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Old 03-23-2005, 07:49   #1 (permalink)
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Mustang Stampede! Horses for courses: From V-6 Convertible to the GT-R Concept.

Mustang Stampede!
Horses for courses: From V-6 Convertible to the GT-R Concept.

Road&Track
By Douglas Kott • Photos by Marc Urbano



The Mustangs:
Mustang V-6 Convertible
Mustang GT V-8
Steeda Silver Q
Saleen S281 3-Valve
GT-R Concept

Fuel pump toggle? Check. Twin elec-tric fans? Yessir. Then flip up the red plastic cover and arm the "power/kill" toggle before punching the start button. The GT-R Concept's 5.0-liter 440-bhp Cammer engine then rips a jagged, smoking hole in the silence, blurring vision with its tingly vibration, and thumping the pant legs of anyone standing within range of its double-barreled sidepipes. Push in a clutch that feels as stiff as the dead pedal, and shove the shift lever into 1st gear's rigidly defined gate. "Giddyup!" to borrow one of Associate Editor Mike Monticello's favorite expressions; we're about to have some industrial-strength fun.
More later on the fabulous GT-R, this killer tangerine that stupefied SEMA show-goers and demonstrates how a full-race Mustang might look, sound and perform. But this story has more breadth than that. It's a celebration of the 2005 Mustang in all forms, beginning with the V-6 Convertible, progressing to the GT 5-speed, then to the subtle-yet-effective mods of the Steeda Silver Q and more visually brazen treatment of the Saleen S281 3-Valve. We've put them all through our basic instrumented tests, and driven them on a tight handling course at San Bernardino's EVOC sheriff training facility that incorporates a banked sweeper and two chicanes linked by a short chute...think "Gilles Villeneuve Montreal circuit" in miniature.

We came away with enormous respect for how good the new Mustang is, in both off-the-showroom forms and as a blank canvas for the aftermarket. For example, with significant gains in torsional and bending rigidity, much less chassis bracing is necessary to cope with additional power. Far better rear-axle location (two lower trailing links, a third upper link attached to the axle housing's center section, and a Panhard rod for lateral location) helps in both cornering and straight-line application of that power. A lower seating position that puts the driver in a much-improved relationship with the pedals and steering wheel just couldn't be accomplished with the old car's Fox/SN95 platform, and the light-effort, short-throw shifter is now a joy rather than a hindrance.

We'd be remiss if we didn't mention the 2005 car's styling, influenced heavily by the 1964-1968 Mustang fastback body style, made famous by the oft-airborne Steve McQueen in the detective thriller Bullitt and more recently, in Shelby form as the G.T.500 "Eleanor," driven by Nicolas Cage in a remake of that car-theft classic, Gone in 60 Seconds. To that end, we've tested and driven Eleanor (or at least a very close relative) to bring the story full circle. So enjoy. I know we did.


Mustang V-6 Convertible



Usually, a heavy dose of body roll earns a demerit, but it's actually kinda fun in the V-6 Convertible. Metallic green paint with white lettering adds the perfect retro touch, as do Halibrand-look wheels with decorative knock-offs. The new 4.0-liter sohc V-6 makes 210 bhp — that's 5 more than the Mustang GT 5.0 of the late 1980s — and, when paired with the 5-speed automatic of our "numbers" coupe, turned in a sub-7-sec. 0-60.






