Eric English
January 1, 2006
Photos By: Chuck James

We won't waste any time telling you about the difficulties Mike Arndt faces on a daily basis. Some six years ago at age 16, Mike lost the use of his legs in a motocross accident. He now gets around under his own power via a wheelchair. If you're able-bodied and inclined to bemoan life's ups and downs, get a grip, and walk a mile next to Mike. You'll find a young man who doesn't know the word "quit" and who deals with life's blows in a matter-of-fact and upbeat manner.

Despite his devastating injury, Mike has hardly curled up in a ball and devoted his life to mastering a library of video games. Instead, he's determined to accomplish the kinds of tasks that folks with all their abilities often struggle with. He is pursuing a degree in graphic design at his local community college, and he spends non-school days working at his dad's automotive upholstery shop. Did we mention Mike and his dad, Karl, are also responsible for the hard-charging Mustang you see here? Yep, the father/son team have taken a bone-stock '94 GT convertible and transformed it into the kind of ride anybody would be proud of-all of it after Mike's accident.

While 342 cubes come from a 4.00-inch bore FRPP Sportsman block and a Scat 3.40-inch forged crank, the super-sanitary engine compartment comes from Mike's untold hours under the hood. Mike's dad welded up all the unnecessary holes, while Mike himself smoothed them all, relocated much of the wiring, and polished all the brightwork. The turbo setup is fully homegrown, but dyno numbers indicate it's doing the trick. By the time you read this, Mike should have lots of pictures at www.geocities.com/turbo
fiveslow/index.html.

Mike tells us he's long been mechanically inclined, beginning with buying, fixing, and selling broken motorcycles with his brother since the age of 12. An interest in two wheels naturally led to four, and among the choices available, Mike took a particular interest in Mustangs. What was once only a dream became reality in the summer of 2000, when a local car dealer brought the GT to the upholstery shop for a new top. Mike was at home that day, and his dad immediately called to encourage him to come down and take a look. It seems the dealer was anxious to unload the Mustang since it didn't fit the high-end BMW/Mercedes profile his lot normally stocked. On the other hand, Mike could barely contain the excitement he felt for the clean Vibrant Red ragtop, and a deal soon found the '94 at home in the Arndt garage.

In short order, Mike's dad fitted the hand controls that are necessary for Mike to pilot a Mustang as effectively as anyone else. This was followed by a few performance bolt-ons, which introduced both generations of Arndts to the expansive world of the Mustang aftermarket. Underdrive pulleys, 3.73 gears, and exhaust mods preceded Mike's first trips down the quarter-mile, which became a self-described "reality check" when the timers showed disappointing low 15s. Jaded by his experience with highly responsive, high-strung dirt bikes, Mike just had to have more.