Dale Amy
June 2, 2014

It seemed like a mature money-saving idea at the time. Tired of the single-digit fuel economy of his lifted F-150 4x4, Michigan's Patrick Lee figured there had to be something cheaper to drive out there, so he peddled the pickup and found a used, but utterly stock '05 GT coupe to replace it. It seemed like a sound idea.

We're sure his fuel mileage shot up but as far as the overall money-saving goes ... well, not so much. Patrick now says: "Definitely not one of my better decisions, especially since I was working for CDC at the time. How could I possibly work at a place that made cool Mustang parts—while I was building countless SEMA and customer cars, no less—and expect to leave my car alone?" As you can see, he did not.

Oh, at first he tried to be reasonable. "I told myself that I would not spend a lot of time/money on this car," says Patrick. "That lasted a little while (read: about a month), but CDC back then had rows of Foose Stallion body parts in its warehouse that were unused from the production run of Foose Mustangs ... My car went under the knife and shortly after came out as a complete Stallion, right down to the Foose emblems and doorsills. The kit includes the aluminum hood, front fascia, side lower rockers, rear fascia, and rear spoiler." He then bought some 19-inch rolling stock, bigger brakes, and FRPP's FR3 handling pack, and treated his 4.6 to Ford Racing's Hot Rod cams and a set of Pypes long-tube headers.

Was he done? Uh, no.

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Cabin upgrades are subtle but oh-so effective. The McIntosh/Ford GT head unit grabs your eye, but Patrick spent time making the color scheme of the interior more cohesive. He also ditched the “hotel-room armchair,” factory cloth seat covers.

Patrick, who had grown up building hot rods with his dad, now wanted to start differentiating his ride from all the rest. "At this point, the car looked great—it was lowered, had nice wheels, and a not-so-common body package. But I knew I could do better. To me, I had created a ‘typical' bolt-on car—nothing really unique about it; anyone could do it. Plus, the dove gray carpet showed wear and tear, the gray cloth seats with prancing ponies reminded me of an arm chair I'd find in a hotel room, and my love for road racing was starting to influence what I wanted to do to the car."

One of the traits of the factory interior that was driving Patrick nuts, in his opinion, there were too many conflicting shades and textures on the trim parts: "I had my good friend Keith at Ice 9 Customs paint the silver aluminum dash pieces in a textured dove gray that matched the rest of the dash. He also painted the center stack and console in piano black, to bring in some of the outside. Before re-installing the dash trim pieces, I swapped all of the chrome bezels over to GT500 satin silver pieces, and tossed in a '10-plus GT500 steering wheel with satin silver trim and partial-suede wrap. The factory shift boot was replaced with an '08 Bullitt shift boot that also included a satin-silver bezel. A further sprinkling of satin silver here and there added the final touches, including the custom aluminum trim bezel around the McIntosh head unit. The carpet went next, and was replaced with black factory carpet. Finally, the seats were re-skinned in factory '10 leather covers that I had custom-stitched with light gray suede in a diamond pattern."

A confirmed audioholic, Patrick then did some sound upgrading: "I added a three-way front stage using ‘vintage' German-made MB Quart speakers, with an 8-inch driver in the doors, a 5-inch mid in the custom kickpanels, and tweeters in the A-pillars ... I buried my old Precision Power amps (more '90s vintage) in the spare tirewell, next to the battery I had relocated. Subwoofer duties are handled by a single JBL 10-inch sub. Since I do like to take the car on the road course, I wanted to be able to remove the heavy sub box. I whipped together a quick and light set of aluminum brackets that are bolted to the car, and the sub box is held in place to these brackets using a set of pins and clips, like hoodpins."

He soon decided his all-black exterior was just too, well, black, and turned again to Ice 9 Customs for the gray and red hood/trunk accents, all topped in matte clear. Patrick then yanked the Foose grille, replacing it with stainless woven mesh, powdercoated to match the gray on the hood.

He explains how his distinctive headlights came about: "With gray grilles, the bright chrome Foose headlights stood out like a sore thumb. In my spare parts pile, I had a set of cracked-up Chrysler 300C headlights. After disassembling the Foose 7-inch lamps and the Chrysler lamps, and after many, many hours, I managed to mix the Chrysler tri-bar headlight insert and HID projector lamp into the 7-inch housing ...

"While the front end was apart, I had to fix the front-end ‘float' I felt in the car at around 125-130 mph. The answer was a front lower splitter I made, modeled after the splitter found on the older FR500S Miller Challenge Mustang. It's exactly the same shape, as a matter of fact, but does not extend forward as much. The Foose fascia has a pair of unused holes in it, whose purpose I was never quite sure of. Well, I use them for my brake ducts, using a Ford Racing brake duct kit and backing plates."

Patrick is pals with the guys at Department of Boost, so he ordered one of the company's machined, billet GT450 intake intercooled manifolds which allowed him to install an affordable take-off GT500 M122 blower (the DOB manifold will also accept the later GT500's TVS unit.) With track use in mind, he added a Meziere 55-gpm intercooler pump, a custom heat exchanger, and a Mishimoto radiator. Patrick being Patrick, he couldn't just bolt it all in.

