Michael Johnson Associate Editor
June 1, 2007
What can you say about a Vibrant Red Mustang GT? When it comes to Dave's, you can say a lot, especially about the exterior. Underneath the Vibrant hue is an ABC Exclusive Mach 1-style fiberglass hood, a Design Concepts '93 Cobra-style wing, a Cervini's Auto Designs '93 Cobra rear bumper cover, and a Cervini's Stalker front bumper cover. Other exterior highlights include diamond-clear headlights, '93 Cobra taillights, and chrome '99 Cobra wheels on all four corners. MAC progressive-rate lowering springs bring the body closer to earth for a more aggressive stance. The overall combination works-Dave's GT is a multiple local and national award winner.

Horse Sense: The '92 Mustangs featuring a red interior are different from earlier models in the fact that everything is red, including the dash and the steering wheel. In earlier models, the steering wheel and other trim parts-certain areas of the dash, for example-were black.

Dave Stinson fell in love with cars-and more importantly, Mustangs-in "one quick motion," he says. His dad was a car dealer, and he always had something cool in the driveway. Dave never took interest until his dad brought home an '87 LX convertible. It wasn't a 5.0, but Dave bought it and had a blast with it in high school. "The poor car had more problems than I can even name, and eventually I had to replace it," he says.

Dave must have fallen and hit his head, because he began looking for a '94-'97 Trans Am. Thankfully, he was saved when this '92 GT convertible turned up on display at a family friend's dealership. Dave checked it out and drove it home the next day. "It was bone-stock with only 55K on the clock. The only owner was a middle-aged lady who babied it." He intended to upgrade from his previous troublesome four-banger into a V-8 car, but with the GT, he suddenly had the coolest car within his group of friends. "How can you beat that?" Dave says. He found a way: by adding chrome '95 Cobra R replica wheels, which-unknown to him at the time-was the beginning of a new obsession.

The biggest problem Dave had to overcome with the car was his lack of automotive knowledge. Anyone who has ever owned a Mustang knows they're not without mechanical issues, especially when modified. Dave says at first, he didn't know a boxed-end wrench from a monkey wrench. "It took a while to get the nerve to open the toolbox, but I eventually did, and the rest is history." He got his mechanical feet wet by adding a polished stock intake and a cold-air kit. Even with the relatively simple cold-air kit install, Dave gained more confidence in what he could do to the car.

During the winter of 2000, just a few months into ownership, Dave began piling up parts to begin the car's transformation. He added a few exterior components, along with exhaust and suspension improvements. He addressed the stereo situation as well, but that was just "a simple 12-inch sub sitting in the middle of the trunk with an amp hooked to it." We've heard of worse component arrangements, and we've heard similar simple systems that sounded great.

As time went on, Dave continued to learn as much as possible on the mechanical side of things. "By getting tips and tech info from various Web sites and tutorials, I found myself quickly learning how to work on cars as I began building my own." Still, he kept it simple by adding more chrome, but found himself running out of items he could buy or have chromed. When that happened, he polished everything in sight and hid wiring harnesses and various solenoids in the fenderwells. Dave's friend Paul Wallace taught him how to polish metals and gave tips on how to weld up all the underhood holes the Fox Mustangs are infamous for.

"Over the years, I've polished everything from the steering rack to the master cylinder," Dave says. That signals to us that Dave has a problem-he even sanded the engine-mount area, though he acknowledges it'll never be seen once the engine is in the car. While sanding down the engine-mount area might be considered bordering on obsessive-compulsive tendencies, such operations gave Dave the confidence he needed to take something apart and put it back together again. Dave realized that his GT was just a huge collection of nuts and bolts, and it wasn't too hard to work on. "So I just never stopped, and so far, it's done me quite well."

The hard work paid off when Dave began showing the car in 2002. The GT took First Place in six of the seven shows it attended, but that meant the car also became too nice to be a daily driver. So Dave bought a '90 T-bird Super Coupe for everyday duty. "It allowed me to take my time with upcoming modifications and not worry about downtime," he says. The Super Coupe also presented Dave his first experience at the wheel of a supercharged car, and everyone who has been in that situation realizes that a supercharger is a must-have. A Vortech A-Trim supercharger was added to the combination, and it shouldn't shock you to know it was a polished kit.

With the newfound horsepower underhood, as well as the desire for new wheels and thoughts of a five-lug swap, Dave finally decided to go for it. He added a 13-inch Bullitt disc-brake system up front attached to SN-95 spindles with a '95 GT rear-disc setup out back using '95 Cobra axles. "Add in drilled and slotted rotors, a '95 GT master cylinder, the appropriate adapter plates, and a proportioning valve, and I was ready to roll," he says. His friends Jamie Porcello and Dan Hyland helped with the brake swap, and Dave completed the five-lug swap with chrome '99 Cobra wheels.

"I take pride in knowing that the car was built by myself-with the help of my friends," Dave says. He has become "Mustang Dave" at his local parts stores, and when they ask him what car he's working on, they already know what his response will be: "It's custom."