Eric English
October 1, 2003
Photos By: E. John Thawley, III

Horse Sense:
APC's mission to promote the Mustang as a viable import alternative is certainly one we support. V-8 aficionados or not, more Mustang customers mean good news for Ford, and the trickle-down effect will be good news for the rest of us with a hunger for cubic inches. Besides, APC bodywork would just as easily be apropos in a big-horsepower V-8 application-assuming you like being noticed for more than your chassis-dyno exploits.

Laid out before you is a machine that clearly represents one end of the modified automotive continuum. Call it over the top, in your face, extreme, or whatever you will, but the bottom line for American Products Company's '02 Mustang convertible is that it was meant to be seen-big time. Of course, building a rolling showcase is the perfect marketing tool for a company in the body kit and accessory biz, and here you have APC's Mustang wares all wrapped into one outrageous package-just as it debuted at the SEMA convention in late 2002.

Mustang traditionalists may not be familiar with APC, but the company is a major player in the import aftermarket, and it is making a move to do the same on the domestic side of the equation. Its Ford realm includes a large selection of Focus wares, but our obvious interest here is the company's newly introduced Mustang componentry. APC's Larry Ashley and Brent Hattan joined forces with Ford to hatch one of the wildest six-cylinder Mustangs on the planet, highlighting APC's new Demon body kit, carbon-fiber hood, and three-piece rear wing. So why the 3.8 V-6? APC and Ford figured doing things a bit differently would garner more attention than a traditional, hot V-8 car, and they may be right. Call it appealing to a different crowd, perhaps the import types. No matter, it's been a long time since we've seen a six-cylinder Mustang taken to the nth degree, and there's no denying the maximum effort put forth here.

The Demon body kit, currently available for '99-and-newer Mustangs, features a urethane front fascia, ABS side skirts, and a rear fascia extension. Optional Medusa fender flares weren't present on the car during our photo shoot, but they are designed to mate exclusively with the pieces previously described. As for APC's carbon-fiber hood, "W3" rear wing, LED mirrors, and EuroTec tail lenses, they're all present and accounted for here, providing the perfect look-at-me statement when combined as a whole.

Prior to fitting the body mods, the '02 was stripped to bare metal, followed by a new PPG topcoat in Volkswagen Snap Orange via the hands of Doug Starbuck and Matt Etchinson. Hot Wheels graphics seem appropriate for a car that's a full-size incarnation of every kid's favorite miniature, but that's not the entire story. It seems the APC 'Vert will be added to the Hot Wheels lineup in the near future, so anyone with $1.99 will be able to pick up their own rendition from a nearby toy store.

Whether full-sized or pint-sized, wild styling is what Hot Wheels are all about, and nowhere is there a bigger contributor to the effect than the 20-inch Maido GR5 rims-measuring 9 inches in width up front, and a whopping 11 inches out back. Pirelli rubber bands wrap the gunmetal-finished, three-piece beauties in an out-there 245/35ZR20 front and 285/35ZR20 rear size, while a four-piston Force 10 brake kit from Stainless Steel Brakes puts the halt to forward motion. Hotchkis suspension bits complement the steamroller rubber, including the company's springs, sway bars, control arms, and caster/camber plates.

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Under the lightweight hood, you'll find what APC thinks may be a strong alternative for a crowd raised on imported four-cylinder buzz saws. Kenny's Garage in Brea, California, installed the Vortech blower and Nitrous Express N20 system, and though the tandem power adders would no doubt turn the normally docile 3.8 into a veritable neck snapper, we figure they would also do some serious snapping of the current factory internals. Those emulating the APC theme would be best off choosing either the blower or the bottle in conjunction with a stock bottom end, yet the over-the-top theme shows what could be done given a bulletproof build. Other than the power adders, the only engine mods include a set of MAC full-length headers, which team with a MAC H-pipe and after-cat system.

One look at the interior of this '02 convert and you'll see it's easily the equal of the wild exterior. APC products abound, including the steering wheel, Speed Glo gauges, pedals, and shift knob, along with a host of custom pieces. Bush Custom Upholstery stitched the suede and leather Recaro seats, while covering the factory dash with the same. Fiberglass guru Gary Bell fabbed the console and stereo enclosure, which is filled with nearly everything imaginable from MA Audio. Multiple amps, subwoofers, and speakers bring the tunes nonstop, and should that ever grow tiresome, there's always the in-dash DVD-preferably viewed from a standstill, thank you very much.

No matter your preference for mild or wild, it's easy to be impressed by APC's dream 'Stang. Yet another take on the most successful ponycar of all time combines newly available products for the masses, with one-off custom work that's worth plenty of oohs and aahs. While it's not everything to everybody, APC's '02 V-6 is clearly an interesting alternative for those with an extroverted personality. Want to be seen? Your show pony awaits.

5.0 Tech Specs
Engine And Drivetrain
Block Stock
Displacement 3.8
Crank Stock
Rods Stock
Pistons Stock
Heads Stock
Camshaft Stock
Intake Stock
Throttle Body Stock
Mass Air Stock
Fuel System Stock w T-Rex booster pump
Exhaust MAC long-tube headers, H-pipe, and after-cat system
Power Adder Vortech S-Trim, NX Direct-Port System
Transmission Stock w/B&M shifter
Rearend Stock

Electronics
Engine Management Stock
Ignition Stock
Gauges APC Speed Glo and Inferno

Suspension And Chassis
Front Suspension
K-Member Stock
Struts Stock
Springs Hotchkis
Brakes Stainless Steel Brakes Force 10
Wheels Maido GR5 three-piece
Tires Pirelli 245/35-20
Rear Suspension
Traction Device Hotchkis upper and lower control arms
Shocks Stock
Springs Hotchkis
Brakes Stainless Steel Brakes
Wheels Maido GR5 three-piece
Tires Pirelli 285/35-20