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1997 Ford Mustang GT - Flames of Flame
After 50 years of careful planning and waiting, Dennis Hall has finally constructed his ultimate dream car.
It doesn't take a rocket scientist to figure out that cool and exotic street cars usually cost a lot of money to build and own. Well, Dennis Hall of Cypress, Calif., knew this theory well. He has been a huge car nut his entire life and proof of this is in his past automotive inventory, which once consisted of a '66 Mustang fastback, a host of Porsches (including a '70 Porsche 912 and a '73 Porsche 911) and a 1958 Chevrolet Bel Air.
A list such as this should prove that Dennis is indeed in love with the automobile. But there was still something missing in the Hall household and Dennis was trying to figure out exactly what that was. After purchasing a brand new hunk of Detroit iron in June of 1997, the mystery was solved.
"Even though I had owned some impressive cars in the past, I have always had a craving for the new body style Ford Mustang," explained Dennis. "As soon as I had the chance, I ran out and purchased one for myself. Within a few weeks of owning my new Stang I was already modifying and racing it on a consistent basis.
Dennis soon performed the standard bolt-ons, but around 1998 he started to really get serious. Dennis' good friend, Eric Cheney of Ford Auto Care in Irvine, Calif., was asked if he could help transform his average-looking Stang into a real heart stopper. Eric was happy to take the car under his wing and the two of them got right to work on what would soon become a four-year project.
Instead of yanking out the stock mod motor and spending countless hours and money replacing the heads, cams, pistons and intake manifold, Dennis went the blower route and ordered up a nasty Vortech S-trim polished supercharger that bolts to the engine with the required polished brackets. "I have always loved the seat-of-the-pants feeling that you get when behind the wheel of a supercharged car," explained Dennis. "Besides, the blower gives me all the power I can handle--for now anyway."
Eric then went one step further by bolting up a gigantic Sean Hyland Motorsport/Spearco-designed air-to-air intercooler that is responsible for cooling the Vortech's 15-plus lbs. of boost. He then chucked the stock, wimpy radiator for a polished aluminum 2-core Fluidyne unit and then rounded out the engine hardware with a steel Canton oil pan that is now the storage place for six quarts of Red Line synthetic. From there they mounted a TD Performance remote oil cooler to the side of the frame to keep the slippery stuff from getting too hot.
With a blower comes an upgraded fuel system and so Dennis and Eric scrapped the stock injectors for a set of Ford Racing 30-lb. versions and a matching Pro M mass air meter. A complete MSD DIS ignition system ensures that the mixture is fired properly.
About one month later the blown mod motor was treated to a Ford Racing 70mm throttle body (polished, of course) and a Vortech FMU fuel regulator that boosts the fuel pressure when the boost of the supercharger comes into play. All of this power is channeled through the stock automatic transmission and out to a set of Ford Racing 3.73 gears.
The suspension system on Dennis' ride tells a funny tale. "I was initially going to leave most of the factory components in place," said Hall. "But after thinking about it, I decided to go all out and install a complete Griggs Racing front and rear suspension system."
The two friends started off by installing a tubular front K-member and matching lower control arms before topping it off with double-adjustable Koni struts and coil-over springs. "During the down time of the construction process I had the K-member and control arms painted Ford Atlantic Metallic Blue," explained Dennis. "My main goal with this project is to turn it into a quality show car and to do that you have to sweat out all the details."
The rear of the car was also treated to a complete line of the best stuff that Griggs Racing has to offer. This included a rear torque arm conversion, a road racing panhard bar and a coil-over conversion setup with Koni shocks. "The car handles so well with this new Griggs stuff on board that you can't even believe it," said Hall. "We went to great lengths to make sure that this car would outhandle some of my old Porsches and I think we were able to accomplish that."
High performing cars need to stop as well as corner and when it came time to reinstall the brakes Dennis went with the very-proven Baer Pro Race system. This includes 4-piston Alcon calipers (front and rear), cross-drilled rotors and R4-S kevlar brake pads.
With all of the new-and-improved speed parts installed and eager to be test driven, Dennis and Eric took the car out for a small cruise before dropping it off at the local body shop PDP in Irvine, Calif., for a complete body transformation.
The folks at PDP would be responsible for first laying out the perfect black Sikken paint scheme and then applying a Jeff Styles-designed flamed graphics on the nose.
After the paint dried Hall slapped on a very expensive set of 18-inch HRE limited edition three-piece wheels to help show off the new lines of the freshly painted showstopper. The trick wheels spin low-profile Michelin Pilot tires that dramatically help add to the superior handling of the machine. The last exterior modification to grace the sides of Dennis' Mustang was a set of APC clear lenses that are becoming more popular by the day.
Dennis had a custom chrome-moly 6-point roll bar installed to help stiffen the chassis and then popped on an FR500 steering wheel from the Ford Racing catalog. From there a set of lightweight Auto Meter gauges make sure to tell Dennis if something goes haywire under the hood. As for the price tag on this puppy, expect to pay anywhere from one dollar to around "no comment." That said, we'll just let you do the math.
With 2001 pretty much in the record books Dennis has won over a zillion car shows and loves to drive his GT each and every chance that he gets. "This car may have a fancy paint job on it, but trust me, I drive it all the time," said Hall.