Eric English
April 1, 2002

Horse Sense: With nearly stock brakes, Michael Pamintuan's choice of the Borbet Type A is tough to beat. Not only do the wheels look terrific, but also they virtually conceal the fact the car still sports rear drums. Too bad the Type As are out of production, but you get the point. On the other hand, the more open spoke design of Michael Koehnen's OZ Racing rims easily reveal the rear disc upgrade from Stainless Steel Brakes, though their 16-inch size is a nice balance with the modest-sized rotors all the way around. The bottom line? Large, open-spoke wheels should have correspondingly large rotors behind them. Give it some thought before bolting those 18-inchers over stock binders-that is, unless you dig the wimpy import look!

The introduction of fuel injection to the 5.0 Mustang scene in 1986 was the beginning of a performance era that even the most optimistic gearheads could scarcely have imagined. Think about the performance milestones that are continually being set, along with the hardware that's now commonplace. We're talking sub-seven-second e.t.'s and 200-mph trap speeds in Pro 5.0, eight-second passes on 10.5-inch tired Outlaw cars, the availability of a vast array of aftermarket cylinder heads, beefy blocks, stroker crankshafts, and the advent of 500, 600, and even 700hp "street" cars.

They aren't the latest speed parts, but Michael Koehnen's A-Trim and Edelbrock Performer work well.

Imagine being transported through time-from 1986 to 2001-and being overwhelmed by the above-mentioned items for the first time. You'd probably think you'd died and gone to 'Stang heaven, or at least been beamed to another planet. And while all this heady stuff gets most of the ink on these pages, many enthusiasts continue to enjoy a simpler and more affordable approach-you probably know them as bolt-on cars. We'd even opine that these rides drive a majority of the performance aftermarket, since it's high-volume production that represents real profit for a manufacturer. The point is, bolt-on cars tend to be overlooked in our modern age of excess. That's a shame, since in many ways they define what Mustangs are all about-good looks, outstanding performance, user-friendly modifications, and an affordable price.

Instead of another racer or big-horsepower street-car feature, we decided to bring you the Fox-chassis'd GTs of Michael Pamintuan and Michael Koehnen, both of whom hail from the Seattle, Washington, area. While we don't want to minimize the significant dollar investment these cars represent, neither of them is a break-the-bank effort that'll forever destine you to a fleabag apartment-or warrant a set of divorce papers from the spousal unit. Nor do they require lots of fabrication or custom installation items that only a first-class shop can make happen. The key to both cars was starting with a prime example of the breed, choosing a nice combination of parts, and spending the time and effort to make them shine. We figure if you play your cards right, a similar ride could be in your garage for noticeably less than the cost of a new GT. These are the sort of real-world Mustangs that are actually within reach for many of you.

We always laugh when we see a car advertised as "better than new." Sure, pal, the cigarette odor and curbed wheels qualify as a big improvement over assembly-line freshness-yeah, right. Well, in this case, we've found the rare car that qualifies. Michael Pamintuan purchased the bone-stock '90 GT in 1994 from a gentleman he describes as being "as anal and meticulous as I am." Those characteristics may or may not be appealing in-say-your boss, but you couldn't ask for a better combination in a previous owner. Just 13,000 miles had accumulated during those first four years, with a scant 6,000 more turning over on Michael's watch. He's a disciplined guy, too, limiting himself to one or two upgrades a year as his budget allows, but detailing the car to the nines all the while. In the absence of a bottomless bank account, here's proof that sweating the details can take you a long way.