Muscle Mustangs & Fast Fords
Larry Ashley and Brent Hattan set out to construct the most extreme V-6 Mustang on the planet
Wouldn't it be nice if we all had the luxury of purchasing a brand new Ford Mustang with the sole intention of bringing it home just to tear it apart at the drop of a hat? Well, that is exactly what American Products Company (APC) in sunny Corona, California, did. APC is a body enhancing firm specializing in constructing and selling different types of hoods, body kits, wings, taillights, and other exterior items for Mustangs and, now, the Ford Focus.
As many companies do each year, APC was planning on showcasing its futuristic line of hardware at the annual Specialty Equipment Market Association (SEMA) show in Las Vegas, but it had one small problem: A donor car was needed, the show was nearing and they didn't have one.
APC's Vice President of Marketing, Larry Ashley, and his assistant and righthand man, Brent Hattan, had visualized creating one of the most extreme Mustangs on the planet, one that would reach that plateau wearing a full line of APC components. They set out to purchase a Mustang, but went with a V-6 version instead of the more conventional V-8 GT (Tragically, Hattan died in a car accident as this story was going to press). "We felt with our customer base we could stand out from the more conventional V-8-powered Mustangs and maybe draw a different type of crowd to the car," explained Ashley.
As mentioned before, the entire APC staff wanted the '02 Mustang to be completed in time for the 2002 SEMA show and had a hefty amount of work to do prior to displaying it there. The crew began by striping the sheetmetal of its factory paint before jazzing it up with a set of APC EuroTec taillights, an APC Demon body kit with matching Medusa fender flares, a carbon fiber hood, and W3 three-piece rear wing assembly.
With the body nearing completion, APC had local body-shop man Doug Starbuck work his magic with the paint sprayer. He applied five coats of bright-orange lacquer to the sanded and prepped sheetmetal before sealing it up with a few quick squirts of clearcoat. With the body completed, Ashley and Hattan focused their attention on the factory interior.
Bush Custom Upholstery stitched up a set of tricked-out orange seats and customized the dashboard and one-off console with APC Speed-Glo flamed gauges. The factory airbag steering wheel was tossed in favor of an APC carbon fiber unit and the pedals were topped off with custom polished versions for improved looks and grip.
Next, Gary Bell of MA Audio was brought into the picture with the responsibility of constructing one of the craziest stereo systems to ever grace an automobile. He began by tossing the rear seat to make room for a tight-fit (and orange, of course) kicker box, which houses a full line of MA Audio speakers, subwoofers and amplifiers. Sending the power out to the new kicker box is an MA Audio DVD and CD player that Bell took the liberty of mounting where the factory stereo once resided.
Ashley and Hattan's dream of the most extreme V-6 Mustang on the planet was taking place before their very eyes, but the puny V-6 powerplant and boring suspension system could never be left unmodified. The factory OHV V-6, at only 190 hp and 220 lb-ft torque, probably won't win over the hearts of many onlookers, but with a polished supercharger, a direct-port nitrous kit, and a custom exhaust system the plot begins to thicken.
Ashley contracted the pros at Kenny's Garage to handle the engine upgrades. They began by installing a Vortech V-1 polished supercharger that blows 12 psi of boost through the factory intake and sends its remains through a pair of MAC 1 5/8-inch long-tube headers and a matching stainless steel, cat-back exhaust system.
The rest of the six-shooter remains basically unmodified, but just in case a little extra kick is needed, a Nitrous Express system was plumbed into the top of the intake to help cool the incoming boost charge. It is also designed to add over 150 hp to the total package at the push of a button, just in case some extra oats are needed.
If the nitrous button ever becomes activated chances are that the factory tires will never stick to the pavement. With that in mind, the stock front and rear suspension systems were tossed in favor of a full line of Hotchkis components. The street/strip kit consists of lowering springs, larger-than-stock sway bars, and upgraded and adjustable struts and shocks. This should plant the tires should the pedal ever become mashed to the floor.
A tricked-out suspension system is only as good as the tires and wheels it works with and complimenting the Hotchkis kit are gunmetal-polished Maido GR5 three-piece wheels, which spin Pirelli tires measuring 245/35R20 in the front and 285/35R20 in the rear. The Maido's measure in at 20x9-inch (front) and 20x11 (rear). Hiding behind the five stars is a "Big Brake" kit from the Stainless Steel Brakes Corporation in Clarence, New York. It consists of larger spiral-grooved rotors with matching four-piston polished calipers.
With the new show car completed, it was driven to the 2002 SEMA show to be put on display in the APC booth for all to see. Even being placed next to a host of 4x4 trucks, the APC ride won rave reviews with the crowd and proved V-6 Mustangs can be just as cool as their V-8 counterparts.