Ro McGonegal
February 9, 2016
Photos By: Drew Phillips

There are Mustang owners . . . and then there are Mustang owners that want their Mustangs more than a little different from the rest. Larry Ashley is one of those, so much so that in a heated moment he actually traded his wife’s customized Saturn Vue for one.

Ashley’s problem was that he had been swilling the forbidden water since forever, enough to engender an onslaught. So he has owned a bunch of ’em, including two 1966s, a 1967, a 1968, 1990 and 1992 Foxes, a 1994 SN95, a 1996 Mystic Cobra, a 1997 GT ragtop, and now this 2005 GT. “I have always been a Mustang owner,” says Ashley. “From the age of 14 to now, 47, I had at least one of them in my stable.”

For the full-on Pro Touring rant, he works out with his 1968 GT/CS alter ego. As a matter of fact, we featured his fast Fords in the March 2003 and January 2004 issues.

Ashley promised himself he wouldn’t do anything to the GT. It was destined to be a driver, a daily freeway companion, and as such it didn’t need a killer motor, just one that ran well and often. “But like any Mustang freak, the car started to transform,” he says. “Combing the Internet at first for fun just to see if there was anything out there to make the car look different from stock, I came across the wing already painted Sonic Blue. Then I found the side scoops and the headlight splitters, also painted the same as the car.”

“As the car started to look cooler and more unique there was no turning back,” says Ashley without regret.

Then, of course, the floor fell out.

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As it was, he wound up building the GT for SEMA 2013 to debut the new upholstery line from TMI Products of Corona, California. They stripped the original seats and installed new foam over the headrests and seat frame and covered it with the sportier TMI rags.

This change accommodates the airbags and the headrests and gives the interior a sportier aura.

The familial sentiment for these cars is one thing, but Ashley has got an interest that most Mustang folk do not: He is TMI’s marketing and R&D director and does all the creative work. TMI doesn’t do hard parts; rather, it provides just about everything else for comfort and beautification.

In anticipation of warmer times, Ashley did some rudimentary engine tweaks. He started on the Three-Valve 4.6L with Performance Distributors coil packs, a Jet Performance throttle spacer, an airflow sensor, and a Programmer Plus. Then he installed a 3-inch exhaust system with Flowmaster American Thunder mufflers. Before he dropped the hood, he swarmed the motor and the compartment with a lot of goodies, such as Cal Pony Cars radiator covers, an engine dress-up kit, finned fuel rail and fuse box covers, strut tower and master cylinder covers, and gas-strut hood lifts. He bolstered the drivetrain with a Centerforce aluminum flywheel and Dual Friction clutch cover and disc. Ashley nudges the Tremec five-speed with a Hurst short-throw stick.

Since the initial phase was more about presence than performance, Ashley was completely justified in changing out the suspension, brakes, and rolling stock. To make sure the ants would be screaming, he installed the ever-popular Air Lift Performance struts, adjustable shock absorbers, air controller, and adjustable camber plates along with Proforged tie-rod ends and bumpsteer elimination kit. Body roll is checked by a UMI Performance adjustable 35mm bar (34mm stock). At the rear, the GT wears more Air Lift, a UMI control arm kit, and a 22mm (20mm stock) chromoly antisway bar working with a double-adjustable Panhard rod.

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At the outer ends, there’s some sprung weight in the SSBC 13-inch-diameter discs, 3-piston calipers, and 1-piston calipers on 12.8-inch rotors, followed by some unsprung heft in the 20x9 and 20x11 Vossen CV7 Matte Graphite rims and the 255/35 and 285/30 Continental ContiSportContact 5P rubber.

Ashley said that the original Sonic Blue paint was in fair condition and did not warrant a new application, so he worked it out and sent it over to Gatorwraps in Ontario, California, where it was plastered with sections of 3M matte Blue Metallic and Dark Grey. Prior to this, the GT was adorned with Carbon 3D headlight splitters and side quarter-panel scoops. Spyder projector headlights and smoked LED taillights fill the voids. He brought the package together with some Trufiber items, including a carbon fiber A61 Ram Air hood, a chin spoiler, and LG109 side-skirt splitters. The CXT1 front bumper is fiberglass. The Street Scene Duck Tail deck spoiler is subtle and seems the perfect enhancement.

In the sanctum, Ashley lolls in TMI stuff, from the suede headliner to the high-back Sport XR seat sheaths (vinyl and suede), the console, and the matching bench seat covering. He accessorized the room with a Grant Revolution steering wheel and a slew of chromed bits from Late Model Restoration—A/C control knobs, aluminum shifter plate, billet parking brake cover, cupholder bezel, headlight switch, and remote mirror switch. The dainty, silvery clutch, brake pedal, and gas pedal are from Late Model’s SVE GT kit.

Ashley reflected a little about the GT and what its fate would be. “Next I will buy another commuter and retire the 2005 to toy status.”

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Remember when he said he wasn’t going to touch the errant GT? Now he has slipped over the edge again, got his head set on addressing the motor with a ProCharger supercharger and some of Doug Thorley’s finest pipes. His sugarplum will see more than 540 hp at 10 psi. Additional modifications will help harness some of that grunt. He wants those rude Trufiber wide-body flares shrouding 20x11 rims up front slicked with 295/35s and 20x13 wheels with 335/30s for the rear.

Two of his nine cars are Mustangs, and maybe the next commuter will be a 2015 5.0L to sit beside his GT/CS, 1970 F-100, and a 1969 Torino GT. Proof that Larry Ashley has never left well enough alone.