Michael Johnson Associate Editor
August 1, 2003
Photos By: Chuck James

Horse Sense: Carl had a friend of a friend who owned a big-block '67 Camaro four-speed coupe. During a race between Carl's Mustang and the Camaro, Carl ran two-to-three car lengths ahead. A friend riding along to videotape the race filmed the majority of footage through the Mustang's rear window. Carl even gave the Camaro a second chance, but the results were the same.

A collision technician by trade, Carl took advantage of his knowledge when it came to his coupe's restoration. "Although I enjoy doing graphics and flame jobs for other people on the side, I didn't want that for myself," Carl says of his coupe's paint scheme. "I picked out a color that I really liked and something that would match the gray interior."He chose an older Honda color called Blue Poly from PPG. The 7-mile-deep paint covers a mostly stock exterior, with the exception of a Cervini's Auto Designs 4-inch cowl hood and Steeda emblems. With classic Weld Racing Draglites at each corner and all the attention to detail, Carl's coupe caught our eye at the '02 NMRA World Finals at Bowling Green, Kentucky.

Here at 5.0&SF, we're not so big-headed to say that most people build their Mustangs in order to be in the magazine, but we are fairly certain there's a large population who subscribe to that notion. After all, it justifies all the hard work you put into a car when a national magazine recognizes the great lengths you went to in order to have a show-stopping ride. It's a reward for all the blood, sweat, and tears poured out over the length of an automotive transformation to hear the words, "Hey, we're from 5.0 Mustang & Super Fords magazine and we'd like to photograph your Mustang for a feature."

OK, maybe it does kinda sound like we have big heads, but we really are pretty cool guys who love Mustangs [All of us except Johnson, that is. -Ed]. Just ask Carl Meek from Luebbering, Missouri. After we took photos of his car at the '02 NMRA World Finals, he said it was "more important than any trophy I have received."

It took Carl four years to get the '89 coupe to its feature-ready status. He bought the car in 1997 after he and his brother spotted it for sale in a commuter parking lot while driving home from a July 4th party. It was around midnight, but they decided to take a look anyway. "This was an untouched vehicle," Carl says. The car was Oxford White with a blue interior. "The interior was my last choice," he says, "but it was supposed to be a daily driver, so who cared?" Carl called the owner the next day and learned the car had 93,000 miles on it and an asking price of $4,500. At some point after Carl and his brother first looked at the car, someone broke into it and tried to steal the factory AM/FM stereo cassette player (man, someone was desperate). The damage to the car lowered its price and Carl picked up the coupe for a measly $3,700.

Carl bought a used driver-side window for $50, installed it, and had a perfectly good car. With his collision technician background, he discovered the coupe had never been in an accident, all its VINs were in place, it had original paint, and the air silencer was still there. "I had a cherry in my hands," Carl says. "This car was not a rattletrap like my '88 GT that I bought on its second total."

Unfortunately, the cherry popped its AOD two months later. "I guess I knew why they were selling it," Carl says. "I pushed the car into my garage where it sat for a year." While he had the money to fix the AOD, Carl wasn't sure if that was the direction in which he wanted to go. He still had the rattletrap GT, which featured a new striped paint job, a Compucar nitrous kit, 3.55 gears, and exhaust work. "I wanted more out of my coupe," Carl says. So he sold the GT to the first person who looked at it. He then began the coupe's transformation.

Attention to detail extends into the coupe's interior. Carl added '97 GT seats and had Jeff's Upholstery reupholster the rear seat to match. Auto Meter Sport Comp series gauges keep Carl abreast of what's going on under the hood. He even wired the TCI Line-Loc into the left cruise button on the steering wheel. A Steeda Tri-Ax shifter sticks up through the transmission tunnel with a Steeda knob.

"I had every part off the car that would come off," he says. "I wanted a show car with a lot of muscle under the hood." Although he enjoyed applying graphics and flame jobs for other people, he wanted to keep the coupe on the subtle side with a simple, stock appearance. He also wanted something that would blend well with a gray interior, since he replaced the car's blue interior. The color he picked is called Blue Poly, which is an older Honda color. The color reminds us of Reef Blue, which was available in 1993. It can look green at one moment and blue the next. One thing's for sure-the body and paint on Carl's car are extremely clean and accent one of the nicest automotive packages to ever leave Detroit (or any other place for that matter).

Carl also wanted the car's engine compartment to match that of the exterior. This is where his dad, Ralph, and his best friend, Jim Kempf, enter the picture. Carl's dad owns a '68 Mustang with a black engine compartment with little wiring under the hood. Carl wanted to mimic that look with the coupe. He filled in 80 small holes under the hood (you know the ones), while Jim helped clean up the wiring harness and eliminate the wires not needed with the carburetor setup.

That kind of attention to detail is what drew us to photograph Carl's coupe. "Being a feature in a national magazine is about the most flattering reward after all the hard work I put into this car," Carl says. "It's what most people sitting in the car show at big events hope for-to be the chosen one."

"I did not want to gamble with an engine builder telling me how much horsepower he could build, and in the end not realize those numbers," Carl says. Instead, he chose a Ford Racing Performance Parts 385hp 351 crate engine (M-6007-A351R). "I knew Ford's crate engine would have the horsepower it advertised," Carl says. "I am very pleased with it." Behind the Windsor is a Tremec TKO with a Lakewood scattershield and a Ram clutch. The BBK 151/48-inch short-tube headers are a tight fit with the Windsor's increased height combined with the Lakewood scattershield. A MAC H-pipe and after-cat finish up the exhaust duties. With just 500 miles on the car, Carl has run a best of 12.74 at 108 mph on BFGoodrich Drag Radials.

5.0 TECH SPECS
ENGINE AND DRIVETRAIN
Block FRPP Sportsman 351
Bore 4.000
Stroke 3.500
Displacement 351 ci
Crank FRPP
Rods FRPP
Pistons FRPP
Cam FRPP Z303
Heads FRPP aluminum GT40X
Valves 1.94/1.54
Intake FRPP/Edelbrock Victor Jr.
Carburetor Holley 750 HP
Fuel Pump Holley Blue
Headers BBK short-tube 15¼8-in
Exhaust MAC H-pipe, MAC Flowpath mufflers and tailpipes
Transmission Tremec TKO, Lakewood scattershield, Ram clutch, Steeda Tri-Ax, FRPP aluminum driveshaft
Rearend 8.8, stock axles, Powertrax Performance Locker differential, 3.73 gears
ELECTRONICS
Engine Management None
Ignition MSD 6AL, MSD Blaster coil, FRPP 9mm plug wires, Motorcraft plugs
Gauges Auto Meter
SUSPENSION AND CHASSIS
FRONT SUSPENSION
K-Member Stock
Control Arms Stock
Springs Cut stock
Struts Stock
Brakes Stock
Wheels Weld Racing Draglites 15x6
Tires BFGoodrich Radial T/A 215/65/15
REAR SUSPENSION
Springs Stock
Shocks Competition Engineering
Control Arms Southside Machine uppers and lowers
Brakes Stock
Wheels Weld Racing 15x8
Tires BFGoodrich Drag Radials 275/50/15
Chassis Stiffening Competition Engineering subframe connectors, welded torque boxes