Ro McGonegal
January 31, 2017
Photos By: Peter Linney

Most people get mental about black cars. They think sleek, sinister, cool. They don’t think dull or utilitarian. And they don’t think about the extra, annoying upkeep it needs to keep it looking sleek, sinister, and cool. A dirty black car is something you want to run away from.

The phenomenon is chronic, of course. About his S550, Walter Wells says, “I traded in my 2008 Shelby GT500 for a Performance Pack 2015 GT, but after doing that I realized how annoying it was wiping down a black car every time I took it out of the garage. So I chose to go with something different that was easy to clean and was going to stand out. That’s why I chose this awesome green wrap.”

Sam Soto’s muscular fender flares are full-on mechanical, black bolt heads winking evident against the green field. Aside from the body wrap, the only other change to the formerly black Mustang was the black Roush hoodscoop.

But prior to his Mustang’s new livery, Wells had passed it to Sam Soto at Stage 3 Performance in Oceanside, California, for the fashionable, ferocious widebody conversion that Soto developed for his own S550. While he had the Stang close to him, Soto customized it a little more with a Modern Muscle Design V-Series front splitter and deck spoiler. Wells needed those industrial-looking, bolt-on pieces for more than appearance; they are part of the scheme, they coincide with the 11.5-inch wide Ferrada FR3 20-inch wheels at each corner, and they accommodate disparate rubber: 305/30 Nitto NT555 front and 335/25 Continental Extreme Contact DW rear. Such extravagance is becoming de facto for the S550. Soto completed the “sheetmetal” changes with a flat and wide Roush hoodscoop. That Pearlescent Green sheathing was trimmed and layered by the rascals at Wraptillian in Duarte, California.

Part of the Performance Pack includes 15-inch Brembos in front and 13-inch discs at the business end. Wells saw no need for larger, tangier energy burners, but he stepped up big-time with the wheels and tires: He posted 20x11.5 Ferrada FR3 hoops all around and surrounded them with way-fat 305/30 Nitto and 335/25 Continental rubber.

Wells’ Mustang was equipped with the Performance Package, a thoughtful, usable group that includes larger wheels and tires (but nowhere near as prolific as the stock he has already employed). More important are the 15-inch rotors and six-piston Brembo front brakes trailed by 13-inch vented rotors, energy burners plenty big for the 3,700-pounder.

Wells weighed budget next to a lot of stuff he thought he really wanted. But he decided wisely. Further enhancement wouldn’t give him one more ounce of performance or control in the cockpit (seats, rollcage, ancillaries, and so on) and all else that it encompassed. Put simply, the factory-equipped S550 is complete without them.

Stage 3 approached the already sophisticated chassis and suspension, maintaining the original control arms and struts but inserting Eibach Sportline lowering coils and an Eibach antisway bar. They used the same pieces at the rear of the car.

After abusing the Mustang for a few weeks, cramming it into corners and letting its guts hang out, it became woefully apparent (to Wells, at least) that it didn’t have the smack (500hp/475 lb-ft) that he loved about his Shelby.

Walter Wells had stepped out of a GT500 for the S550. After pushing his new car for a couple of weeks, he knew he would need to step up the powerplant. A Kenne Bell 2.8L puffer and an enthusiastic exhaust system easily bumped 665 hp to the wheels. CCC Motorsports did the install and the tune-up.

But every day of the year, the 5.0L Coyote in Wells’ Mustang pumps out 665 hp and 615 lb-ft to the ground. CCC Motorsports in Santee, California, did the work and applied the finesse and calibration that has made them a local legend. The stock rotating assembly is composed of a forged crank and connecting rods as well as cast pistons, which help to produce a static compression ratio of 11.0:1. CCC did nothing more to the powerplant than install the Kenne Bell 2.8L supercharger/intercooler and dedicated throttle-body. Positive manifold pressure is 12-13 psi. On the extracting end are Kooks 1 7/8-inch primary-pipe headers followed by a Kooks 3-inch system intersected by an X-pipe and Borla Sport mufflers.

The original drivetrain, too, is pretty much bulletproof; Wells did not modify the transmission or the coupling device. Torque goes to the optional Torsen differential and 3.73:1 gearset, enabling a long-legged 1.86:1 final drive ratio for those victimless top-end rants out there in great Mojave.

So black . . . or green? Does it really matter when the loud pedal rules?

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