Michael Johnson Associate Editor
January 1, 2009
Pete's GT is the perfect example of mixing and matching exterior components from different manufacturers. The Performance Red GT plays host to a Cervini's Auto Designs Stalker hood, a Saleen ground-effects package, and a Roush rear wing. Many people think the whole was repainted when the new items were installed, but Pete is quick to correct that assumption. "I credit that to using Meguiar's NXT wax and No. 21 synthetic sealant," Pete says. For the painted aftermarket components, Pete received help from friends Chris and Andrew Schellberg. Hypercoil springs in a coilover arrangement lower the GT's center of gravity to make the best of Pete's wheel of choice: Simmons FR examples, 17x9 front and 17x11 rear.

Horse Sense: Sneaky Pete Calabrese is the vice president of the Late Model Mustang Club of Connecticut (www.lmmc-ct.com). The club boasts over 200 paying members who help raise money for charitable ventures through car shows and events. Pete has his dad, also named Peter, and his fianc, Anissa Zellman, to thank for all their help. Pete says Anissa calls the GT her beach house, since every vacation revolves around a Mustang event.

The entire car has been taken apart at one point or another," says Pete Calabrese of Fishkill, New York.

To the uninitiated, when a car comes apart, it'll never again see pavement. When a non-enthusiast sees an empty engine compartment, they can't envision the car ever running again. They don't understand that when it comes down to it, a car is a mixture of aluminum, steel, and cast iron.

Welds, nuts, and bolts hold everything together, and what is taken apart, can be put back together. If the average person saw the mechanical carnage and corresponding rebuilds at an NHRA or NMRA event, they would be in awe. After all, even we are impressed with what we see just in the NMRA ranks, and we see it all the time.

Just as with racers in the NHRA and NMRA ranks who have been around an engine or two, this car is not Pete's first rodeo. "This is the culmination of all my years working on cars and learning from previous vehicle combinations," Pete says. Even before Pete purchased this car in 2001, he had a spreadsheet full of modifications he wanted to perform, including part numbers, Web sites, phone numbers -everything.

Pete says he's been into cars since he was 9 years old. He bought his first Mustang, a '68 coupe with a Windsor, at age 15. "This car however, is my biggest project to date. No area was left untouched," he adds.

Going back to Peter's obsessive/compulsive (his words, not ours) build process, Pete grabbed his wallet to put down a deposit on a turbo kit before he even owned the car. "Back then, there weren't too many big power-adder options for the Two-Valve, and I went with a start-up company hoping to obtain my goals for the car," Pete says. As was the case with many turbo systems at that time, it didn't quite deliver what Pete had hoped. Tuning-guru Jerry Wroblewski, known simply as J to many in the Mustang community, finally convinced Pete to shelve that turbo system for a Kenne Bell supercharger. "That was the best decision I ever made with the car," Pete says.

Out came the turbo system and on went the Kenne Bell 2.2-liter Twin-Screw supercharger. However, to fix what many people regard as a late-model Mustang factory flaw in the lack of real paint under the hood, Pete and friends Chris and Andrew Schellberg painted the entire engine bay as part of the Kenne Bell swap. Of course, he had to paint the engine compartment because he had to fill all the extra holes leftover from the turbo kit installation.

The current VT Competition Engine Development found a home over the winter months of 2004-2005 after the original engine ingested 16 pounds of boost instead of the indicated 10 pounds. "It was a bit much for the stock internals, and when they let go, it seemed like the right time to upgrade," Pete says.