E. John Thawley III
March 16, 2006
Photos By: Tom Wilson
Starting with a Saleen SSC package tray, Joe had Motostyle craft animproved hatch section with generous hidden storage areas below. Therollbar is by Alston, and is also an SSC part.

Of course, the aluminum polishing is all custom work. Joe evendisassembled the car's original A/C compressor and alternator so theirhousings could be polished or powdercoated rather than buy off-the-shelfbeauty units. The polished stainless steel lines were bent byJoe--they're easiest to spot connecting to the fuel rails--and theoverflow bottle on the shock tower is a CSR unit modified to accept astainless steel downtube so it won't make a mess should it ever vent.Joe also welded in 90-degree stainless fittings and connected them withvinyl tubing to give the bottle a level gauge.

Vinyl-shrink hose "clamps," which are easy to overlook at first,definitely streamline the engine compartment. These Power Grip clampsare essentially giant heat-shrink tubes sold by Gates Rubber. Joe saysthey hold like crazy, but you have to work some to remove them.

Cooling duties are handled by the first double-pass,double-fan-and-shroud radiator assembly Joe ever built. Nothing lessthan a reengineered cooling system, these radiators have been fastsellers for Chicane Sport Tuning. This car does mark the longanticipated debut of Chicane's radiator cover plate--that's thefinishing bit with the "Chicane" advertising on it.

Another Chicane touch is the Fox Box, the all-metal bulkhead fitting inthe right inner fender for engine inlet air. It gives the 90mm Lightningmass air meter a useful mounting angle that's a big help in smoothlyrouting air to a blower or throttle body in naturally aspiratedapplications.

Supple leather, a slash of yellow, and Auto Meter instruments highlightthe understated custom interior. Joe Gosinski always wanted a six-gaugeinstrument cluster, but Florida 5.0 beat him to it, so theirs appearshere. The Race Gauge center cluster features a one-off 25/8-inch,carbon-fiber-faced Auto Meter boost gauge with peak and recallfunctions. It alone set Joe back $330. Nifty bits are McLaren armrestsand, for a car with no-holds-barred custom work, a stock plastic clutchquadrant--because Joe prefers it that way.

Joe found Hooker headers fit and are made well, and he bought Hooker's15/8-inch equal-length, ceramic-coated short-tube headers for this carearly on. The rest of the all-stainless, all mandrel-bent exhaust systemis Bassani, terminating in simple dump tubes. Joe will haveover-the-axle tailpipes fabbed to match by Bassani once the initialfuror dies down. No matter what, though, Joe won't let the tailpipes bevisible because they clutter the lines.

Custom work around the Chicane-built transmission crossmember wasrequired by the time Joe fit the D&D-sourced T56 transmission. It'ssupported by a McLeod flywheel, a Centerforce clutch, and an old-styleSaleen short-throw shifter. Joe says he found the aluminum driveshaft inhis shop's parts pile, and the rear axle is standard hot-rod 8.8-inchfare: 31-spline axles, Auburn locker, and 3.73 gears.

Early on, Joe fitted an all-Global West suspension and stiffeners, butyears before driving on it, he changed his mind, removed much of thesuspension, and went almost purely Maximum Motorsports. So now the carwears Global West subframe connectors and Delalum bushings. The Maximumgear includes the company's coilovers, torque arm, Panhard bar, and somecontrol arms. The K-member remains stock, and the bumpsteer kit isanother Roy Price custom piece.

Likewise, Joe first fitted Ford Racing Performance Parts' M-2300K kit,but later sold the front calipers and went with yellow Saleen/Alconsclampers and discs. He chromed the bolts, then decided to paint the rearcalipers yellow. Then a customer walked in with Wilwood brakes and Joeconsidered them, but ultimately decided pad knock-back would be an issuewith the race-oriented calipers. Finally, he selected a Mercedes reardisc with integrated drum parking brakes in the disc hubs. Six yearslater, that left the master cylinder, proportioning valve, and rearcalipers from the original FRPP kit when he first drove the car.