The newest variant of the Mustang line (on sale as you read this) has a neatly executed power top with a glass rear window and a choice of two engines: the 4.6-liter sohc V-8 in GT guise and our photo car with a 4.0-liter 210-bhp V-6 paired with the Tremec 3650 5-speed manual. Since we've re-tested the GT Coupe with the V-8 for this story, we were curious to see how the new sohc 2-valve-per-cylinder V-6 performed (which replaces the torquey but asthmatic 193-bhp pushrod 3.8).
"The six actually surprised me," said Associate Art Director Bert Swift. "It revs pretty well, with a decent exhaust note...one could almost mistake it for a smaller version of the V-8." Indeed, its low-pitched rumble is a convincing imposter until revs exceed 4000, after which it continues to pull impressively though sounding a bit strained. Due to scheduling conflicts, we performed our instrumented testing on a V-6 coupe with the 5-speed automatic, which posted some very respectable numbers: 0-60 in 6.8 seconds, spinning one rear tire all the way through 1st gear, and the quarter mile in 15.1. Said Associate Editor Mike Monticello, "You're no longer a sissy because you didn't order the V-8." Yes, he actually did say "sissy."

The surprise factor also surfaced on our EVOC road course, where the V-6 car proved enjoyably tossable, especially when using the car's roll softness to compress and release the rear springs through the tighter transitions, flicking the tail from side to side. Steering is on the light side, and the all-season 215-section tires squeal like the front row at a Britney Spears concert. The nose dives like Jacques Cousteau under heavy braking too, but we don't begrudge the car these dynamic foibles as it delivers a truly comfortable ride with reasonable precision at top-down touring speeds. Perhaps a Sport suspension option, with the slightly firmer springs and shocks of the GT Convertible, would be $300 or so well spent? The option doesn't exist, but Ford is taking it into consideration.

Despite a quite-affordable base sticker price of $24,695, the V-6 Convertible doesn't scream "Cheap!" from the mountaintop. Our photo car's 16-in. wheels (stand-ard on the Premium Package, optional on the base car) are decent Halibrand imitations, and the tires fill out the wheel wells so much better than past V-6 Mustangs, which had a bit of the watermelon-on-a-skateboard look. "I, for one, like the retro green color with white Mustang lettering," said Monticello. And he was not alone.


Mustang GT V-8


The V-8 GT is duly impressive right out of the box, with 300 hearty horsepower from its 3-valve-per-cylinder 4.6-liter V-8 that, fortunately, performs much better than the somewhat ratty underhood appearance might suggest. And there's torque o'plenty for power oversteer (below) when the mood strikes.







Now we're talking. Of course, we've already done a full road test of the GT in the December 2004 issue, but it just seemed right to have another example here to flesh out the field. And this car has the arguably better-looking 17-in. wheels, renditions of the iconic Cragar 5-spokers that mesh perfectly with styling that harks back to a time when love was free and gasoline was cheap.

Pop the Mustang's aluminum hood and it's not an especially pretty picture...a naked black-plastic bundle of intake runners, ugly wiring and cam covers more about function than aesthetics. But those covers are lightweight magnesium, and the V-8's block is steel-sleeved aluminum that weighs about 75 lb. less than its cast-iron counterpart. The 4.6-liter, 3-valve-per-cylinder engine makes a nice, even 300 bhp at 5750 rpm, with torque peaking at 320 lb.-ft. at 4500.

Any thoughts of underhood clutter disappear with a blast down the drag strip, where the 4.6's full wrath can be unleashed, with the signature V-8 sound gurgling out the 2.5-in. dual exhaust. With clean wheelspin invoking not the slightest bit of axle tramp, the GT reaches 60 in just 4.9 sec. — with a healthy chirp on the 1-2 shift — and charges through the quarter mile in 13.5, both times an eye-popping 0.4 sec. quicker than our original road test car's. Chalk it up to more break-in miles or slightly cooler test temperatures, but these are extraordinary times for a $26,000 car. And now the trip through the Tremec 3650's five ratios is a revelation. "The shifter is located within easy reach, not like the old Mustang where I have to stretch for it," said Road Test Editor Patrick Hong. "Light-years ahead of the old car," said Bert.

Praise was also forthcoming on the handling loop, where we found moderate body roll, manageable push and a tail that could be wrestled into oversteer with aggressive throttle input yet stayed obediently in place otherwise. Weaknesses are few: a brake pedal that sinks too far on hard application and the chassis' slight indecision on turn-in, which happily transitions to solid composure in steady-state cornering. The much-improved rear suspension really pays dividends here, proving that you can teach an old axle new tricks.

