Dale Amy
February 1, 2008
Who would've thought a Sea Foam Green GT could look so tough? Daniel Nicholson's '92 teams the green with black in the way of the "408" stripe, the 18-inch Drift R rims, and the SVO-style scoop in the Cobra R hood. The rest of the body is factory issue.

Horse Sense: This is one really good Horse Sense. As Daniel was going through the joys and occasional trials of modifying his GT, he began to understand one critical lesson: "I learned to find one good shop and stick with it through thick and thin."

We're going to go out on a limb and suggest that Daniel Nicholson doesn't have a future in politics. Picture this: He is pulled over in this '92 GT for the trivial infraction of being clocked at 100 mph over the speed limit. Rather than act suitably remorseful and repentant, he instead asks the arresting officer what kind of car pulled him over. The officer responds that he's driving a Chevy Camaro. "You see how your car is sitting behind me?" asks Daniel. The officer responds in the affirmative-and here's where Daniel really steps in it. "I said, 'It will always be behind me!'" The result of this verbal bravado? "I mopped floors at City Hall for 40 hours as my debt to society." Anyway, Daniel's street racing days are now over, and he instead targets his beautiful GT at the car show scene.

Let's mosey on back a few years. Daniel almost missed the Mustang boat altogether, as he grew up a Mopar fan. What began the straightening of this bent life path? After serving a stint in the Marines, he took a job in the late '80s with Standard Parking, a company that manages parking operations across the country. While there, he noticed but couldn't understand why so many drivers were wrecking 5.0 Mustangs. That is, until one day when he himself was returning a customer's '90 5.0 notchback to the garage. "I almost wrecked the car on the way back, lost control, and did a 180 in the middle of downtown Chicago." This bountiful torque was enough to make Mopars a memory and pique his interest in Ford's potent Ponies.

The CHP 408 is clean, potent, and uncluttered. The water pump is an electric Meziere, and the only remaining beltdriven component is the alternator. The valve covers are by Jeff Johnson.

He owned a '97 GT for a while, but he sold it when he received a company car. After he no longer had the company car, Daniel needed a new ride. "I wanted a two-door that was good on gas," he says. While looking at another vehicle, he spied a '92 GT on a used-car lot. The car was Emerald Green with a Battleship Gray border and interior. And thus he bought his first Fox.

Like many of us, Daniel started gradually, doing nothing but the most basic of mods and using his 5.0 as a daily driver. It wasn't until it was retired from commuting status that the GT gradually began to mutate into what you see before you. A self-admitted neat freak, Daniel's first move was a repaint to what Sherwin Williams refers to as Sea Foam Green, the modern computer-match of a color-Palmetto Green-used by GM in the late '60s. This hue was shot by Mark Milstein of Capital Auto Body.

With that out of the way, the power gremlins began to pester. Daniel responded by first adding AFR heads, an E303 cam, and short-tube headers to the rebuilt original short-block. Oh, let's not forget the 150-shot of nitrous. "The first day I got the car back, I blew the stock tranny with the NOS," Dan says. "I honestly blew the tranny using spray several times after this with the stock-type tranny-even an AOD-E."

Daniel turned to a used blower, thinking he was getting a Novi 2000 from eBay, but he ended up with an SN2000. With 4.10 gears and a C4 three-speed auto, "I couldn't take the car on the highway." The engine began to overheat, with bad news in the form of radiator fluid that resembled chocolate milk. So much for the original short-block. That's when the current Coast High Performance Street Fighter 408 came onboard, along with a 'cage, a black interior in place of the original gray, and a few other additions.

The cockpit is anything but factory. Check out the missing door-panel armrests, the street rod-style window switches, and the five-point-harnessed Corbeau buckets. The area behind those seats is even more customized.

Being such a detail freak, Daniel wanted the engine bay to be uncluttered, so out came the A/C, power steering, and power brakes. A successful effort was made to hide most of the wiring/plumbing. This job was simplified by swapping to a carburetor. The 408 churns out 525 rwhp-or 610 rwhp and 557 lb-ft with the 150-shot Wilson nitrous kit. By the way, a friend invested more than 30 hours of machine work to create the twin one-off nitrous bottle brackets, so they can't be bought. Likewise, the strut-tower braces are custom-made by Hypercision.

Look closely and you may be surprised to see that the hatchback still runs four-lug wheels. That didn't stop Daniel from having Precision Brakes make a four-wheel disc setup with 14-inch rotors, at bow and stern. The rest of the chassis also received much attention, as can be seen in our 5.0 Tech Specs box. Incidentally, the underbelly is painted gloss black, leading Daniel to suggest it looks as good underneath as on top. We looked, and we won't argue.

The detail work continues in the customized cockpit with one-off touches almost everywhere, such as the aluminum "408 Street Fighter" grilles over the door speakers. The wicked sound system, by the way, is from K-Dezines, as is the center-stack gauge panel. It and the cluster are filled with Auto Meter Phantom instruments.

By way of summation, Daniel says, "I love the pure organized violence of the car." For his sake, we hope he didn't pass that tidbit along to the arresting officer.

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5.0 Tech Specs
ENGINE AND DRIVETRAINConverter
BlockTCI 10-in, 3,500-stall converter
351 WRearend
Bore8.8, 3.27:1 gearset, Eaton diff,
4.04Strange 31-spline axles
Stroke 
4ELECTRONICS
DisplacementIgnition
408ciMSD 7AL-2 Plus
CrankshaftGauges
{{{Probe}}} forgedN/A
Rods 
Probe CNC beamSUSPENSION AND CHASSIS
PistonsFront Suspension
Probe FPS flat-topK-member
Compression RatioQA1
10:01Control Arms
CamshaftsUPR
Comp Cams hydraulic-roller,Springs/Struts
0.570/0.610D&D coilover
HeadsCaster/Camber
Canfield, ported and polishedD&D
IntakeBrakes
Edelbrock Victor Jr., ported andPrecision Brakes, 14-in
polishedWheels
Carburetor{{{Z3}}} Racing Drift R, 18x9-in
Holley 750 HPTires
Fuel PumpPirelli 235/40ZR18
Aeromotive externalRear Suspension
HeadersSprings/Shocks
Kooks custom 1 7/8-in stepped,Stock springs/Strange shocks
3 1/2-in collectorsControl Arms
ExhaustUPR double-adjustable uppers
3-in crossover; FlowmasterBrakes
Outlaw mufflers, ceramicPrecision Brakes, 14-in
coatedWheels
Power AdderZ3 Racing Drift R, 18x10-in
Wilson, two 10-pound bottlesTires
TransmissionPirelli 265/35R18
Performance Automatic C4,Chassis Stiffening
reverse manual valvebodyKenny Brown subframe connectors,
 six-point custom 'cage