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

When Jamie Lewis began building his '89 GT into a predictable hot street 'Stang, he no doubt envisioned encounters with traditional American muscle-even the occasional import-but likely not the high-dollar sports cars from old-world Europe. Of course, the competition-both real and perceived-changed, once Jamie redirected his efforts toward the road courses of central California. That's when things became serious, and what at one time was a typical hot rod 5.0 was taken off the streets and transformed into a legitimate corner carver.

So how has Jamie come to hang with, and in certain instances outrun some of the big-dollar near-exotics he encounters at tracks such as Thunderhill, Button- willow, and Laguna Seca? High on the list is a suspension from the gurus at Griggs Racing, which up front includes the company's coilover spring/strut setup with Koni yellows, a tubular K-member, and tubular control arms. Moving rearward finds a Griggs torque arm and Panhard bar, with more Griggs/Koni coilovers and tubular lower control arms. A Griggs frame kit and a Competition Engineering six-point rollbar provide a rigid unibody from which the suspension can work its magic, while 17x9 Cobra R wheels and Kumho Victoracers stick it all to the ground.

Equally critical to respectable lap times are a competent braking system, in this case based on '95 Cobra fronts and '86 SVO rears, augmented by Hawk blue pads and an adjustable proportioning valve. The SVO theme continues out back, where a boosted four-banger's factory five-lug axles are turned by a 3.55 gearset in an otherwise stock 8.8. Much of the build was accomplished in Jamie's home garage, but he's quick to thank the crew at Santa Clara's Apex Motorsports for extensive advice and wrenching in the more technically challenging areas of the project.

Making the most of any straightaway longer than a driveway is a pumped-up small-block, with the sounds and torque to take it to any Germanic six-cylinder. When dealing with such classic American architecture, it doesn't take the for-eigner's four-valve cylinder heads, variable valve-timing, or multiple cam-shafts to get the job done. The stock bottom end is actually more than adequate when assembled and balanced by the competent hands of Steiner Racing Engines, featuring a 0.030 overbore and filled with forged TRW slugs. Real power production comes from the stuff bolted on top of the modest recip-rocating assembly, with Gromm Racing- ported Brodix ST 5.0 aluminum heads among the biggest contributors. An E303 cam, a Cobra intake, a 70mm throttle body, and BBK long-tube headers are other players, with a supporting cast of a Crane ignition, a 255-lph fuel pump, and a Race Systems-tuned computer chip in the EEC IV.

In the cosmetics department, Jamie chose to remove all the GT body cladding save for the front fascia. He added a fully functional custom rear wing and bathed all the sheetmetal in a white w/blue pearl PPG topcoat. The results culminate in a Mustang that isn't likely to be mistaken for another as it makes the circuit of various local club open-track venues, an activity Jamie reports partaking in a half dozen or so times per season.

In the end, Jamie spent several years getting his '89 GT to where it is today. He now gets an adrenaline rush every time he has a chance to mix it up with the traditional sports car crowd. He doesn't claim to have the fastest car at the track, nor does he act as if he dominates every high-dollar machine that dares show its face. Nevertheless, showing some serious Mustang hiney to the Euro-elitists is something that happens on a fairly regular basis. "It has to be a hit to a Porsche owner who paid over 60K, when a 25K Mustang passes them. I love it." Amen, brother. Amen.

Block Stock
Displacement 306 ci
Crank Stock
Rods Stock
Pistons TRW
Cam {{{Ford}}} Racing Performance Parts E303
Heads Brodix ST 5.0
Intake FRPP Cobra
Injectors Bosch
Fuel Pumps 255-lph in-tank
Fuel Lines Earl’s
Fuel Rails Vortech
Headers BBK 15¼8-in long-tubes
Exhaust Bassani 3-in X-pipe,
MagnaFlow mufflers, turndowns
Power Adder None
Transmission Stock T5 five-speed
Rearend 8.8 w/3.55 gears and SVO axles
Engine Management EEC IV w/Race
  Systems chip
Ignition Crane HI-6 w/ Taylor
  spark plug wires
Gauges Auto Meter
K-Member Griggs Racing tubular
Control Arms Griggs Racing
Springs Griggs Racing coilover
Struts Koni yellow
Brakes '95 {{{Mustang}}} Cobra
Wheels '95 Cobra R
Tires Kumho Victor Racer 255/40-17
Springs Griggs Racing coilover
Shocks Koni yellow
Control Arms Griggs Racing
Brakes '86 SVO
Wheels '95 Cobra R
Tires Kumho Victor Racer 275/40-17
Cage Competition Engineering
Chassis Stiffening Griggs Racing
subframe connectors