"This is a really solid car," said Patrick, "ripe for upgrades from the factory or tuners to kick it up a few notches." Let me add that it's pretty remarkable in stock form. But darn if Patrick's quote doesn't work as an excellent segue to the next two cars.
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My first car was a 67 Mustang Coupe, 2nd one was a 67 Cougar XR-7, 3rd one was a 66 Mustang Coupe. Why did I get rid of these cars for ? I know why, because I'm stupid, stupid, stupid.

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Old 03-23-2005, 07:54   #2 (permalink)
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Re: Mustang Stampede! Horses for courses: From V-6 Convertible to the GT-R Concept.

Steeda Silver Q


Florida-based Steeda Autosports, which has been making Mustang performance parts since 1988, is now offering complete packages. We're impressed with the Silver Q, whose modifications are both price-conscious and effective. The stock brakes with Hawk pads do look lonely behind the 18-in. 5-spoke wheels; intake kit makes for great sounds; Tri-Ax shifter too notchy for some.







If you're a member of the "less is more" club when it comes to modified V-8 Mustangs, then the Steeda Silver Q may be your cup of 104-plus Octane Boost. Unlike the Saleen S281, the Q package doesn't radically alter the looks of the Mustang GT. There's a smallish lip spoiler, what Steeda terms its "street wing" on the rear deck, a black-painted hood and taillight panel and a set of 18 x 9 Steeda Ultralite 1 wheels mounting Nitto Extreme ZR NT-555 tires, size 285/40ZR-18.

The exterior modifications are backed up with carefully selected mechanical upgrades. Steeda's conical air filter kit, a set of black-anodized underdrive pulleys, a reflashed engine-management computer and a duo of low-restriction mufflers help bump output to 335 bhp. Firmer lowering springs, fatter anti-roll bars and a tubular front strut brace shore up the suspension, Steeda's Tri-Ax linkage shortens the shift throws, while the final touch to what's known as the Q335 package is a set of Hawk performance pads fitted to the stock GT brakes.

Our test Q had some additional-cost suspension and performance bits hand-picked from Steeda's catalog, including a kit that relocates the front control arms' location points downward for improved geometry, and steering arm spacers that reduce bump-steer effects. The rear suspension was treated to a pair of Steeda's billet-machined aluminum lower control arms and an adjustable Panhard rod. Urethane motor mounts replace the stocker's squishier fluid-filled pieces, and the 3.55:1 final drive is swapped for shorter 3.73:1 gears. Last, a pair of JBA headers were fitted — the short-tube, smog-legal kind crafted of stainless steel that helped to bump our test car's output to 367 bhp and 366 lb.-ft. of torque.

So how does it all work? "Far crisper than stock; much more confidence-inspiring," offered Mike after a 5-lap stint. "You can enter corners faster because of its better brake pads and the cinched-down suspension tuning." Indeed, the changes reduce body roll and understeer, sharpen turn-in and tweak the handling balance to allow for precise throttle-induced rotation (lift or mash, take your pick). Reaction was mixed on the Tri-Ax short shifter, which some found ultra-positive and others found just plain stiff and notchy. Its lever's billet-machined knob is the only real change to a stock Mustang's interior.

At the track, the Silver Q's lightning-fast throttle response and deeper, more powerful-sounding exhaust note translated to solid performance at the drag strip...at 4.9 sec. to 60 mph it's a match for our unusually quick stock GT, more than holding its own through the quarter-mile with the same E.T. of 13.5 sec. yet 4.5 mph faster through the lights (106.9 mph, versus 102.4). Its skidpad number was a capillary-bursting 0.93g, and the improved pads and stickier tires shaved a full 14 ft. from the 80-mph stopping distance.

