Widebody builds take your Mustang low and wide, giving it the look of a beast mid-pounce. It’s the kind of aggressive performance look that a lot of enthusiasts are drawn to. Widebody body kits have become increasingly popular, but a lot of new Mustang enthusiasts are left wondering what exactly defines a widebody. There are the famous widebodies of course, from the Hoonicorn to the 2017 Shelby widebody. Then of course there are the SEMA builds, many of which are also defined as widebodies.
The widebody style is, not surprisingly, inspired by track cars. On a track car, the widebody allows for a widened wheelbase. Essentially, you get more rubber under your car without upsetting the aerodynamics of the Mustang’s body design. It’s also a lot harder to roll in a widebody. Most widebody Mustangs will never see a track, but the aesthetic still draws a lot of enthusiasts interested in customizing the look of their vehicle. For many, it’s about the kind of aesthetic shift a widebody creates, changing a car from nose to tailpipe.
Even though we refer to widebodies as one style, they’re actually customizable. This makes it hard to define a widebody through anything other than "get low, get wide." There are several ways to start building your widebody.
One of the easiest ways to get low and get wide as you start your widebody build is to add wheel spacers. Wheel spacers create additional space between your wheel and your wheel’s hub. A greater distance between your car’s tires quite literally makes it wider. Wheel spacers increase traction during cornering and can allow you to add larger wheels. You can also add larger brake kits, which are a great safety upgrade especially if you plan to take your widebody Mustang onto a track.
There are a lot of options you’ll find with wheel spacers, but we recommend a hub-centric spacer. The other option is a lug-centric spacer and while those are easier to shop for since they can be universal, there are pretty significant downsides.
Most of the downsides that people associate with wheel spacers are actually the fault of lug-centric spacers. Lug-centric spacers allow impact to be transferred to the lug studs which can bend. This will cause vibrations that will disrupt your smooth ride and even worse, may damage the wheel’s center bore. Hub-centric spacers, by contrast, create a better system of support and stability. You’ll still need to make sure to tighten everything down of course, and anytime you’re significantly changing the stance of your wheels you should get your alignment checked before taking off down the road.
Lowering your Mustang will definitely help to give it that widebody look. Lowering your car’s center of gravity can also help to improve your handling and cornering. You’ll want to strike a balance between these benefits and the loss of comfort. Lowering the car means lowering your rear end towards asphalt that’s moving at an incredibly fast speed and isn’t always pothole-free. There’s going to be some increased vibrations.
Though there are a lot of ways to lower your Mustang, lowering springs remain the most cost-effective option. They’re available in a variety of different sizes and stiffness levels and there are a lot of different ways to lower your suspension. For the budget-conscious, lowering springs remain the most cost-effective option. Not only are the springs themselves inexpensive, but they’re also going to be fully compatible with the stock options on your Mustang, so you won’t have to replace other parts of the suspension in order to install them.
Though there’s nothing wrong with lowering springs, widebody mustangs are about building a dream vehicle for most people, either upgrading the suspension with a coilover or an air ride system. Coilovers are thinner than lowering springs, allowing you to upgrade to wider wheels as well (hey, this is all about getting low and getting wide, right?) and you can customize the damper, rebound settings, and ride heights with a coilover system. It’s common for people who had lowering springs to go to a coilover, but rarely ever the reverse. They are more expensive, but if you think the customization is something it may be worth the investment.
Air ride systems are even more customizable, with some systems giving you a remote that allows you to pre-program in your desired heights. Then the air bags inflate or deflate as needed to create either the stiffness or the softness that you would like. This also can allow you to get low for shows and track events and then ride at a more normal height so that you aren’t thwarted by speed bumps or potholes.
You can buy prepackaged body kits or design your own. Body kit materials are all different, and you can find widebody components in any material you like, including carbon fiber and fiberglass. As far as which parts you need, well. The choice is yours. The predominant aspects of a widebody are their widened stance and their focus on performance aerodynamics, but there are a lot of ways to get that aesthetic and you can do it all at once or in bits and pieces.
Rear spoilers and chin spoilers are the first things most people think of for easy performance modifications, and that’s a great place to start. But splitters, sometimes referred to as lip kits, and rear diffusers can also help with your aerodynamics while looking great.
With lowered and widened stance, it’s likely you’ll want fender flares. Fender flares come in several styles and are one of the ways to majorly change the overall look and shape of your Mustang into that widebody style. Fender flares can be a challenge to correctly install, but when they are they do add to the sleek look of a widebody.
Side splitters are a little more subtle, but they really do add a sense of completeness and add to the finished look of a build. Sometimes called side skirts, these splitters skirt around the edge of your vehicle. Properly coordinated with your chin spoiler and rear diffuser, side skirts create a very clean and streamlined all-around look. Good side splitters also make the widened tires look a little less abandoned on the side of a vehicle.
There are almost endless options for body customization, and when you finish the exterior making the interior match can really turn your car into the car of your dreams. In the end, like most customizations, widebody mustangs are really about customization and creating a look that feels right for you. We can’t promise that you’ll go any faster or feel the difference in grip, but it does look impressively cool.