Jerry Heasley
July 19, 2007

Horse Sense: "When I saw the new '05 Mustang, which has the look of the old model, I thought it would be neat to modify and make it to look similar to an Eleanor-style car," Juan said. "Of course, I didn't want it to be stock mechanically. We modified the motor and it's a beast."

If the early bird really catches the worm, it would have to get up extremely early in the morning to catch Juan Alonso. In fact, we even had to get up at the crack of dawn. Our catch of the bright new day was a blown Mustang GT. The time was 5:30 a.m., which was later that same morning after a night of indulging at Papa's in Houston, one of the finest restaurants in the state of Texas. Words were tossed around during dinner. Everybody bench races, but dyno charts don't lie-Juan's say 471.59 hp at the rear wheels. The torque isn't so shabby at 446.7 lb-ft.

Wrapped in an Eleanor-style body kit, Juan's supercharged '05 GT was the only reason we awoke when dairy farmers were still sleeping. Josh Lowthrop led us to a building in the downtown area. His Auto-Grafix shop built the Mustang, beginning with a new GT coupe. "There's a dealership near Mr. Alonso's house called Mac Haik Ford," Josh said. "And he came in there because he saw all the different kinds of Mustangs we had modified and parked out front."

Juan joined us early Sunday morning. Before he fired up the Mustang, we got a peek at his '04 Ferrari 360 Estradale, parked inside the beautiful display building downtown. The racing Ferrari is street-legal and also has more than 400 hp, but it's still no match for the Mustang. "The Ferrari is a very nice car to drive, but if you want brutal force to feel the motor, that's the Mustang," Juan said. "It can beat the Ferrari, easily." He continued that American V-8s have displacement and torque, which makes the difference on the street. "You step on it and this car flies." Obviously, Juan is a Ford enthu-siast. He, too, gladly sacrificed sleep for the chance to show and drive his Mustang.

As president of Sands Investments, Juan has the wherewithal to own numerous exotics. He made a passing mention of a 500-plus-horsepower Porsche GT-3-that's a twin-turbo 911. The Mustang costs less than $30,000 new, and the GT-3 costs close to $200,000, so he has diverse tastes. We don't even want to get into the value of the Estradale (racing) version of the 360 Modena. Juan even owns a new mid-engine Ford GT. This man can own virtually any car that sparks his enthusiasm, and one of his rides is a new Mustang. Whether paying 30 grand or 200 grand, Juan has an enthusiast's eye for performance cars.

Color almost upset the original deal, but fortunately the dealership found a new GT with his preferred paint. Juan turned the Mustang over to Josh immediately for the mods. "He just said 'I want it as close as I can get to a modern Eleanor.'"

Everyone knows about the '67 GT-500E built by Unique Performance in Farmers Branch, Texas. That's the continuation Shelby built in the mold of the Eleanor in the remake of the movie Gone In 60 Seconds. With parameters of at least 450 hp and an Eleanor look in a good-handling package, Josh went to work. At the time, just more than a year ago, Cervini's released a body kit that fit the bill.

"The kit [C-300] that we used from Cervini's came with the front bumper that included the upper and lower billet grilles and the four lights. It has the side skirts with the side-exhaust system. It has the rear valance, the quarter-panel louvers, and the quarter-window louvers." The rear wing, however, is from Roush. Likewise, Josh opted for a gas cap from Steeda. Wheels are Raceline and staggered, with 18x8s up front and 18x10s in the rear.

A few weeks after taking these action shots, Josh installed a Tremec T56 six-speed transmission. The coupe is under constant improvement. Juan wouldn't want any old Ferrari or Porsche driver eating his beloved Mustang. Take it from us, they'd have to get up early in the morning.

To achieve the horsepower goals, Juan chose a polished ProCharger with long-tube stainless steel headers and high-flow cats.








Lowering the body 111/42 inches was a must for the sleek look Juan required. In the process, Josh beefed up the suspension with Steeda springs and an adjustable Panhard bar. Eibach front and rear sway bars, along with Roush Racing struts and shocks, tightened the chassis even more.





Inside, the hottest looking feature is the steering wheel. "We ordered a steering wheel from overseas that looked like a Nardi," Josh says. "We wanted an original look, so we went with the wood steering wheel with the silver studs." He subbed out custom woodwork on the wheel and the matching emergency brake handle, which is a Momo made for Volkswagon. Josh mounted a Saleen gauge pod featuring an AEM Airflow gauge and an Auto Meter cobalt boost gauge on the top center of the dash.