Does this sound enticing? Well, a Q335 can be yours for $10,595, including labor but not the Mustang GT. Which is to say, a shrink-wrapped pallet of Q parts is drop-shipped to a Steeda distributor or Steeda-authorized Ford dealer, who installs the parts on your recently purchased stocker. And our test-car modifications could be duplicated for about $13,500. That money seems pretty reasonable for a beautifully balanced, slightly more aggressive-looking Mustang that allows you to fly (and we do mean fly) under the radar.


Saleen S281 3-Valve


Saleen's S281 3-Valve is the complete turn-key package, with dramatic bodywork, reworked suspension, flashy 20-in. chromed wheels and a host of interior changes that include Saleen-specific instrumentation and leather-upholstered seats with far more aggressive bolstering...needed for the 0.92g that the suspension serves up. Center-outlet exhaust is augmented by short dump pipes that open via actuators when the throttle is pinned.





Signed, sealed, delivered. That's one of the attractions of buying a car from the likes of Saleen, whose people recoil from the word "tuner" like Dracula exposed to bright sunlight. That's because Saleen has manufacturer status, and every Musta...er, Saleen that rolls off its Irvine, California, assembly line conforms to EPA and CARB emissions standards, has crash-test certification from NHTSA and is covered fully by the Ford factory warranty, no questions asked.
Saleen's entry-level offering is the S281 3-Valve, a $39,043 car that's more about a distinct look and improved handling than huge power gains. The bodywork transforms, rather than accessorizes the Mustang shape, with a tail cap and rear spoiler treatment that successfully allude to Saleen's S7 supercar. Straked blackout grilles between the taillights and on the rear quarter windows enhance the effect, and in front, the GT's in-grille driving lights are eliminated, all the better to increase the cooling flow to the radiator. Instead, circular park/turn lights are set in the nose just inboard of the headlights, and a deep chin spoiler replete with the signature Saleen gills finishes off the look. The enormous 20-in. 7-spoke chromed alloy wheels? Can't ignore 'em.

The interior showcases Saleen's close ties with Ford and its suppliers. The instrument cluster, for instance, comes straight from Delphi with Saleen graphics and a speedometer scale that extends to 200 mph (a mite optimistic here). Front seats utilize the same frames and bases, but are thoroughly redone to Saleen specs with uniquely stitched leather upholstery, Saleen embroidery and far more aggressive bolstering. Other small touches make for a factory look — aluminum pedal covers and a well-positioned dead pedal, laser-etched aluminum doorsill appliques, black-finish slats on the interior vents and a Saleen logo on the steering wheel. "I'm impressed by the overall finished feel," said Patrick. "Everything is so nicely integrated."

On the mechanical side, the suspension gets a complete makeover, with stiffer, linear-rate springs, thicker anti-roll bars (the 1.4-in. front bar pivoting on urethane bushings) and specially tuned Saleen Racecraft shocks. Powertrain modifications consist of a high-flow air filter element, a set of underdrive pulleys to reduce parasitic losses, a short-shift kit and a unique cat-back exhaust system, with a twist. At low engine load, exhaust exits through the center-mounted oval tips. As more throttle is used, intake manifold vacuum progressively opens up two muffler valves via actuators, thus opening two additional downpipes and giving the S281 a more pronounced bark.

The result is a slight bump in the 4.6-liter V-8's output, to 325 bhp at 5200 rpm. Yet acceleration times proved a tenth or two slower than our supernaturally quick stock GT — 5.2 sec. to 60, and a quarter-mile pass of 13.7 at 103.8 mph. Perhaps the increased rotational inertia of those big wheels and 275-section tires played a part.

