Dale Amy
December 1, 2009
Photos By: Paul Rosner

Let's begin with the obvious: OEM and aftermarket companies dream up show cars all the time. We've shown you plenty and we'll no doubt feature many, many more because, well, they're usually pretty darn bitchin' and can offer ideas for the rest of us. Truth be told, they're built to tempt us, and usually do. This S197, for example, belongs to Connecticut-based Moroso Performance Products and has that sort of understated aggression that resonates with us every time. More important, though, it also wears plenty of trick new components that might just interest you for your own project.

Maybe not so obvious is that, to Moroso, this '08 GT was more of a research and development tool than show queen. Bought in November 2007, the coupe has been used to engineer and test roughly 30 new S197-era products that now wear the Moroso or Competition Engineering (a Moroso subsidiary) name, which you can invest in for your own ride. Or, if you can't be bothered with picking and choosing off its a la carte menu, Moroso can also build you a full serialized clone of its GTM (not hard to guess what the "M" represents).

We don't have space to list each and every bauble on this striking coupe (Moroso's website, www.morosoracing.com, can help in that regard), but a number of bits deserve special mention. Even at a distance, the lightweight carbon-fiber hood, trunklid, front splitter, and rear spoiler are bound to attract attention. So will the 20-inch wheels that Moroso describes only as "retro-looking" and are 9.5 inches wide on the nose, and a full 10 inches out back. The projector-beam headlamp modules make for a menacing, purposeful mug perfectly complemented by the plain, Bullitt-style main grille and brake-duct-equipped lower grille.

The muscle-builder underhood is an intercooled Roushcharger, but it's the subtle aluminum accessories mounted on, or surrounding, the otherwise mechanically stock Three-Valve that draw the eye like locker-room interviews in the Lingerie Football League. Moroso's fabricators obviously have a real talent for TIG welding lightweight alloy into complex shapes. While the natural-finish aluminum hardware makes a more stylish statement than the mostly plastic factory components it replaces, it also says "race car" more than just "show car." We particularly like the cam covers, but the power steering, coolant, and intercooler tanks, along with the master cylinder and fuse box covers are tasty too. What you can't see is a similarly fabricated, track-baffled, and powdercoated oil pan-a perennial Moroso staple-down below. At the downstream end of combustion events is something you may not have known the company makes: Moroso's polished stainless axle-back exhaust system that, even with its 3 1/2-inch outlets, is said to be 20 pounds lighter than stock.

The interior cocooned within that stout 'cage is well dressed as opposed to over-dressed, and this near-stockness is probably a reflection of the fact neither Moroso nor Competition Engineering make much, if any, interior gear. Even so, the buckets are stitched with "GTM" embroidery, the dash face wears a carbon-fiber-style overlay to match the body components, and a serialized billet dash plate proclaims this to be GTM No. 001.

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As you can see, all this combines for an undeniably handsome package, but also one that declares Moroso's heritage as a pretty hard-core street and track performance company. Bling ain't their thing. Remember, this isn't so much a show car as an ongoing research and development project-much like the ones in our garages.

5.0 Tech Specs

2008 Moroso GTM
Engine And Drivetrain
Block Stock
Displacement 281ci
Crankshaft Stock
Rods Cracked powdered metal with floating wristpins
Pistons Hypereutectic aluminum
Compression Ratio Stock
Camshaft Stock SOHC, variable camshaft timing
Heads Aluminum, three valves per cylinder
Intake Roushcharger lower, with intercooler
Power Adder Roushcharger, Roots-type
Exhaust Moroso stainless axle-back
Transmission Tremec 3650 five-speed
Clutch Stock
Rearend Stock 8.8-inch

Chassis And Suspension
Front Suspension
K-Member Stock
Control Arms Stock
Springs Roush
Struts Roush
Caster/Camber Competition Engineering
Brakes Roush 14-in, six-piston
Wheels 20x9.5-in
Tires Michelin Pilot Sport, 255/35ZR20
Rear Suspension
Springs Roush
Shocks Roush
Control Arms Competition Engineering
Brakes Stock
Wheels 20x10-in
Tires Michelin Pilot Sport, 275/35-ZR20