Dale Amy
June 1, 2004

Horse Sense: Jeff likes DuPont's Imron polyurethane enamel (originally concocted for commercial and heavy-duty vehicles) for its gloss, durability, and chemical resistance-all desirable traits for paint on a black street car.

There are two divergent schools of thought on Mustang modification. The visual school will happily spend all available time and resources painting, plating, preening, and polishing, so as to make theirs the most handsome steed in the corral. The other automotive alma mater gives top-grade points to sheer omnipotent power above all else, and if this excess of energy results in some velocity-induced chips in the paint, or burnout rash on the rear quarters, then so be it, because these are badges of horsepower honor. Thankfully, there's some crossover between these two philosophies, else we wouldn't have many feature cars to fill these pages. But you can usually pick out from which thought-school their owners graduated.

By our reckoning, Jeff Zerbst seems to have spent an equal number of years absorbing the teachings of each school, resulting in his '95 GT having enough Hollywood good looks to take First Place at the massive annual Detroit Autorama show, while still being regularly Motown-driven to the tune of a soul-satisfying, 517 rear-wheel horsepower and 535 lb-ft of torque.

Now, taking a monochrome black, road-going Mustang into the unflattering, flaw-magnifying indoor lighting of Autorama and coming out with the tallest trophy in class is no mean feat. It is testimony to the skills Jeff employs daily at Browny's Auto Body Experts-a shop he shamelessly promotes as "the best place to have your hot rods built and painted in the metro Detroit area." Our photos can't do justice to the laser-straight panels and ocean-deep Imron ebony finish that reflect not only his talent with a paint gun, but also his willingness to spend untold hours in surface prep and wet sanding. The fact that his GT's Cobra R-style fiberglass hood is every bit as die-straight as the surrounding metal is further evidence.

This attention to sheetmetal detail continues underhood, where the inner fender aprons have been shaved and likewise treated to multiple coats of DuPont's glossy finest. You can see that even the distributor cap and alternator are matching gloss black, and that virtually everything aluminum has been polished to a near-chrome appearance. But it's the engine those accessories are appended to that demonstrates Jeff is at least as obsessed with power as with appearances.

It's a fairly good clue that a guy's serious when he starts off with a Ford Racing Performance Parts R302 block and then adds a 3.250-inch Scat 4340 steel crank for 331 ci. And topping Scat's steel H-beam rods with JE forged pistons of a mere 8.4:1 compression is a sure sign the cylinders are about to get a boost, in this case from an intercooled ATI-ProCharger D-1SC blower, pullied for about 11 psi. Heads are O-ringed Canfields, ported by Kinetic Racing Engines (which also assembled the engine) to flow 300 cfm on the intake side and 240 cfm on the exhaust, and are teamed with a likewise-ported Holley SysteMAX II intake combo. Teaching good road manners to the monster fell to Lidio Iacobelli at Alternative Auto Performance, and we suspect Lidio had something to do with the choice of a bank-fired FAST engine management system, with wideband oxygen sensor. What the FAST setup couldn't control, however, was the car's AODE automatic, so a Baumann Engineering "Baumannator" transmission control system was called into duty, along with the same firm's Level 5 shift-improvement kit and a 3,500-stall Precision Industries 10-inch converter.

But the spending didn't stop there, as Jeff wanted handling to match his horsepower. Up front, this meant H&R springs, and Bilstein Sport struts bolted to Maximum Motorsports caster/camber plates. The front discs are Cobra-spec and wear Hawk pads, hidden behind polished '01 Cobra rims mounting 255/40 Nitto 555s. Out back, the rims have been widened to a mighty 10.5 inches so 315/35 555R drag radials would have something to hang onto.

Centering the rear suspension is a Maximum Motorsports torque arm with Panhard bar, along with the same firm's lower control arms, on which H&R springs are perched. Shocks are Bilsteins, and the rear discs are stock but gripped by Hawk pads. Not really a drag racer, Jeff has made only a single trip to the strip, where through 3.73 gears, the GT managed an 11.2-second pass at 125 mph with a 1.8-second 60-foot.

That's not bad for a car that had originally been owned by "a guy that hated it, never drove it, and had traded it in on a Chevy pickup." We'd say the GT was lucky to end up with Mr. Zerbst, a man well schooled in both philosophies of Mustang modification.

5.0 Tech Specs
ENGINE AND DRIVETRAINT/A girdle
BlockDifferential
FRPP R302Eaton Posi (31 spline); 3.73:1
Boregears
4.03Subframes
StrokeGlobal West tubular
3.25 
DisplacementELECTRONICS
331 ciEngine Management
CrankFAST
Scat 4340 steelIgnition
RodsMSD 6AL
Scat 4340 steel H-beamGauges
PistonsAuto Meter
JE 8.4:1 
CamSUSPENSION AND CHASSIS
Crane customFront Suspension
HeadsK-member
Canfield, ported by KineticStock
Racing EnginesControl Arms
ValvesStock
2.08 / 1.60Springs/Struts
IntakeH&R/Bilstein
Holley SysteMAX IIBrakes
Throttle BodyCobra; Hawk Performance pads
BBK 75mmWheels
InjectorsCobra, polished
50-lb/hr BoschTires
Fuel PumpNitto 555, 255/40ZR-17
Weldon 2015Rear Suspension
HeadersSprings
Kooks custom 1 3/4-inH&R
MufflersShocks
SpinTech 3-in front exit for sideBilstein
exhaustControl Arms
Power AdderMaximum Motorsports
ATI-ProCharger D-1SCTorque Arm
IntercoolerMaximum Motorsports
Modified ATIBrakes
TransmissionStock; Hawk Performance pads
AODE, Baumannator controlledWheels
ConverterCobra, widened to 10.5 in
Precision Industries 10-in, 3,500-Tires
stallNitto 555R drag radials
Rearend 
8.8-in w/welded axle tubes and