But the handling, throttle response and sound — a guttural and slightly brassy note — are all improved. "The engine feels snappier, more free to rev," said Bert. "And transitions that could be a lot of work in the stock GT were no-brainers in the Saleen." Turn-in was especially quick and satisfying, grip was a centrifuge-worthy 0.92g, and balance was such that you could beautifully throttle-steer the S281 through the length of our track's sweeper. Fitted with optional ($2055) Brembo-sourced 14-in. front calipers and cross-drilled discs, the S281's pedal feel and fade resistance were significant improvements over stock too.

If you crave huge amounts of additional power along with Saleen's other alterations, that's entirely possible. Though not quite ready for press evaluation, Saleen's 400-bhp S281 Supercharged is claimed to go toe-to-toe with a C6 Corvette, and the S281 Extreme should be in the 500-bhp range. With that sort of V-8 urge, the better-located rear axle should prove useful.
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My first car was a 67 Mustang Coupe, 2nd one was a 67 Cougar XR-7, 3rd one was a 66 Mustang Coupe. Why did I get rid of these cars for ? I know why, because I'm stupid, stupid, stupid.

My next Ford.....
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Old 03-23-2005, 08:03   #3 (permalink)
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Re: Mustang Stampede! Horses for courses: From V-6 Convertible to the GT-R Concept.

GT-R Concept


The GT-R's 5.0-liter Cammer motor makes 440 bhp, fed by twin throttle bodies. Inside, rollcage is ample, and information is presented formula car-style on reconfigurable steering-wheel display.







Pow! This Mustang lands like a pool cue between the eyes in a bar-room brawl, assaulting you with its outrageousness — and orangeness. Actually, the orange-and-black livery is an ode to Bud Moore's Boss 302 Mustang that was driven to glory in Trans-Am racing by Parnelli Jones. It's a show car first — said to be the ultimate expression of the new Mustang platform — and a track-tested trial balloon for Ford Racing's first turn-key competition car for the Grand-Am Cup's Grand Sport class. More on this later.
The GT-R, built under contract by Saleen Special Vehicles in Troy, Michigan, took about six months to complete, first taking form as a full-size clay from which molds were pulled to make its fiberglass body panels. At its heart is Ford's 5.0-liter Cammer engine, which is available separately from the Ford Racing Performance Parts catalog as a $14,995 crate motor, complete with wiring harness and engine-management computer. The 440-bhp engine's architecture is based on the 4.6-liter 4-valve V-8, but special flanged cylinder liners increase bore size to 94.0 mm (up from 90.2) to arrive at the magic 5.0 number. Power is fed through a Ford Racing-supplied TTC T-56 6-speed transmission to a live axle with a 4.56:1 final drive.

Suspension is similar in concept to the stock Mustang, but far different in execution. The rear axle's links eschew rubber bushings for solid Heim joints, and the front chrome-moly tubular subframe serves as an attachment point for welded-up control arms. Shocks are fancy remote-reservoir units, and there are serious Brembo brakes at each corner, the 6-pot front calipers clamping 14.3-in. rotors, the 4-pot rears acting on 13.0-in. discs.

Both the GT-R Concept and Grand-Am-spec projects "were joined at the hip," says Primo Goffi, program manager of the Ford Racing Mustang GT. "There are a lot of similarities in the structure, and the fact that the 5.0-liter Cammer V-8 powers both cars, although the one that will be in the production car is an evolution of the one currently offered in the catalog." By the time you read this, two factory-backed cars and three privately owned cars should have made their competition debut, racing in the Grand-Am Cup at Daytona.

But back to the GT-R...it's time to drive. Cinch the 5-point belts, settle into the carbon-fiber Sparco seats and fire the raucous Cammer motor. Ease onto the track and take a few exploratory turns to get some heat into the 285/35ZR-19 Pirelli P Zeros (the 20-in. "show" wheels shod with racing slicks are safely tucked away on the transporter). And let 'er rip.