"Since the battery was now out back, I relocated the Bussed Electrical Center to where the battery had been, and stowed the PCM behind the fender, between the wheel opening and the passenger door. The results speak for themselves—the engine bay is significantly cleaner and simplified.

"I also added a separate fuse and relay block for things like the intercooler pump and heat exchanger fan. The switches on the firewall allow me to turn the heat exchanger fan, intercooler pump, and primary radiator fan on while in the pits between racetrack sessions. Topping off the appearance makeover in the engine bay, I painted almost the entire engine (including the DOB manifold and supercharger) the same gray used on the outside of the car."

Bolstered for road, track, or show, Patrick’s engine room teams a take-off GT500 M122 blower with his 4.6-liter Three-Valve by way of a Department of Boost intercooled billet manifold. With long-tube headers and FRPP Hot Rod cams, the result is 465 rwhp—perfectly civilized for his daily (summer) commute, yet quick and reliable on the road course.

A turn in Patrick's career path then found him working at Watson Engineering (the builders of Ford Racing's Cobra Jet quarter-milers and Boss road race cars) in its new division, Watson Racing. "One of the first parts Watson developed for street cars was a four-point bolt-in rollbar. Being a road race enthusiast, I had to have it! The beauty of the Watson four-point is that it bolts in with little modification to the car—I didn't have to drill big holes in the side panels—and the mounting system ‘lives' in the car, so I can easily unbolt it after a weekend at the track, throw the seats in, and the car is once again completely stock. For the next track day, the bar quickly bolts back into the mounting system that's still in the car. Since I hardly use the back seat, I opted to leave the bar and add Watson's rear-seat- delete carpet kit that was designed specifically for the four-point. The carpet kit installs and removes even quicker than the four-point bar!"

In the meantime, Patrick also found a set of 20-inch Vossen CV3 rims, but the orgy of spending wasn't done yet: "The car still continued to evolve to better suit my occasional track weekends. The non-adjustable Ford Racing handling pack was replaced with yellow Koni Sport adjustable shocks/struts, and I lowered the car even more with Ford Racing 1.5-inch lowering springs. Track-day caster/camber adjustments are handled by Maximum Motorsports plates on top. The FRPP sway bars were retained, and a Steeda Bumpsteer kit was added to the mix, along with a pair of Steeda X5 balljoints.

Out back, CHE components supplanted much of the rear suspension, including the lower control arms, the adjustable upper Third-link, the HD Third-link body mount, and a Steeda bushing in the axle-side of the third link. Finally, a larger Baer/Shelby Extreme 6S system—featuring a six-piston monoblock caliper and a 14-inch, two-piece rotor—took over for the previously installed Brembos.

Patrick considers his coupe a kind of Jekyll and Hyde ride that is equally at home on street or track, but it's not done yet. He still has a shopping list of future upgrades, but we've run out of room to document them. Suffice it to say that keeping his F-150 would have been cheaper—but a whole lot less fun.

Tech Specs
Vehicle: 2005 Ford Mustang GT
Engine and Drivetrain
Block: Stock Three-Valve 4.6 aluminum
Crankshaft: Stock
Rods: Stock
Pistons: Stock
Camshafts: Ford Racing Hot Rod (M-6550-3V)
Cylinder Heads: Stock Three-Valve
Intake Manifold: Department of Boost billet-aluminum intercooled manifold
Power Adder: GT500 Eaton M122 (take-off)
Fuel System: Walbro GSS342 pump w/ GT500 rails and 42-lb/hr injectors
Exhaust: Pypes long-tube headers w/ Pypes high-flow cats and a Corsa axle-back
Transmission: Stock TR3650 six-speed manual w/ Coast 4-in aluminum driveshaft
Rearend: Stock w/ FRPP 3.73 gears
Electronics
Engine Management: Stock w/ Blue Collar Performance tune
Ignition: Stock
Gauges: Stock
Suspension and Chassis
Front Suspension
K-Member: Stock w/ Carriage House Engineering brace (with torque limiters)
A-Arms: Stock w/ Steeda bumpsteer kit and X5 balljoints
Struts: Koni Yellow, adjustable
Springs: FRPP 1.5-in drop (M-5300-K)
Brakes: Baer/Shelby Extreme 6S six-piston w/ 14x1.25-in rotors
Wheels: Vossen CV3, 20x9-in
Tires: Falken FK453, 255/40R-20
Rear Suspension
Shocks: Koni Yellow, adjustable
Springs: FRPP 1.5-in drop (M-5300-K)
Control Arms: CHE lower control arms w/ CHE Third-link and body mount
Brakes: Baer Decelarotors w/ stock calipers
Wheels: Vossen CV3, 20x10.5-in
Tires: Falken FK453, 275/35R-20


Horse Sense:

Patrick likes nothing better than to throw on a set of 18-inch GT500 rims wearing Continental slicks and head to the road course. "The car has over 50,000 miles on it and a lot of rock chips. I'm not the kind of guy who takes his car to the track and wraps it in blue painter's tape…"