Michael Johnson
Technical Editor
October 10, 2013

Back in the day, if you took on a project you could really only rely on local buddies to help keep you motivated. Maybe it was family members or close friends, but they had to live nearby in order to help you see a project through. Sure, you could call long-distance pals for a pep talk, but other than that, you were on your own. These days, thanks to the interwebs, people you've never met, and probably never will, are able to provide moral support to help keep you on task.

Such is the case for Cortlandt Manor, New York's Wes Ryan. He used motivation from across the country to get his '91 LX coupe to this point.

"Most car guys have certain vehicles that grab their attention," Wes says. For this NYPD detective, a Fox Mustang will always be that vehicle. His first car at the age of 15 was a red T-top '83 GT, after all. "That was the beginning of this addictive hobby for me," Wes says. Of course, at around 15-16 years old, it's all about having fun. You have life by the tail, you're flying by the seat of your pants. However, soon enough life steps in to spoil the fun, but as Wes accurately points out, being a car guy doesn't ever go away. "It's always inside of you, sometimes dormant, but still there nonetheless," Wes adds.

For Wes, life happened, and Mustangs came and went after the '83, but shortly after marrying his wife Michelle, he waited patiently to revive his inner car guy. Wes stumbled upon a rather fed-up owner after enduring it's last AOD rebuild. The '91 LX coupe was available for just above the price of the transmission rebuild, and $2,800 later a stock, one-owner LX coupe was parked in Wes' garage.

The car started out as a cruiser, transitioned to track duty, and back to cruising. After going through these phases in 10 years of ownership, Wes decided the car needed some attention. "I needed a simple combo with clean body lines and amazing paint I could enjoy with the wife and kids," Wes says. He does mention "life" was well underway at that point so he wanted a car everyone could enjoy. His '01 Bullitt—one of the cars that had entered Wes' life after the '83—had become more race car than street car thanks to a Wolfe Racecraft cage and a YSi-Trim supercharged Two-Valve capable of shaking the neighbor's coffee table. Most of us build a car too far past streetable. We end up selling that car and starting over with a street car. Wes didn't have to do that. He simply had to build the coupe into something his Bullitt had surpassed.

Wes' Project Family Values had some talented champions spurring the effort. Namely Martin Ochs (MartyO) of Mo's Speed Shop, and Derrick Smith of Smith's Paint and Restoration. A plan was hatched, and Wes was to get the wheels in motion by stripping the car to a bare shell in getting it down to Georgia for MartyO and Derrick to take over. Yep, you heard right, Wes lives in New York, while his friends' shops are in Georgia. Wes stripped the car, took it down South, and the Southern hospitality must've had an impact because he's been trying to change his address ever since.

He tasked MartyO with adding tubular subframe connectors, boxed and welded subframe connectors, and a smoothed engine compartment. With those steps complete, the car took the short trip over to Derrick's body shop with Wes' goal of masking its factory white hue in mind. "Derrick went on to prep and spray the complete interior, trunk, and undercarriage before moving on to the exterior panels," Wes explained. The color is PPG Deltron Dark Cherry Pearl, while the undercarriage and floor pans are coated with 3M Body Schutz to maintain a clean look and reduce noise. You know, to help with the car's main function.

The efforts of MartyO and Derrick took a little over a year to complete, and Wes headed south once again to retrieve the coupe. "To say the car came out phenomenally would be a gross understatement," Wes says. "Derrick, who is a true Ford enthusiast, went way beyond my expectations," Wes adds. However, with the car back home he realized how big a project he had on his hands. He looked at this perfect shell of a car with the thought that paying for the body work was the easy part. With any project, though, you need people in your corner to help spur you along. For Wes, those people were MartyO and Greg Pintauro. Wes calls both "encyclopedias of Mustang info," eagerly helping out with daily suggestions and recommendations to keep the car on the right path. It didn't hurt that Wes had been stockpiling parts, either, which kept him busy.

Wes reports now that the car is done, it's a pleasure to drive and really has a great following wherever it goes. We met Wes at the 2012 AmericanMuscle show where it came up empty handed in the car show award department. That's the thing about Wes' LX, the car is so well done, and clean, it's really difficult to see the tremendous amount of work that went into building the car. However, through the magic of the interwebs, you can see for yourself by hitting up www.hpmustangs.com, searching '91 coupe resto.

"That thread was my biggest motivator for this project and I thank all the HPM members for their great advice and feedback. Projects like this are a great example of how guys across the country come together, thanks to that damn thing we call the internet..." 5.0

Horse Sense: Derrick Smith is mentioned as painting Wes' coupe—it is the same Derrick Smith who used to run Pro 5.0 in NMRA competition. He has always painted cars, but now he does as owner of Smith's Paint and Restoration in Cartersville, Georgia. Mo's Speed Shop is located in Dallas, Georgia.

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5.0 Tech Specs

Engine and Drivetrain
Block: Stock, bored 0.040-in over
Crankshaft: Stock
Rods: Ford Racing forged
Pistons: SRP w/ JE rings
Camshafts: Anderson Ford Motorsport N-41 w/ Ford Racing lifters
Cylinder heads: Ford Racing X with 1.94/1.54 valves, and Ford Racing 1.6 roller rockers
Intake manifold: Holley SysteMax II w/ Accufab 75mm throttle body, and Pro-M 80mm mass air
Power Adder: Nitrous Works 125hp nitrous kit w/ billet trunk mount
Fuel system: 255-lph fuel pump w/ stock lines and rails, Ford Racing 30-lb/hr injectors, and a Kirban adjustable fuel-pressure regulator
Exhaust: MAC 15⁄8-in equal-length headers w/ MAC H-pipe, and Flowmaster two-chamber after-cat exhaust
Transmission: T-5 five-speed w/ Centerforce Dual Friction clutch, Hurst shifter, and a Ford Racing aluminum driveshaft
Rearend: 8.8-in w/ Ford Racing 4.10 gears, Eaton differential, and Moser Engineering axles

Engine management: Stock
Ignition: MSD w/ Live Wires spark plug wires, and Autolite plugs
Gauges: Stock w/ Auto Meter air/fuel and fuel pressure

Suspension and Chassis
Front suspension
K-member: UPR Products
A-arms: UPR Products
Struts: Tokico w/ Maximum Motorsports caster/camber plates
Springs: Eibach coilover
Brakes: '01 Bullitt
Wheels: SVE 10th Anniversary chrome, 18x9-in
Tires: BFG g-Force T/A KDW2 255/35-18

Rear suspension
Shocks: Strange Engineering adjustable
Springs: Eibach coilover
Control Arms: Steeda Autosports w/ boxed/welded torque boxes
Brakes: '01 Bullitt
Wheels: SVE 10th Anniversary chrome, 18x10-in
Tires: BFG g-Force T/A KDW2 275/35-18