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.

Since these photos, both halves of the factory split port intake were Extrude Honed, a BBK 70mm throttle body was added, and a custom chip was burned by Pete Campbell at Anthony claims the changes have raised the bar to 315 hp and 285 lb-ft of torque, and that more work is on the way via a custom intercooler and engine build in order to prepare the innards for more boost. Of course, it would've been easier to make good power with a V-8, but Anthony is simply working within the confines of an automobile he really likes-not to mention the enjoyment that comes from doing things a bit differently

So how is this impressive six-banger generally received? If recent show results are any indication, quite well, thank you. The list of accolades is extensive, but perhaps none more telling than it's Best in Show status at Saleen's sixth-annual extravaganza at the company's Irvine, California, headquarters. What's more, the award is chosen by Steve Saleen himself, so you needn't wonder if Anthony's effort is really topnotch.

Block Stock
Cylinder Heads Stock
Intake Manifold Stock split-port
Camshaft Stock
Power Adder Vortech V2 SQ
Exhaust High-flow cats, MAC after-cat
system, Borla tips
Fuel Pump Chicane {{{300}}}-lph
Injectors 42-lb/hr
Transmission Stock 4R70W automatic
Rearend 7.5-in w/3.73 gears and
Eaton Posi differential
Engine Management EEC V w/chip from
Ignition Stock
Gauges Auto Meter
K-Member Stock
Struts Bilstein
Springs Kenny Brown Sport
Brakes Brembo
Wheels Saleen 18x9
Tires Yokohama AVS Sport 265/35ZR18
Shocks Bilstein
Springs Kenny Brown Sport
Brakes Brembo
Wheels Saleen 18x10
Tires Yokohama AVS Sport 295/35ZR18