Dale Amy
September 1, 2009
Primo's GT features lustrous black-over-silver paint by Ladd Road Collision in Walled Lake, Michigan. Styling bits are part GT500, part CDC, part Roush, and part Foose. The FRPP fuel door has been painted body color, and coiled cobras have replaced any GT badges. Notice, too, the '08-style HID headlamps.

The photo shoot was done; the images were "in the can," and now it was time to relax and enjoy some of the festivities in the week leading up to the Woodward Cruise.

We love being in Detroit around Cruise time. Everywhere you look are spit-polished examples of what made this town what it is: the Motor City. Examples like Primo Goffi's Cobra-ized '05 Mustang GT, for instance. We had already been wowed by its understated, yet highly personalized exterior, which combines aspects and hardware from such diverse sources as factory GT500 (hood and aero package), Classic Design Concepts (Glassback roof, painted signal mirrors, ribbed taillight panel, and sequential taillights), Roush Performance (rear wing), and Foose (20-inch Nitro rims.) Now Primo was suggesting that we sample its mechanical soul from the driver seat.

We always appreciate the leap of faith involved in handing over the keys of one's automotive pride and joy to some disreputable-looking geek with no more credentials than an oversized camera bag and a shirt that happens to read 5.0 Mustang & Super Fords. We savor every such opportunity but must admit that occasionally we encounter projects that, to put it gently, simply look better than they drive. Such was absolutely not the case with Primo's personalized GT, which we soon discovered is one of the nicest all-round hot-rod S197s we've ever sampled.

Before buckling up, Primo warned us that he had recently installed a Zoom D2 twin-disc clutch and aluminum flywheel, and that this setup's reduced rotating mass would take a tiny bit of practice when it came to standing starts. But our clutch foot quickly adapted to not having much rotational inertia to help get his business-class S197 underway, and we soon learned to love the lightning-quick throttle response that results from having less weight anchored to the crankshaft. We quickly discovered that blipping for downshifts was as instantaneous, precise, and as entertaining as on a good motorcycle-something that certainly can't be said for a stock GT. Plus, both downshifting and upshifting were a tactile joy because Primo had had the car's Tremec TR6060 six-speed treated to low-friction coatings on its gears, shift forks, and synchros.

At this point, we need to mention that though he now owns a company called Performance Solutions, Primo used to work at Ford Motor Company on such interesting and diverse portfolios as the Terminator Cobra project, the Ford GT supercar, and in the development of the FR500C and FR500S race-car variants of the S197. The technology trickle-down from those latter projects ended up as some of the well-sorted-out S197 packages that FRPP now features in its catalog. This experience is certainly one reason his car is as pleasant and exciting to drive as it is. Anyway, back to that drive . . .

Because it has one of Ford Racing Performance Parts' Whipple-engineered, intercooled twin-screw superchargers paired with some Comp Cams, we guessed that the black-over-silver GT would be darn quick all the way across the tach face-and it most certainly is. It also has absolutely perfect driveability to boot, with none of the quirks we old-timers used to face when bolting blowers on our Fox cars. But in the course of doing our photo shoot, we noticed the long-tube Bassani headers snaking around underhood, so we figured it would be a raucous beast, forcing us to restrain the old right foot lest we attract every law enforcement official prowling within a half-mile radius. Wrong. While the Bassani pipes do emit a sweet, soul-stirring note under lusty acceleration, the GT reverts to near-stealth mode when just cruising. If this were a concert, it would be Eric Clapton rather than Cradle of Filth.