As the engine quickly drowns out the rattle of the solid-jointed suspension, you find there's ample grip tempered by strong understeer tendencies. Although there's a provision for a rear anti-roll bar, none was fitted at this date, perhaps a safety measure from an earlier event held at Irwindale Speedway in California (steadfast push is a great insurance policy to prevent overzealous journalists from backing a one-off prototype into the wall). Brakes are hugely effective (best when hot) with the adjustable bias set to enjoyably pitch the tail out under trail braking, but power doesn't quite correlate to the great sounds exploding from the sidepipes. "It seems to make more noise than it does speed," observed Mike, whose view was vindicated later as we performed our instrumented testing. Seems that...gasp...the stock GT was slightly quicker to both 60 mph and through the quarter, as the GT-R posted quick yet not blazing figures of 5.0 and 13.6 sec., respectively. It felt as though camshafts optimized for high-rpm power, and a high-rpm stumble (or overzealous rev limiter?) that didn't allow the engine to run cleanly conspired to hold this steed back.

The GT-R did make quick work of our slalom, posting a rapid 69.0-mph speed and respectable stops for a non-ABS equipped car. Not bad for a mechanical objet d'art that can simmer under the display-stand lights and make showgoers all slack-jawed one moment, and launch into full racetrack fury the next.

It's great to take in all the GT-R's beautifully crafted details; it'd be even better to be behind the wheel of a fully sorted Grand-Am Mustang, diving off the Daytona banking to the infield. Yet ultimately, the real winner may be the guy (or gal) wanting to increase the performance of his/her 2005 GT. Said Goffi: "We will be offering any and all key components making up the race car, for not only people who want to build their own version, but for those who want to use these parts on their street-driven Mustangs." Ford faithful, say amen to that.

SVT: Alive and Kicking
Photo's from Autoindex







The relaunch of the Mustang Cobra at the New York Auto Show is a coming-out party of sorts for Ford's Special Vehicle Team, which has had no product on the market since the end of the '04 model year.

That Ford no longer marketed the Mustang Cobra, SVT Focus or Lightning pickup, combined with the early retirement of SVT director and veteran O. John Coletti, led to rampant speculation outside the company that the plug would be pulled on the operation. Further fueling such rumors is the renewed relationship between Ford and Carroll Shelby. Could the Shelby name supplant the SVT moniker?

Not so, according to Coletti's successor, Hau Thai-Tang, the chief engineer of Team Mustang, who not only takes over SVT, but also the Advanced Product Creation group previously headed by Chris Theodore. APC is responsible for pre-program engineering on future models as well as putting together Ford's show cars.

"SVT is still alive and kicking," Thai-Tang said. "We need to do a better job of getting the message out." Which is hard to do when there are no cars on the street. But it's not as if SVT has been idle. It was charged with the monumental task of taking the Ford GT from concept to reality in two years so finished cars would be on hand for Ford's centennial celebration in June 2003.

The work on the GT, plus a gap in the cycle plan, left SVT without resources and cars geared toward the unit's traditional market. "Ford was going through a difficult period," Thai-Tang explained. "We needed to convince ourselves and the rest of the world that we know how to do great cars. That was the mission of the GT. Our challenge from our CEO [Bill Ford] was to do it and get it out on time for the centennial. We did that. I think we established credibility internally and externally. Now you will see our focus shift back to more affordable cars."

The re-emergence of SVT under Thai-Tang will be a performance division with more continuity in its offerings. This will be done by incorporating SVT cars and trucks into the product development cycle, a departure from past practice.

"The original business model was a small opportunistic team that took an existing car and added parts out of the Ford Racing parts catalog to make niche products that sell at a higher margin," Thai-Tang says. Last year, SVT looked at doing only rear-drive upscale vehicles. Thai-Tang said SVT will continue to look across the entire spectrum of Ford vehicles. There will be SVT versions if it is "consistent with the brand. We want to build on the performance, substance, an element of exclusivity and value."

And for the first time, SVT will also look at doing performance versions of Lincoln and Mercury models, although they won't be branded SVT in the marketplace. Also left to be settled will be Shelby's role in performance versions of existing models as well as niche cars like the GR-1 coupe.

