November 1, 2009

Wrenching on hot Mustangs is all in a day's work for industrious custom-car shops, and yet proprietors of such businesses are sometimes surprisingly devoid of standout wheels in their personal lives. For some it's by choice. After a long day at the "office," it's time to do something else. For others, the lack of a max effort machine is all about sacrificing personal desires for the good of the business, i.e. disposable income and time that would otherwise be spent on a car is put back into the business with investments in equipment, buildings, and more. What we have in this latter case is more along the lines of deferred pleasure, for rest assured the majority of this group will eventually reward themselves.

Shop owners like Langley, British Columbia's Brett Halbert take a slightly different approach. For this group, keeping a hot car in the stable at all times is a given, inevitably splitting time between duty as a rolling business card and serving as the object of the owner's affection. In the case of Brett, we have a guy who lives, eats, and breathes the car thing, so personal passion is clearly the overwhelming driver. That said, one can't deny that his highly detailed '85 GT is testament to the workmanship turned out of his digs at Creationz Speed and Sound. Good thing Brett's wife, Heidi, shares the infatuation with Ford's ponycar, for to say that his life is completely dominated is an understatement.

A blank canvas began with what could easily be considered the ultimate carbureted car of the Fox-era, a five-speed '85 GT, which was quickly stripped to the bone. Brett soon turned to buddy Steve Kohls for a stunning topcoat using House of Kolor products in a three-stage process, including a gold basecoat, followed by Candy Red, then finished with plenty of clear. The results are electric, but they aren't left to stand on their own. The T-top body style makes for wind-in-your-face fun, while 20-inch Foose Nitrous hoops look generally monstrous on a car originally shod with 15s. If a full-scale Hot Wheels model comes to mind, it isn't surprising.

Looks can be deceiving however, as you'd be mistaken to think Brett treats his pride and joy like a trailer queen. On the contrary, it's a frequent summer driver, and also tears up the quarter-mile at nearby Mission Raceway on a regular basis. Brett tells us the car has been painted for a number of years now, but the current drivetrain and other systems are all new.

Peeking under the hood frankly demonstrates how much things have changed since 1985. At the time, enthusiasts were crying the blues with the last of the factory Holley four-barrels, downright fearful that the advent of EFI the following year would spell the end for bolt-on performance. Even many of the automotive scribes of the day forecast doom and gloom-and weren't we all dead wrong!

As if to prove the point, Brett chucked his carb long ago, installed a later A9L EEC-IV processor with corresponding fuel-injection hardware, and has never looked back. The car's current power combo consists of a Vortech SQ-blown 306, gulping up to 13 psi of boost with help from a GT-40 intake, Holley SysteMAX heads, and a FRPP E303 cam. Teamed with a T5 and 3.73 gears out back, the powertrain delivers 12.5s at 118 with its current rubber-band rolling stock. Similar prior drivetrains yielded mid-11s on slicks, so the current big-inch styling clearly isn't the ticket for hooking up. You might say image has its price, but we'll bet Brett doesn't have to look far for some lighter weight material should priorities change.

Moving inside finds a pristine, nearly stock interior that rewinds the calendar over two decades. While the '87-'93 guts were a notable improvement in style and quality, we applaud Brett for not falling to the temptation of upgrading to a more current vibe. The period-correct layout is seldom seen, and gives the GT a good measure of its unique identity. Our favorite part of the interior may well be the factory sport seats and steering wheel, both of which hold their own aesthetically with any Mustang combination since.

The stock theme understandably falls apart in the rear hatch area, where one of Creationz custom stereo systems is artfully placed in a color coordinating floor enclosure. Three U Dimension Pro amps are housed here. One feeds the centrally mounted 13-inch Focal subwoofer, and the others power the remaining Focal speakers throughout. Such high-end sounds are a big part of Creationz's business, and even driving with the windows down and the T-tops off, this system clearly has no trouble being heard.

In the end, it would seem Brett has accomplished any and all goals he might have had for a hot Mustang in this super sanitary four-eyed Fox. While it's no race car, it serves regular Street-Legal Drags duty nonetheless. It could be a show car, but despite landing numerous awards, Brett has clearly demonstrated a commitment to driving. The GT logically acts as a rolling advertisement for the capabilities of Brett's shop, and yet most of all, he built the car for himself-with a uniqueness that assures this one won't be confused with any other. That Brett's wife enjoys it too, well, that must surely be the icing on the cake!

5.0 Tech Specs
1985 GT
Engine And Drivetrain
Block
Stock, 0.030-inch overbore
Displacement
306 ci
Crankshaft
Eagle forged
Rods
Eagle H-beam
Pistons
JE forged
Camshaft
FRPP E303 w/Crane Gold 1.7 roller rockers
Power Adder
Vortech SQ
Cylinder Heads
Holley SysteMAX (1.94/1.60)
Intake Manifold
GT-40
Throttle Body
Accufab 70mm
Mass Air
C&L 77mm
Fuel System
Holley 255-lph in-tank, T-Rex external pump, FAST 42-lb/hr injectors
Exhaust
BBK unequal short-tube headers, Hedman H-pipe, Flowmaster after-cat
Transmission
World Class T5 w/FRPP clutch, B&M Ripper shifter
Rearend
8.8 w/3.73 gears, Eaton Posi, and FRPP 31-spline axles

Electronics
Engine Managementeec-IV Ignition
MSD billet distributor, BTM
Gauges
Stock and Auto Meter

Chassis And Suspension
Front Suspension
K-member
Stock
Control Arms
Stock
Springs
BBK
Struts
Monroe GP
Caster/Camber
BBK
Sway bar
Stock
Brakes
FRPP 2300K w/Baer 13-inch rotors, Hawk pads
Wheels
20x8-inch Foose Nitrous
Tires
BFG g-Force KDW 245/35ZR-20
Rear Suspension
Springs
BBK
Shocks
Monroe GP
Control Arms
UPR
Brakes
FRPP 2300K w/Baer 12-inch rotors, Hawk pads
Wheels
20x10-inch Foose Nitrous
Tires
BFG g-Force KDW 285/30ZR-20
Chassis Stiffening
Custom through-the-floor subs