Michael Johnson Associate Editor
January 1, 2007

Horse Sense: Our potential feature candidates fill out a tech sheet that includes an "In Your Own Words" section so he or she can provide more than just technical information. Some need only a single page, while others need more than what our tech sheet provides. Paul Riva owns the record for the longest document at 17 pages, but Rob Pierpont came close with 11 pages of extra, yet vital, information.

Some say the Internet has corrupted a generation, but if you're a Mustang fan (and who isn't?) you can learn a lot by letting your fingers do the talking. You learn that Fox Mustangs don't have the greatest brakes. You can learn how to make 850 hp with an otherwise stock '03-'04 Cobra. You can learn so much without having to leave the comfort of your living room-or other places we'd rather not know about. You can learn how to repair, build up, and even buy the Mustang of your dreams, but perhaps the best way to use the Web is to read about other people's problems so you can avoid them. Of course, you can also learn about that stuff in greater detail right here. For the long-form version of "do this and not that," Relay, Maryland's Rob Pierpont has the floor.

When we first saw the car, the interior of Rob's GT more resembled a '70s-style disco van with ultra-plush red seats and correspondingly atrocious carpet treatment. Other than the interior, which we couldn't get over, the car was right up our alley. That was at the '05 NMRA Motorsport Nationals at Maple Grove. Inspired by our unkind words, Rob had the interior redone by swapping out the chaise lounges for properly padded Kirkey racing seats, black carpet for the shag, and refinishing all interior panels in black. The pieces not wearing black are painted body color to lend contrast to the perfectly matched puzzle.

"My story begins like many others with a daily driven, stock '86 GT with 10 holes and a red interior," Rob says. He thought his car's handling left a lot to be desired, so within a week of owning the car, Rob added a set of Pony wheels, lowering springs, and a few Kenny Brown Performance goodies. Shortly thereafter, the Pony wheels were replaced with Cobra Rs, along with a pair of Flowmaster mufflers. "I entered a car show for a convenient parking spot in Ocean City, Maryland." Well, Rob won a trophy, and that's all it took to bait the hook.

"After that I began going to more car shows. More modifications started and every piece of chrome available was installed," he says. Furthermore, if parts could be painted, polished, or chromed, they were. He was doing well at car shows with the '86, but he grew increasingly bored with the stock body. Since Rob is an automotive painter by trade, that was the easy part-but he'd be doing more work than he originally thought.

First up was a Cervini's Auto Designs Ram Air hood purchased by Rob's wife, Melanie, but any self-respecting bodyman can't just paint and install a hood. No, Rob had to paint the front of the car in its current color, Tahitian Sunset, and blend it into the stock Currant Red with gold stripes dividing the two colors. Of course, less than a month later Rob added Saleen ground effects from Cervini's. He thought the car looked and sounded good, and had a mean stance, so he uttered the mistaken words every Mustang owner has said: "I thought I was done."

Yeah, it was done until the following winter when Rob applied new paint consisting of five colors, with four of them in BASF Chameleon. He shaved the door handles and Mike Kraft from Arbutus Auto Painting added a Bullitt-style fuel door using an S-10 bedside panel. With the exterior "done" once again, Rob applied that same work ethic to the interior by adding a rear-seat-delete kit, a custom stereo, and a Dave Vickers-installed rollbar. "Spring came and I entered my car into many car shows and I did well," he says.

Rob would like to send out big thanks to Tim Logsdon, Dennis Citrano, Mike Kraft, Matt Malinich, Chris Booker of Russel Collision Center, Dave Vickers, Richard Greene of Arbutus Auto Painting, Kenny McDaniel, the Justin's Performance Center crew, and "most importantly my wife, Melanie. Without you guys, this would not be possible."

Rob's '86, however, didn't do well at the dragstrip. He didn't think 14.80s were fast, and we'd have to agree. His friend Tim Logsdon installed a nitrous kit to remedy that problem. Rob discovered that being on the bottle is a blast. "I went through five bottles in a month," he says. As with his propensity to change the exterior of his '86, the newfound power gave him mechanical ideas, which led him to add an FRPP Sportsman B50 block, Trick Flow Twisted Wedge heads with a Track Heat intake, a B303 camshaft, a Pete Jackson gear drive, 42-lb/hr injectors, an Accufab 70mm throttle body, and a ProCharger P-1SC supercharger. Once again, Tim Logsdon of Ace Automotive was called upon to handle the mechanical changes.

With the mechanical changes implemented, Rob once again thought he was done. Of course, he was sadly mistaken. Even though he probably had the perfect street car, owning a supercharged car is not like owning a stocker. Maintenance issues rushed to the forefront, and the car's daily driver status came into question. Then there was the inevitable blown-head-gasket rite of passage every power-adder Mustang owner must endure.

With the head gasket repaired, Rob went to Flower's Automotive for a dyno session, but he was unable to get on the dyno, which meant he had to drive back home. This shouldn't be a big deal, except that it began raining hard on the way home. "I told my friend Matt, who was riding along, that we need to get home," Rob says. "The car does not handle well with bald drag radials and a spool." We're sure Matt appreciated this information but probably wouldn't have been riding along had he known this prior to the trip. "As we were driving down Interstate 695 we began slipping and sliding," Rob says. He informed Matt of the plan to get off the highway and take some back roads home, but it was too late. The car fishtailed, sending Rob and Matt into a 180-degree spin and into a Jersey wall [Johnson knows all about hitting Jersey walls.-Ed.]

The '86 took a beating at the hands of the wall. It broke one of the Cobra R wheels into three pieces, bent the axle, destroyed both quarter-panels, the roof, the rear-bumper cover, and a taillight. As you can see, the Cobra R wheels and Saleen ground effects didn't make it through the rebuild process. Rob had 450 hours to think about the lesson he had learned, which is to never drive in the rain with slicks and a spool. "It can be quite dangerous."