With a show-stopping paint finish, a 550-horsepower supercharged V-8 and enough high-tech gadgets to make James Bond scratch his head, the Maaco Medusa is a Mustang unlike any other. Maaco built the custom show car, which features a dazzling, color-shifting paint scheme, to demonstrate the capability of Maaco’s nationwide network of franchised bodywork and paint outlets.
Medusa was a female character from ancient Greek mythology - with snakes for hair - whose gaze could turn men to stone. And while it won’t turn anyone to stone, the Maaco Medusa certainly stops enthusiasts in their tracks. The show car was conceived by Tony Martino, Maaco’s founder and CEO.
"When people see the Maaco Medusa, they will immediately understand the skill and attention to detail that went into the bodywork and paint work - and it will change their thinking about the capability of Maaco’s services," said Martino.
The Maaco Medusa features a detailed and technically challenging paint finish that uses DuPont’s unique, color-shifting ChromaLusion paint. The appearance of the Pure Fire Prizm color - over an Orange Crush Effect base - changes dramatically when viewed from different angles and incorporating blue, green, yellow, orange and countless shades in between.
And while technically challenging for the painting team - the paint requires special preparation for optimal results - the project was carried out by Maaco technicians who handle the dents and scrapes of everyday cars.
"It isn’t the work Maaco shops perform every day, but the paintwork on the Maaco Medusa™ represents the capability and experience fostered at Maaco shops across North America," said Martino. "Maaco franchise stores are currently undergoing a certification process to help ensure that all stores deliver the same quality and expectations - and the Maaco Medusa™ illustrates that quality."
The Maaco Medusa™ began life as an ordinary 2006 Mustang GT. Maaco collaborated with Bolt-Onz Luxury and Performance Specialties, a custom vehicle design and fabrication shop in Abington, Pennsylvania, to build the show car. The Mustang was completely disassembled and transformed using a one-of-a-kind assortment of high-performance components, high-tech entertainment and safety equipment, and custom touches, including:
- Saleen S281 Extreme body kit, including front and rear fascias, front splitter, vented hood, side skirts and quarter-window panels
- Custom gull-wing doors with GT Factory hinge system
- Saleen supercharged 281 (4.6-liter) V-8 with 550 horsepower
- Six-speed manual transmission
- Saleen 20-inch chrome wheels and performance tires
- Fourteen-inch performance brakes
- Air-controlled height-adjustable suspension by Chassis Tech
- Dual onboard computers running Windows XP
- In-dash 10-inch touch screen display, incorporating navigation system display, high-speed wireless Internet access and suspension controls
- Fifteen-inch flat-screen monitor mounted in the trunk
- BlueTooth laser keyboards mounted on visors
- Yamaha audio control system with DVD player and digital surround sound system
- TrackNet vehicle security system with GPS tracking
- Interior panels color-matched to exterior paint scheme
- Headliner and rear deck with matching color-shifting appearance
- Saleen front seats
- Custom trunk enclosure containing the Yamaha head unit, computers and suspension air control
But it’s the Maaco Medusa™’s amazing paintwork that first grabs enthusiasts’ attention. After fitting all the Saleen Extreme body components and engineering the unique, forward-facing gull wing door handles, the car was sprayed with a medium-dark shade of DuPont’s color-shifting ChromaLusion paint - a paint that reveals different colors and shades when viewed from different angles. The base paint is complemented by a lighter ChromaLusion shade that comprises accent stripes along the sides of the car. The visual effect of the contrasting ChromaLusion shades is dramatic and provides tremendous visual depth to the vehicle’s appearance.
"It’s a challenging paint scheme, but Maaco technicians are certified in using the best materials, including single-stage, base coat/clear coat and top-of-the-line, multi-stage finishes," said Martino. "The technicians who painted the Maaco Medusa™ simply performed the task the same way the perform bodywork and painting for all of their customers’ vehicles."
Maaco spent nearly three months performing the numerous body panel, interior and "infotainment" upgrades on the Mustang. The GT Factory hinges, for example, were the first adapted to a Mustang and required careful fitting and massaging to allow the doors to open in their unique, forward-standing position. When fully opened, the doors stand more than six feet tall.
The stock 4.6-liter V-8 was exchanged for the Saleen-supercharged 550-horsepower engine, as was the stock five-speed transmission for the Saleen-supplied six-speed manual. The Mustang’s suspension also was modified with an air-controlled height-adjustable suspension, allowing the car to hunker down over its 20-inch chrome Saleen wheels for show displays, but raise to a height suitable for driving.
A detailed, computer-controlled infotainment is woven into the Maaco Medusa™. The networked system uses Windows XP and touch screen monitors located in the interior and trunk to control a variety of features, including high-speed internet, the audio system and a DVD player. There also is a navigation system. The interior’s 10-inch monitor extends outward from the dashboard, while laser-controlled keyboards are mounted on both of the interior visors. A large, 15-inch flat-screen monitor is mounted in the trunk for show displays.
"Along with the exquisite bodywork and paint, there’s a lot of great technology packed into the Maaco Medusa," said Martino. "Some of it is pure entertainment, but other features, like the high-speed wireless internet and navigation system, are really helpful."
The car also has an Arc TrackNet security system, which uses GPS technology to monitor the car’s position. The system enables a vehicle owner to monitor the car from a computer and allows law enforcement to track it if stolen.
Maaco is the largest production auto painter in North America. It has been in the business of renewing the appearance of vehicles for nearly 35 years. Each year, approximately 650,000 vehicles are serviced among Maaco’s nearly 500 franchised outlets - all told, about 16 million vehicles have been painted since Maaco’s first store opened in Wilmington, Del., in 1972. Fleet contracts and contracts with other body shops account for approximately 30 percent of the vehicles painted by Maaco.
One of the core Maaco services is Cosmollision- the combination of cosmetic and collision repairs of damaged, but drivable vehicles. Cosmollision offers a seamless, undetectable repair at a value-driven price to customers of later-model vehicles with minor body damage and who are inclined to pay for a repair out-of-pocket rather than make an insurance claim.