"We're trying to consolidate all the performance engineering in SVT. In the past, vehicles like the Mercury Marauder or the Mustang Mach I were executed by the platform team, but they will now be tuned by SVT."

Thai-Tang notes: "The Mustang will be the first example where we thought about the potential performance derivatives as we were laying out the base car. This not only works from an engineering resources standpoint, but also in manufacturing.

"Over the past 11 years, we have built this brand up from scratch and have demonstrated that we can build great cars," Thai-Tang said. "We can make affordable cars that are aspirational and that's what we will continue to do." — Matt DeLorenzo
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My first car was a 67 Mustang Coupe, 2nd one was a 67 Cougar XR-7, 3rd one was a 66 Mustang Coupe. Why did I get rid of these cars for ? I know why, because I'm stupid, stupid, stupid.

My next Ford.....
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Old 03-23-2005, 08:06   #4 (permalink)
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Re: Mustang Stampede! Horses for courses: From V-6 Convertible to the GT-R Concept.

Shelby G.T.500E: Reliving the Legend



For many car enthusiasts who missed out on the 1960s and '70s muscle-car era, we can only imagine the powerful American iron emitting heart-pounding throaty growls, burning massive rubber and accelerating away in a cloud of white smoke. Helping to keep the fantasy alive in our minds are the television shows and movies that further the romantic idea of an original huge-displacement American muscle car thundering down the highway.

More recently, in the movie Gone in 60 Seconds (2000) starring Nicolas Cage, the sleek and powerful 1967 Ford Mustang fastback nicknamed "Eleanor" further stirred up our love affair with muscle cars. During an action-packed chase scene, Eleanor knifes through several busy city streets, streaks through a naval shipyard full of construction equipment and jumps over a half-dozen cars on top of a bridge. There are car crashes and explosions accompanied by the constant wail of a hard-charging Mustang pulling away from its pursuers.

Okay, it's the magic of Hollywood that makes Eleanor look like a superhero. But thanks to motorsport legend Carroll Shelby (who brought us the fabled Shelby Cobras), we can now get a taste of Eleanor in real life. Shelby teamed up with Texas-based car manufacturer Unique Performance to make over the 1967 Ford Mustang fastback. The result is a Shelby G.T.500E with the looks and the muscle of Eleanor that is sure to capture the hearts and souls of car enthusiasts.

Starting with an original 1967 or 1968 Ford Mustang fastback, the team at Unique Performance strips the car to its bare-bones chassis and then rebuilds it with contemporary manufacturing techniques and modern improvements. Power for the renewed Mustang comes from the Shelby-tuned 408-cu.-in. Ford Windsor V-8 fitted with fuel injection. The engine is capable of cranking out 475 bhp at 6000 rpm and 490 lb.-ft. of torque at 4500 rpm. The TKO-600 5-speed manual transmission is on duty to send all of the car's power to the rear via the Currie 31 Spline with Trac-Lock differential.

Grip is provided by front 245/40ZR-17 and rear 275/40ZR-17 tires. The steering is upgraded to rack and pinion, while the suspension is significantly revised and updated all around for better handling. Leading the way up front are independent upper and lower A-arms, coil-over springs and shocks. Bringing up the rear is a live axle with coil-over springs and shocks in a setup derived from proven vintage Mustang racing experience.

The Shelby G.T.500E's body is constructed of sheet metal and fiberglass and retains the classic lines of the 1967 Mustang fastback. A JBA side exhaust is installed to complete the aggressive look. On the inside, the 1960s' interior remains intact. The seats are vinyl and the dash is made of aluminum with Auto Meter gauges. And, of course, the 15-in. LaCarra wood-rim steering wheel adds to the original muscle-car feel. The Sony stereo with CD player is one modern amenity that is out of place but much welcomed.

