Dale Amy
March 4, 2016

We all come to this fast-Ford hobby or obsession from different directions and backgrounds. Some of us were hooked the very first time we laid eyes or ears on a V-8 Mustang, while others take a more roundabout route to the Pony corral.

It’s safe to say that Bryan Reid was one of the latter types, one who sounds like he came to possess this 1994 GT more by convenience than intent: “I bought the car from my uncle back in the spring of 2009,” says Reid. “It was my first ‘toy’ car. Oddly enough, I wasn’t even a fan of Mustangs when I got it. My dream first performance car would have been a 1998-2002 WS6, but the college budget wouldn’t allow it. Not that I hated Mustangs, it just wasn’t the out-of-the-box performance I was looking for.”

Well, maybe, but Reid soon warmed to his new purchase and the endless aftermarket opportunities to embellish it—budget permitting, of course. Like many of us, he initially lacked both the funds and knowledge to do much in the way of mods. In fact, he was a complete newbie. “Did I mention that this was also the first car I had ever driven that was a stick? That probably explains why I had to get my trans rebuilt that first summer.”

As income gradually increased, so did the modifications, many of which were sourced, used, after relentless online searching for deals. For example, Reid, who lives in Michigan, scored his full set of 18-inch BBS RK rims on Craigslist from a seller in Florida (fully expecting to do a burnout for us, Reid bolted on rear Hoosier Quick Times and black Weld RTS rims for our photo shoot).

Reid went on to tell us, “The SVO side skirts were another Craigslist score. The guy I bought them off was selling them with a Roush New Edge cat-back that I ended up reselling to cover the entire cost of the skirts and exhaust.” Those skirts are now accented by the purposeful tips of a Katech-muffled, custom stainless side exhaust crafted up by Detroit Drifting Company.

Early on, his GT went through many changes, including “two new windshields … (hoodpins, kids!)” Part of what motivated Reid’s ever-evolving efforts was getting the coupe prepped for the annual Mustang Week festivities in Myrtle Beach. He got the BBS rims shortly after attending Mustang Week 2013. “Thankfully I got one good photo shoot in with them before my freshly painted hood found its way through my windshield for a third time.” And yes, that was after having the full car (with its then Boss Inc. hood) painted by Dearborn’s Hassen Habhab in DBC Bright Aqua Metallic. The GT now wears a 2000 Cobra R-style hood from Cervini’s.

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By 2014 the mods were becoming more hardcore: “My best friend, Donovan, and I started out the year by taking on [Dirty Don Designs] through-floor subframe connectors and a wire-tuck/fusebox relocation to the back seat, and things snowballed from there. We ended up tying the subframe connectors all the way from the front subframes, completely blowing out the bottom of the front rail in the floor pan, to the rear control arm bolt holes, adding in a couple different mounting holes for the lower control arms. In addition, we added in relocated rear coilovers and trimmed away the spare tire well to keep the OEM gas tank setup.”

Since the coupe was disassembled, Reid went whole-hog, adding a complete tubular front suspension overhaul in the form of a K-member, adjustable A-arms, coilovers, and caster/camber plates from Team Z Motorsports, along with 2-inch Racecraft drop spindles and Strange Fox-length 10-way drag dampers. Steering is via a 2003 Cobra rack. Out back, double-adjustable AFRC lower control arms came onboard, as did an Outlaw upper control arm kit from Baseline. Riding on QA1 coilovers, these help locate a Chris Neighbors spec’d 8.8-inch axle packed with 4.30 gears, Mark Williams 33-spline axles, and an Eaton Truetrac posi.

Bolstered by a growing engineering income, Reid also sprung for a Tremec T56 Magnum behind a QuickTime bellhousing, Fidanza aluminum flywheel, and Spec Stage 3 clutch, and then ditched his weary factory upholstery in favor of a complete OEM interior sourced from a 1998 GT, and embellished with Sparco R100 seats and a custom cluster (while keeping his previously fitted Maximum Motorsports six-point cage). At some point, Roush/Alco brakes were fitted, 14-inch with four pistons up front and 13s in the rear.

After all this effort, the car didn’t make it to Mustang Week 2014 because of an electrical glitch resulting from the wire-tuck. “Some say you learn from your mistakes,” says Reid. “I say when a tire and a wiring harness are fighting for the same space, the tire wins 100 percent of the time.”

Disappointed but undaunted, Reid then turned his attention underhood, tossing the factory mill in favor of a 369-inch filled with an FTI custom cam and topped by Pro1 195 heads at 9.0:1 compression, all fed by Edelbrock Super Victor EFI (with a Lidio Iacobelli tune). On a break-in tune, it produced 351 rwhp and 366 lb-ft of rear-wheel torque. Before installing the big-inch transplant, Reid stripped down the mostly wire-tucked engine bay and painted it himself with leftover Bright Aqua Metallic, which he then topped with Eastwood 2K clear coat.

Hopefully our photos show how well the multiyear project has come together. Reid is equally pleased with the way it drives, saying, “The raw feeling of the car with the solid motor mounts and suspension joints lets you feel the car responding to the road beneath the tires. For as low as the car sits, the suspension still works as it should, and you can feel the weight transferring as you lay into the throttle. With the drag springs on front and back, the car is much smoother now than it was before.”

In the end, we sense Reid is very glad that his first performance “toy” was a Mustang rather than one of those off-brand dinosaurs. “Needless to say, after owning it for over six years now, I couldn’t have had a more perfect car fall into my lap as a project. The simplicity of the 5.0 and the abundance of aftermarket parts have set me out on a journey. Who knows where it will end?”

Welcome to the obsession, Bryan.

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