Eric English
February 1, 2004
Photos By: E. John Thawley III

Have you noticed the rising interest in six-cylinder power amongst the Mustang ranks? We see more and more modified bent sixes as we travel the country, and one look at Anthony "Big T" Favata's Laser Red drop-top clearly shows how far one man has taken the ball and run with it. And while Anthony's '00 is obviously aimed at impressing the onlookers at various SoCal car shows, it's more than a bit surprising to learn the car is driven on a daily basis-a tribute to impeccable care and a terrific detail man.

Anthony's interest in Mustangs-convertibles in particular-began at an early age. His father purchased a brand-new example of the breed in 1965, and Anthony has fond memories of top-down motoring, vintage style. Along the way, he picked up his father's attention to detail, as the '65 was always deemed worthy of the utmost care. When the elder Favata passed away in the early '80s, the pink slip for the first-year pony fell to Anthony, who began to experience firsthand what his father had long enjoyed.

In addition to the '65, Anthony has owned a variety of Mustangs that represent some of the distinctly different personas the car has fulfilled through the years. GT models include '84, '94, and '96 iterations, with a '92 LX 5.0 thrown in for good measure. In 2000, Anthony tried on the recently revised 3.8 in a coupe and was pleasantly surprised by what he found. Soon after, he stumbled onto this V-6 ragtop at a fire-sale price, and the gigantic snowball began.

Before Anthony hooked up with Joe Gosinski of Chicane Sport Tuning in Torrance, California, modifications to the '00 were minimal. But the ideas soon began hatching as fast as Anthony could open his wallet. One of the first mods was actually given by his girlfriend, Luz, as a Christmas gift in 2001, providing the cornerstone for the overall cosmetic appearance. Of course, Luz's gift was the Saleen bodykit, to which later additions included the Speedster tonneau, a leather-wrapped lightbar with a Haney wind guard, and a carbon-fiber hood. Anthony tells us the latter is a one-of-two Saleen touring hood, which features a unique transparent finish that shows the unmistakable high-tech-fiber pattern. Anthony dreamed up the cosmetics himself, while Scott Browski applied the necessary paint, and Fly Paper Graphics' Frank Mosca laid out and applied the custom horse graphics.

More Saleen themes come via the rolling stock, which has progressed from stock to Cobra Rs to the current big-inch chromies. Measuring 18x9 and 18x10 front to rear, the five-spoke Saleens are shod in Yokohama AVS Sports for plenty of grip when static tarmac gives way to rapid twisties. Even more help in the handling department comes from a Kenny Brown-enhanced suspension consisting of sport springs, Bilstein shocks and struts, caster/camber plates, a strut tower brace, and an Extreme Subframe System.

So much for the cosmetics and suspension. The bigger question is, what's cookin' under the hood? At the time these photos were taken, Chicane had mixed together the stock 190-horse, 3.8 V-6; a Vortech SQ blower; a 75mm Pro-M air meter; and a MAC after-cat exhaust combination. Such a setup won't cause a new Cobra to quake in its cam covers, but Anthony says it did put down 270 rear-wheel horses, and when teamed with 3.73 gears, it made for a 13.8-second/ 102-mph pass down the 1,320. But is it enough to satisfy? Uh, no way-and better things are on tap even as we write.