Steve Turner
Former Editor, 5.0 Mustang & Super Fords
February 5, 2007

We've long been impressed with the kind of dedication of time and monetary expenditures shown by racers giving it all to win a race. These guys take sick pride in last-minute engine rebuilds, trackside tuning, and all-night repair jobs. Racers don't do it for the money or the fame, but the thrill of beating the competition. When you think of car-show contestants, the first images that come to mind are lawn chairs, wax jobs, and spray detailers-but the car-show world is changing, and it takes more and more outrageous cars to get noticed. Car-show participants are now more like car-show combatants trying to outdo each other's wild displays of excess.

One such wax warrior is Jason Cenora of La Mirada, California. He set a much higher goal than just winning a trophy at his local Mustang show, and he aggressively sought sponsorship across the aftermarket to make his goal a reality. "I set out to build a car that would win and not be your common show car," Jason explains. "It's rare to see a highly modified Mustang at a national-level (non-Mustang) car show. I wanted to have a complete car-front to back and top to bottom. Every facet of this car has been polished, painted, powdercoated, or anodized."

With one look at the car, it's obvious Jason takes this car-show business seriously. He took the basic Saleen look to a new level. As with most of the modifications on this car, Xtreme Mustang Performance got the call to add an APM Mach II fiberglass hood, a Saleen SR wing (originally designed for the SN-95 Mustangs, but retrofitted to his New Edge car), and XMP carbon-fiber front splitters. These parts and what remains of the stock bodywork were doused in the factory Atlantic Blue hue by Merzee's Paint and Body in Santa Fe Springs, California, which serves as a nice contrast to the Performance Silver lightning graphic adorning each of the car's flanks. Of course, wheels can make or break a car's look, and Jason wouldn't go halfway there, so he added 19-inch Falken Koblenz rims wrapped in Falken rubber. In total, the car's look exhibits a subtle flash that's refreshingly uncommon on most show cars of this caliber.

Like most Mustang enthusiasts, Jason was on his way to a serious modification addiction, and it wasn't just about making the car look good. Of course, he wanted to take a less obvious approach to stand out from the crowd. "I started out with the idea of having a fast, sleek, and cool car, but the obsession took over and it's never stopped," he says. "I wanted as much power as I could get out of the stock block and heads. Most guys would rather get the ease of power out of the better-flowing Four-Valve Cobra heads. I wanted to be unique and get the most out of the original setup."

Part of his unique approach was to select a Paxton Novi 2000 supercharger, but set it up with a huge Mondo blow-off valve to give the combination that hissing turbo sound. Supporting 20 pounds of air-to-air intercooled boost and a splash of nitrous from a full-boogie Nitrous Express system is no small task. Jason turned to his friend Bob Smalls at the aptly named Bob Smalls Performance to assemble a stout Two-Valve. The result is a 0.030-over, 284ci with a forged Cobra crank, Manley H-beam rods, and JE pistons with custom valve reliefs. The stock heads received a Stage 4 port job followed by an Extrude Honing to smooth out any imperfections. Likewise, Bob worked over a Reichard Racing manifold to clear the way. Huge 0.612-inch-lift Crower cams make all the right noises.

That's one wild Two-Valve, and Jason says its good for 709 hp as it sits, with the power crossing over 900 with the juice. That's our kind of show car, and apparently most other people like it too, as Jason has to be on the verge of building a garage to house all his trophies. In 2005, he says the car brought home four Best of Show awards, seven Best Engine awards, three Best Ford/Domestic awards, and a whopping 42 first-place trophies. Since he couldn't afford to make all this happen by himself, Jason became quite adept at wooing sponsors for his car-so much so that's he's turned show-car building into a small business. He now builds cars for outfits such as Paxton to display at trade shows and the like.

"With the support of my sponsors and family, I decided to trade in the time card for the freedom of doing what most of us guys love doing most-building cars," Jason says. "On a small scale, my company, Team Xtreme Motorsports, builds promotional vehicles to fulfill company needs for media/show exposure and market research." If Jason's company builds cars like his Mustang, getting exposure should be no problem.

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Taking the flavor of a New Edge Saleen and adding his own touches, Jason Cenora created an eye-catching Mustang show star that racks up awards almost as fast as it spins the dyno rollers. The grilles are billet, and the foglight lighting is courtesy of PIA.
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You might want to put on your shades before you scope out Jason's engine compartment. Sure, there's a lot of polished metal here, but it isn't shiny to compensate for a lack of performance. With 20 pounds of Paxton boost and an NX nitrous system in reserve, this car can crank out 700-plus horsepower. A custom touch you can't see is the NX Ntercooler system that sprays nitrous on the XMP stage-three intercooler to further reduce blower discharge temperatures. That's the NX nitrous system that all but obscures the Reichard Racing intake and Accufab throttle body.
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Lambo-style doors are a seeming requirement for all high-end show cars, and Jason's GT is no exception. When the name of the game is attracting attention while the car is sitting still, this door treatment has the desired effect.
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If that wing looks familiar, it's a Saleen SR351 that was designed to provide flash and downforce on Saleen's highest-powered SN-95 Mustangs. It had to be modified to fit Jason's New Edge trunk lid, but it looks right at home.
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As with the wheels on the outside, seats make the biggest impact inside, and Jason went high-end with Recaro's heated and air-conditioned Top Line seats covered in Dominica Suede and leather. Of course, you have to crawl over the Maximum Motorsports six-point 'cage to get in them. Once there, you're dazzled by an array of Auto Meter instrumentation, while Schroth four-point harness belts make sure you stick around to see those gauges. A host of UPR billet parts provides a nice accent, and the UPR Blu Thunder shifter actuates at Tremec T56 that's been upgraded with a cryo-treated input shaft and gears.
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We like our music loud, but Jason's system is like a Pro-5.0 engine in a Focus-overkill! Of course, too much is just right on the show field, and this system-designed and installed by Advanced Car Creations in Garden Grove, California-is built to impress people inside and outside the car. A Clarion head unit in the cockpit commands two Alphasonic amplifiers, four sets of Alphasonic three-way component sets, two 8-inch subwoofers, and one 15-inch sub. The monitor in the trunk is a 15-inch by Nesa. It can hold the attention of passersby when Jason turns on the PlayStation2 and invites them to play a game.
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There's more action going on in Jason's back seat than a night at the drive-in. Two big bottles feed the NX system, while two Alphasonic amps power the audio, and several Auto Meter C2 gauges monitor voltage and amplifier temperature. If that weren't enough, Jason has a camcorder mounted to the 'cage in case he wants to capture his exploits for posterity.
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Though it's obviously his show car, Jason isn't afraid to get behind the wheel and drive it. The car definitely has a performance sound beyond the audio system. With Hooker long-tubes, a Hooker X-shape exhaust crossover, and a MagnaFlow Magnapack after-cat, the car announces its presence before it drops jaws with its look. The '00 GT has plenty of grip no matter where it goes, thanks to a full Maximum Motorsports suspension.