A 21-gallon Fuel Safe fuel cell and a 255-lph Walbro GS340 high-pressurepump anchor the fuel system. The cell/pump combination requiredextending the fuel-pump mount to reach the bottom of the cell. The linesto the engine compartment are stock, and they feed into Goodrichplumbing.

Inside, Joe's 5.0 continues its understated avant-garde 5.0 theme. Joepretty much had an interior going, but six weeks before debuting the carhe turned it over to Melanie and Stacie Morimoto of Motostyle. These twosisters have a long history of excellent custom interior design andexecution with Saleen, Overhaulin', and others, so Joe turned them loosewith the two-seat theme, a pair of old Recaros he had on hand, andorders to incorporate just a blaze of yellow in the otherwise grayinterior. Using luxury-car materials, a nine-piece custom carpet kit wassewed into a perfect, wrinkle-free fit. Above, suede forms the headlinerand sunvisors.

The rear shelf/seat delete again owes its inspiration to the Saleen SSCtreatment. To get started, Joe gave Motostyle an original Saleen SSCpackage tray bought at one of Saleen's annual sidewalk sales. He alsotossed in a Dugan Racing center-cap section, but in the end it was cutdown until only 6 inches of it remained, with the rest rendered incustom fiberglass until the fit was perfect. There's plenty of storagein these floor-mounted package trays--the fire extinguisher that Joe"didn't want cluttering up the car" lives there, along with the usualwax, rags, and such.

It's a great interior, one that gets better upon close inspection. Thefew exposed screws, for example, were custom colored to match theinterior.

For that matter, the entire car bears minute inspection. And for theprice, we suppose it should. "I have damn near $90,000 in it, if youcount several hundred of my hours at $70 an hour," a semi-stunned Joedivulged in a fleeting reflective moment. "But even without the labor, Iknow I have almost $62,000 in parts in it, and a lot of those werecost-plus-10 from Santa Margarita Ford." As a private effort, with nosponsorship, you now have a better idea why it took Joe over six yearsto put together his ultimate 5.0.

Ultimate 5.0. That's a good description for a Fox Mustang that redefinesthe breed. But while taking the 5.0 to new heights--in its spareelegance, cutting-edge technicalities, and retention of the core 5.0attributes of pushrod power and purposeful simplicity--Joe's hatchbackis still inarguably all-5.0. But it was done in the modern way, andready for the rest of us to follow.

5.0 TECH SPECS

ENGINE AND DRIVETRAIN

Block: '74 D4 302 block

Displacement: 347 ci

Cylinder Heads: Trick Flow

Camshaft: Nowak-supplied

Intake Manifold: '93 Mustang Cobra

Throttle Body: '90 F-150 Lightning

Power Adder: Vortech V-1, S-Trim

Exhaust Hooker: short-tubes, Bassani after-cat

Fuel System: Fuel Safe cell, Goodrich hoses, 47-lb/hr Powertrain, Dynamics injectors, Vortech fuel rails

Transmission: D&D Performance T56

Rearend: 8.8-inch, 3.73 gears, Auburn limited slip, 31-spline axles

ELECTRONICS

Engine Management: '99 EEC V w/custom programming

Ignition: Coil-on-plug

Gauges: Auto Meter

SUSPENSION AND CHASSIS

Front Suspension

K-member: Stock

A-arms: Stock

Springs: Maximum Motorsports coilover

Struts: Maximum Motorsports/Bilstein

Wheels: Ferrari 360 Modena, 18x7-in

Tires: 215/45-18

Brakes: Saleen/Alcon calipers, 13-in rotors

Rear Suspension

Springs: Maximum Motorsports coilover

Shocks: Maximum Motorsports/Bilstein

Control Arms: Maximum Motorsports

Wheels: Ferrari 360 Modena, 18x10-in.

Tires: 275/40-18

Brakes: Ford 2300K rotors, Mercedes calipers

Chassis Stiffening: Global West subframe connectors, Maximum Motorsports bracing, Alston Group rollbar