suspension based on a Ford Thunderbird Supercoupe differential
- Ford racing 5.0 Coyote engine package with Tremec Cobra R 5-speed transmission
- Disc brakes
- Independent front suspension
- Rack and pinion steering
- And more
Earlier this year Mike contacted me again and shared the progress that he had made – in fact the Victress was nearly done. It really looked great earlier this year and you can check out Mike’s story below:
Recently I heard from Mike that his Victress was finished, and he sent in beautiful photos which I can share with you today. So let’s checkout his story and the photos Mike sent in and away we go 🙂
From The Desk of Mike Akens
September 14, 2020
I am pleased to report that after 7 long years my Victress S1A is now finished. I am attaching some pictures that I took Sunday morning when I got up early for the Hagerty Dawn Patrol event. The photos don’t due justice to the color which everyone who has seen it say is awesome. I got the car back from upholstery last Thursday and worked long hours Friday and Saturday to complete. Thanks for all your help and encouragement during my quest.
My Victress S1A has the following components:
- Custom built (by myself) backbone frame with main rails being 3″ by 4″ rectangular tubing
- The rear suspension includes a Ford Thunderbird Super Coupe IRS rear differential with rear swing arms and CV shafts from Factory Five for a pin drive Cobra Replica. This results in the correct track for the Victress body.
- The front suspension uses Factory Five spindles and tubular lower control arms and SPC race car style adjustable upper control arms.
The steering rack is also from Factory Five along with the steering wheel. Coil over shocks are used at all four corners. The Engine and five speed transmission are from Ford Performance with the 5.0 Coyote at near 440 horsepower. The exhaust include short tube headers and ceramic coated side pipes extended to reach the rear of the doors. Cooling is with an aluminum radiator and electric fan. The engine serpentine belt system simply spins the water pump and alternator. I installed a Vintage Air heater /defroster for the cool Colorado mornings.
Wipers are from a new MG style system. An old style radio with push buttons is in the dash. Gauges are from Speedhut in Salt Lake City and the tach and speedo have Victress logos. The roll bar was hand built by me and chrome plated by Odgen Chrome. The only body modifications are the “gills” in the front fenders installed by someone before me but they were nicely done so I left them on, and the gas filler I installed on top of the fender as well as the tail light mounts that I added.
The doors are supported by original Victress hinges which open up and out with a mild “lambo” style. The door handles are from an Opel GT which are the light and simple to install. The headlight buckets are hand made by me as well and the extended headlight rings are from an Opel GT. The headlights are the same size as a standard 7″ sealed beam but have LED park and turn lights incorporated which eliminated the need to add extra lights to the front.
The rear lights are 50 Pontiac style as used on many Victress build but are very bright LED units. The hood and hinges are original Victress units and believe or not the engine will come out through the hood opening. The hood is supported when open by gas struts which are not period correct but handy. The trunk is small with lots of room used up by the IRS framing and the 15 gallon aluminum fuel cell. Access panels are in the trunk floor for easy servicing of the fuel pump and filter.
The wiring is mostly hidden with a Ron Francis harness merged with the Ford control box for the fuel injection. Optima battery is in the trunk. The trunk hinges are from a Triumph TR hood. The engine has a Moroso road race style oil pan and pickup to allow it to be mounted low and the oil filter was relocated with double filter mount to add oil capacity and cooling. The windshield frame includes the three uprights I got from Geoff Hacker and the other parts were hand made by me.
The frame was powder coated before I added the aluminum interior panels which are riveted and bonded to the frame. Interior is simple with carpet in the cockpit and low back bucket seats from Procar. This is an entirely new car except for the 67 year old body and the rear diff housing which has all new internals with a 3:55 ratio. The real dedication to a 50’s build is the floor mounted dimmer switch!
This has been a real dream to build and it’s a gas to drive!
The finish on Mike’s Victress is superb and it really plays well with the body making the lines and style really stand out. Great job Mike and it’s been an honor watching you go thru the restoration these past several years. I bet you see some positive comments and more below. Let ’em know what you think gang 🙂
Hope you enjoyed the story, and remember…
The adventure continues here at Undiscovered Classics.