Steve Baur
Former Editor, Modified Mustangs & Fords
November 8, 2004

A Mustang enthusiast for quite a few years now, Chris Carlstrom of Frisco, Texas, has had his share of ponies in the stable. "I stayed true to the Mustang when all my long-term racing friends sold out to buy LS1s,"said Chris.

Caught by the True Street bug, Chris had built himself a nice Fox-body Stang to compete with, but when the engine called it quits during a dyno pull, he decided he had enough for a while.

That while didn't last long, and soon Chris found himself behind the wheel of a new 2000 GT. Lathered in a searing yellow hue, it was quite the attention-getter appearance-wise, still Chris added a Saleen body kit and S-351 rear wing on top of it. A road-race-inspired suspension followed, and under the hood, Chris installed an intercooled ATI ProCharger.

The Mustang was a low-12-second player at the track, however, the fun was short-lived as problems with the returnless fuel system and a lean air/fuel ratio would ultimately caused the demise of not one, but two 4.6 engines. Things were about to change in a big way.

Less than one year after Chris cruised the Stang off the dealership floor, he stripped the car down to its shell and slowly began rebuilding it to his liking. "I spent a month in the garage just welding up holes in the engine compartment to smooth it out," stated Chris. "I painted the unibody and engine bay in my garage. The rest of the car I took to my work, Bankston Paint and Body, to paint piece by piece."

Using the factory paint as a solid foundation, the custom-mixed blue was applied, laboriously wet-sanded, and buffed out before the parts were bolted back on in the garage.

At the same time Chris decided to part ways with the Modular engine family, and had Doug Evans bore a Mexican 302 block .035-inch over and stuff it with a 4340 Cola crankshaft, Crower rods, and Wiseco pistons. An 8.5:1 compression ratio was achieved with the TFS High Port aluminum cylinder heads (ported by Trevor Johnson) that feature a 2.02 intake and 1.60-inch exhaust valves, and an Anderson Ford Motorsport B-451 hydraulic roller blower cam was chosen. Specs for the grind are 232/240 at .050 and an advertised lift of .579/.579.

The factory wiring harness was hacked apart, leaving only the essentials to conduct business. Chad Klodner of Plano, Texas, made and ran a custom wiring harness through the fenderwell for a clean appearance, and he also modified the Speed Pro fuel-injection harness to include a quick disconnect at the firewall. This would ease engine swaps (he's on number three at this point) and maintenance.

The OBDII EEC-V was heaved in favor of a much simpler and more easily tuned Speed Pro (F.A.S.T.) system that uses sequential injection and a wide-band O2 sensor. The Speed Pro gave more control over the 72 lb-hr injectors that are part of the new return-style fuel system that features a Weldon 2015 pump and regulator. Chad also modified the Victor Jr. Spyder intake and supercharger plumbing, and re-engineered the intercooler to locate the inlet and outlet on the same side. RCI 1.75-inch headers were bolted up to a 3-inch X-pipe and Dynomax bullet mufflers.

Chris has a choice of two transmissions, depending on what he needs to do with the car. A D&D T-56 is usually reserved for extended street use, as Chris noted that the car becomes violent and unstable at the track when banging gears. Therefore a PA C4 automatic box is much more at home on the track and generally cuts elapsed times by half a second as the Mustang cruises straight down the 1,320. Depending on the transmission, a 4,500-rpm stall, 8-inch torque converter, or a Star Spec Stage III clutch is employed to send power back to the original 8.8 rear (which has been stuffed with a 4.10 ring-and-pinion and not much else). The stock axles, differential, and four-wheel disc brakes are still used, but the suspension is a different story.

Gone are the road hugging components, which are now replaced with a QA1 tubular K-member, Hotchkis caster/camber plates, and a Flaming River manual steering. He also added '95 Cobra coils that are used in conjunction with Lakewood 90/10 struts. The antisway bar has been removed. And the 8.8s supporting cast includes Wolfe Racecraft adjustable upper control arms that work with HPM Megabite lowers and a Wolfe antiroll bar. Lakewood 50/50 race shocks dampen the Moroso drag springs, and subframe connectors were welded in to tie up the unibody.

Chris also has two sets of wheels for street and track outings. As you might have notice from the pictures, he has a set of chrome-plated, 18x9-inch Saleen wheels with 245/40/18 front and 295/35/18 rear rubber that serve street duty. For the dragstrip, billet aluminum Budnick wheels with Mickey Thompson front runners and BFG 325/50/15 drag radials are employed.

When we originally shot Chris's Mustang, it had run a best quarter-mile time of 10.18 at 133 mph. He later installed a turbocharger, and that knocked the e.t. down to the 9.30s. Chris eventually ditched the Mexican block for an R302 stroked to 347 cubic inches. With the turbo forcing itself upon the larger engine, a 9.12-second e.t. was realized, and just when things were getting good, a tire failure at the top end of the track sent the stallion hard into the wall.

Chris was okay, but the car was a different story. The body had a lot of rearranged real estate, so the drivetrain was pulled and set aside. Chris recently purchased a '95 Mustang that so far has only received a custom paint job. "I wanted to keep this one more streetable and was tired of sweating in the other car," said Chris. We're not completely convinced, as this is how the '00 GT started out. Maybe you should at least keep the air conditioning this time, Chris?

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The Dupont custom-blended blue is certainly something you don't see everyday. Chris handled all of the body and paint work himself, and added Saleen ground effects to give the pony a low-slung look, as well as good high-speed aerodynamic qualities.
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The engine's power adders include a Paxton Novi 2000 supercharger that is plumbed into an ATI air-to-air intercooler, and a direct port nitrous system that's good for 300 hp. Later, Chris switched to a turbocharger.
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The ATI intercooler is a three-core unit that removes heat from the 16 psi of boost. It was cut in two and then re-welded to put the inlet and outlet on the same side.
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It's all in the details.
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Note the video camera that allows friends and family to see what's going on during the run and to see how much fun Chris is having.
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Sparco seats save some weight, and Chris removed all of the sound deadening, as well as the back seat. Many unnecessary components under the dash were also excised, and Chris claims all of his weight-savings measures offered a 600lb reduction.
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The owner mounted the Auto Meter Ultra-Lite gauges using homemade bezels that he cut out with a Dremel.
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It takes a good eye to notice the sumped tank and battery shutoff switch. Otherwise it just looks like a fancy Saleen, not a low 10-second street car.