Drew Phillips
December 17, 2009

What's with the R, you ask? Well, we'll tell you. Steve built this Mustang to look like a modern muscle car, and he made sure it could handle like one too. Since the Ford Racing Performance Parts catalog already had plenty of suspension components available for the '10 model year, it became the source of the go-fast parts that went on the car. The Galpin crew fit fully adjustable dampers and springs from the FR500S spec racecar as well as FRPP front and rear sway bars and upgraded rear lower control arms. Wilwood 14-inch disc brakes with six-piston calipers up front and four-piston versions at the rear provide consistent stopping power. Finally, Vredestein Sessanta tires wrapped over lightweight Axis Zero 20-inch wheels provide the final contact patch to the pavement.

Even more FRPP parts can be found underneath the hood, although the twin-62mm throttle body is the only mod visible in the engine bay. The Ford Racing Three-Valve Hot Rod cams, however, announce their presence the second the V-8 comes to life. Steve tells us that the cams have been one of the most popular upgrades with S197 Mustang owners since they came, but not necessarily for the reasons you might think. "They hear the car and they want that cool, old-school idle," he told us. The cams are good for more than just a lopey idle, though, and Ford Racing claims a 50hp gain when combined with the FRPP ported and polished heads that are also installed on the car. Bassani provides an audible improvement as well in the form of an X-shaped crossover pipe with high-flow cats, and an axle-back system with race mufflers. Lastly, the drivetrain was fortified with a JPC Racing one-piece aluminum driveshaft, RPS twin-disc clutch, and a Hurst short-throw shifter.

One of the major upgrades for the '10 Mustang was the interior, and Steve didn't see the need to change much. But he didn't want to leave it stock, so he added Katzkin red leather inserts and stitching on the front and rear seats, door panels, and shifter boot. As a final touch, the steering wheel is wrapped in matching leather.

In case you think this custom ponycar maintains a cushy life on Galpin's showroom floor, Steve informed us that the car has been on a few track days at Willow Springs Raceway just north of Los Angeles. Steve hasn't been able to track the car too much, but he did say that Henry Ford III, the great-great grandson of Henry Ford, actually spent a day with the car turning laps. "He had a blast!" Steve shared. In fact, Henry, who spent the summer at Galpin learning the ins and outs of the dealership, loved the car so much he signed it.

With the car complete and the challenge met, how does Steve now feel about customizing the '10 Mustang? For him, it's business as usual. "I let a friend drive the car home one night. The next day he ranted and raved about how much fun it was to drive, and said that all his neighbors wanted to hear and ride in the car. I told him, 'Welcome to hot-rodding!'"