Drew Phillips
December 17, 2009

Horse Sense:
Galpin Auto Sports [(877)-GO-GAS-GO;www.galpinautosports.com] is part of Galpin Ford, the largest Ford dealership in the world. It built this custom '10 Mustang to show customers what they could potentially to do their own cars. Thanks to Ford Racing, Roush, and other companies, there were dozens of aftermarket parts already available as soon as the '10 model hit showroom floors.

It's an understatement to say that Galpin Auto Sports has built its fair share of custom Mustangs. As the aftermarket division of Galpin Motors, the largest Ford dealership on the planet, GAS has literally seen hundreds if not thousands of Mustangs go through its shop, some of which have graced the pages of this magazine. They have also overseen projects like designing and constructing the modern-day KITT that starred in the now-defunct Knight Rider television series. So what's special about the Mustang you see here? Well, for starters, it's their first customized '10 Mustang, and one of their first we've laid eyes on.

This ponycar project started, like many of Galpin's others, with Steve Carpenter. As the sales manager of GAS, Steve usually heads up any project cars being built at the shop and has probably orchestrated the customization of as many S197 Mustangs as just about anyone. He's also owned quite a few as well, and along with serving commuting duties to and from work, Steve's Mustangs are often working examples to show customers what they can do to their own cars. So when the '10 Mustangs hit Galpin's showroom floor in the spring of '09, Steve knew it was time for another project car. "I wanted to be the first kid on the block with a fully customized '10 Mustang," he told us. "We wanted to have a custom 2010 Mustang as soon as possible, and we saw a lot of potential in the car."

While Steve had pretty much perfected the art of modifying the '05-'09 Mustang, the '10 model represented a new challenge. Don't get us wrong, Steve likes the look of the new car. In fact, he believes Ford did a fantastic job with the redesigned Mustang. It's just that he thinks it just takes more thought to customize it just right. "You have to put a lot more thought into the lines of this car," Steve told us. "It's harder to find the right part to make the car look good."

While he may have had trouble finding the "right" part, it's impressive that Steve was able to find parts at all. Normally the launch of a new model means that aftermarket parts are several months and sometimes years away, but a combination of shared components from the '05-'09 model years and foresight from Ford meant that custom parts were available for the '10 Mustang as soon as the car was available for purchase. For instance, Ford granted Roush access to the car long before it was on sale, allowing Roush to properly develop dozens of parts that were available as soon as the '10 models hit showrooms. Internally, Ford also developed a line of accessories and performance parts through Ford Racing and Ford Accessories. Needless to say, owners of '10 Mustang don't have to wait to start modifying their cars.

While most of Steve's previous Mustangs followed the S197 Mustang's retro theme, he says the '10 body style "doesn't lend itself to the old school look." Instead, Steve decided to go for a more modern appearance, although we can still see many classic design cues throughout the car. The exterior modifications start off with a Roush body kit that includes a new front fascia and splitter up front, a new rear valance and wing at the rear, and a set of splitters on each side to complete the kit. Next Steve raided the Ford Accessories catalog and added a hoodscoop, quarterwindow scoops, and a decklid panel. To top it all off, several coats of Candy Apple Red PPG paint were applied and topped with matte black Boss 281R graphics.

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!'"

2010 Boss 281R
5.0 Tech Specs
Engine and Drivetrain
Block Aluminum
Bore 3.55 in
Stroke 3.54 in
Displacement 281 ci
Crankshaft Stock
Rods Cracked powdered metal with floating wristpins
Pistons Hypereutectic aluminum
Camshafts Ford Racing Hot Rod
Heads Ford Racing Three-Valve ported and polished
Intake Stock
Throttle Body Ford Racing twin 62mm Big Bore throttle body
Mass Air Stock
Fuel System Stock
Headers Stock
Exhaust Bassani X-shape crossover, high-flow catalytic converters, and race mufflers
Transmission Stock five-speed w/JPC Racing one-piece aluminum driveshaft and Hurst short-throw shifter
Clutch RPS twin-disc organic clutch
Rearend Stock 8.8 with 3.73 gears

Electronics
Engine Management Stock Silver Oak with custom tune via SCT XCalibrator 2
Ignition Stock
Gauges Stock

Chassis And Suspension
Front Suspension
Shocks Adjustable Ford Racing FR500S
Springs Ford Racing FR500S
Brakes Wilwood Superlite 6R Big Brake kit w/14-inch rotors and six-piston calipers
Wheels 20x10 Axis Zero one-piece
Tires Vredestein Sessanta 255/35-20
Rear Suspension
Shocks Adjustable Ford Racing FR500S
Springs Ford Racing FR500S
Brakes Wilwood Big Brake kit w/ 14-inch rotors and four-piston calipers
Wheels 20x10 Axis Zero one-piece
Tires Vredestein Sessanta 275/35-20