5.0 Mustang & Super FordsFeatured Vehicles
1991 Ford Mustang Convertible - Solar Flair
Horse Sense: With Dustin Morse's convertible being a case in point, we're seeing more and more turbochargers on Mustangs—even a prototype turn-key Cobra Jet twin turbos from Ford Racing. Pros and cons abound, but the turbo's big claim to fame is the fact that it doesn't steal power from the engine to spin it.
Truly one of the greatest aspects of the high-performance car hobby is the vast array of visions, priorities, and preferences that differentiate one car and owner from the next. Taking this theme one step further, one may conclude that no two cars are the same.
That wouldn't be far from the truth. Take Dustin Morse and his '91 convertible as an example—the latter being a unique and beautiful Mustang by any measure. If you've ever seen a show-quality Fox GT droptop before, chances are good that it wasn't wrapped in miles deep black with a touch of blue pearl—or rolling on chromed 18-inch Saleens—or receiving artificial respirations from a 76mm turbo. Maybe some variation of the above, but unlikely the exact same arrangement.
Dustin's Fox 'vert isn't even over-the-top wild, but he's successfully put his own stamp on the Mustang nameplate with a nice blend of individuality, attention to detail, and vastly improved performance. In our book, that's what it's all about.
Credit Dustin with the ability to see beyond the moment, because when he first laid eyes on this '91 in 2005, it had been sitting outside in the California sun for at least eight years.
"The paint looked like 80-grit sandpaper and the top was torn to shreds, but the body and undercarriage were near perfect and accident free," Dustin explained. Recognizing that a solid foundation was far more critical to the project than the surface visuals, he quickly pulled the trigger on the purchase. Once the hulk was hauled up to Dustin's digs in Coquitlam, British Columbia, the car was immediately torn down in preparation for more than just a new topcoat—instead, it would be the subject of a meticulous rebuild.
Not surprisingly, the trip back to respectability initially started with bodywork and the much-needed paint, aptly performed by Mega Autobody in nearby Port Moody. Other than a 2-inch Cervini's cowl hood and removal of the factory luggage rack, the sheetmetal and ground effects remain in stock GT form—all coated in two-stage waterborne PPG materials. A new black top replaced the tattered original, but it understandably sheds little moisture these days. Yes, it rains prolifically on Canada's western coast, but the summers are drop-dead gorgeous, and this one's clearly a fair-weather flyer.
A new black top replaced the tattered original, but it understandably sheds little moisture these days.
Of course, man must not live by sun alone. For that reason, Dustin chose a 76mm Precision turbocharger to whip the wind in a way that top-down driving does not. Precision was also the source for the air-to-air intercooler, while the wastegate and blow-off valve are Tial parts. The setup also makes use of headers from B&G, a 3.5-inch downpipe, a 2.5-inch crossover, and 3-inch intercooler plumbing. Dustin assembled the underhood scene with driveability as a primary focus, so the turbo was a great choice to team with Edelbrock E-Street heads, Holley's SysteMax II intake, and a Panhandle Performance custom ground cam.
He says the results are just what he'd hoped—great power and smooth performance, though he's now mulling over upping the ante with a Coyote swap. (Aren't we all!?)
When Dustin prioritized an open-air experience at the outset of the project, he understood the convertible bodystyle would inherently present more chassis flex than a closed coupe. But he found it a worthwhile trade-off in a "just-for-fun" street machine, and has done his best to equip the '91 with enough hardware to be an admirable, all-around performer.
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First and foremost are custom subframe connectors courtesy of Chief Chassis, and a suspension that features Koni's and coilovers at all four corners. Dustin pieced together the Cobra discs himself, using a SN-95 booster and '93 Cobra master cylinder in the process.
The GT emerged anew in 2008, and Dustin is quick to credit a number of friends for their assistance at various stages of the process. Besides the paint and body, all the work was performed by Dustin and his buddies, who promote their Mustang addiction through a loose organization they like to call Poco Speed Garage—the Poco part being a reference to the local geography of Port Coquitlam.
Note that none of these enthusiasts have built a carbon copy of each other, which furthers our earlier assessment that hardly any two modified Mustangs are the same. Fact is, Dustin is the only one in the group to have built a convertible, and while others may indeed be faster, we bet it's Dustin who's got the last laugh on a sunny summer evening!
Tech Specs: 1991 5.0 GT
Engine and Drivetrain
Camshaft: Panhandle Performance custom hydraulic-roller w/ 0.540-in lift, 224/232 degrees duration at 0.050, 112-degree lobe separation
Cylinder heads: Edelbrock E-Street aluminum
Intake manifold: Holley SysteMax II
Power Adder: Precision 76mm GTS turbo w/ Precision air-to-air intercooler, Tial 50mm blowoff valve, and Tial 44mm wastegate
Fuel system: Aeromotive A1000 pump w/ Aeromotive adjustable regulator, -10/-6 lines, On3 Performance fuel rails, and ACCEL 62-lb/hr injectors
Exhaust: B&G Custom 15⁄8-in headers and Y-pipe
Transmission: Tremec TKO 600 Magnum w/ Steeda Tri-Ax shifter, Centerforce DYAD multi-disc clutch/pp, aluminum flywheel, Quick Time scattershield, and Inland Empire 31⁄2-in aluminum driveshaft
Rearend: Ford 8.8 w/ Traction-Lok, 31-spline Yukon axles, and 3.31 gears
Engine management: Ford A9L w/ Moates QuarterHorse
Ignition: Stock w/ MSD Digital 6AL
Gauges: Stock w/ Auto Meter Pro-Comp Ultra-Lite
Suspension and Chassis
K-member: PA tubular
A-arms: PA tubular
Struts: Koni Yellow w/ BBK caster/camber plates
Springs: QA1 coilover
Brakes: Cobra 13-in
Wheels: Saleen replica, 18x9-in
Tires: Nexen N3000, 235/40ZR-18
Shocks: Koni yellow
Springs: QA1 coilover
Control Arms: Chief Chassis tubular
Brakes: Cobra 11.65-in
Wheels: Saleen replica, 18x9-in
Tires: Nexen N3000, 265/35ZR-18