Climb aboard the G.T.500E, fire up the engine and the throaty V-8 immediately lets its presence be known. Jab the throttle a few times and the thunderous growl brings a smile to your face and anyone who is standing by. Reach for 1st gear, drop the clutch and get hard on the throttle. The rear tires light up and the car catapults forward with all its might. Zero to 60 mph in 4.2 seconds. Quarter-mile lights are tripped in 12.5 sec. with the speedo sweeping past 114.0 mph. This Shelby is fast and loud. Some of the old-car feel such as the awkward shifter, the bulky steering feel and the stiff brake pedal are still there. But overall, the G.T.500E manages to race through our test track with composure...once you get used to its handling character, that is.

As one of our editors noted: "The Shelby sounds so damn good, goes so damn fast in a straight line and looks so damn hot that you soon forget about its old-car shortcomings." And I couldn't agree more. — Patrick Hong


Can You Build One For You?



Forget the whole "visions of sugarplums" thing; when R&T friend Carolyn Torbert goes to sleep on Christmas Eve, she's dreaming of the next go-fast part that'll help her modified 2001 Mustang GT shave a little more off its Willow Springs lap time (which is about 1:40 and dropping). Hmm...brake upgrade? Locking diff? Go a wee bit smaller on the supercharger pulley? Rumor has it that she keeps the Steeda catalog beneath her pillow.

Carolyn is one of the legions of Mustang owners who tap the extensive aftermarket to personalize their cars, and at least on the domestic side, the Mustang has and probably always will be the ideal blank canvas. According to Ford, the Mustang performance aftermarket has grown into an $800-plus million annual business, with the typical customer spending an average of $1500 a year on upgrades. As far as modifications go, the Mustang's basic front-engine/rear-drive layout, roomy engine bay and simple, rugged suspension just beg for you to jump in there and start twirling wrenches.

Since Ms. Torbert is from an autocross/time trial background (cutting her teeth at Porsche Club of America events in a 944), good handling was of paramount importance. Subframe connectors are de rigueur to stiffen any SN95-platform car, and Bilstein shocks and Eibach lowering springs were solid first steps. Then came camber plates for the front, currently set at 1 1/2 degrees negative. Carolyn's partial to Nitto NT-555R II Extreme tires (275/40-17), whose 100 treadwear number is perfect for a semi-daily driver that also sees track use, mounted on lightweight Enkei RPF1 wheels.

The stocker's 260 bhp wasn't nearly enough, so an ATI centrifugal supercharger and three-row intercooler were fitted, but not before shoring up the 4.6-liter V-8's internals with some choice forged bits to handle 10.0 psi of boost — Manley pistons and connecting rods, plus a Cobra crankshaft. Breathing was further enhanced through ported cylinder heads and an exhaust consisting of BBK long-tube headers and X-pipe, and a Magnaflow exhaust aft of the catalytic converters. All told, the modifications make 408 horsepower at the wheels as measured by the chassis dyno at GRC Performance, the Mission Viejo, California, shop that has installed most of the parts.

Like any self-respecting car nut, Carolyn has dutifully avoided adding up all the parts costs. "That would be way too scary," she says. Perhaps her car is payback for the years she spent with her first car, an '86 Mustang 4-cylinder. "Mom and Dad wouldn't let me get a GT because I was still on their insurance." When asked what's next for her Mustang, she stares pensively into middle distance and says, "An oil cooler...or maybe I'll yank the foglamps and put in brake cooling ducts." But shortly before press time, we found that she had placed an order for the ultimate upgrade — a showroom-fresh 2005 Mustang GT, Sonic Blue with the Premium Package. — DK
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Stacy94PGT
My first car was a 67 Mustang Coupe, 2nd one was a 67 Cougar XR-7, 3rd one was a 66 Mustang Coupe. Why did I get rid of these cars for ? I know why, because I'm stupid, stupid, stupid.

My next Ford.....
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