Eric English
January 20, 2011

Horse Sense: If any of our recent observations are an indicator, we can say that western Canadian rodders like their wheels in big diameters. We've seen it on all sorts of early muscle cars-GTOs, Chevelles, and Mustang-and we've certainly seen it on "late-models" like Joe's. In this instance, the hoops are Foose Nitrous models in a 20x8.5-inch size. Big 'nuff?

For some people, the term Joe's Special will conjure up the image of a classic breakfast dish, whose primary ingredients include eggs, spinach, and ground beef. It's a hearty meal that is most likely found at a restaurant or café specializing in morning fare, rather than a hot nightspot like Joe Doyle's Vancouver area bar. But no matter, because Joe has surely stirred together a special of his own, this one with an automotive flavor in the form of an '89 GT.

The story begins with the purchase of this Fox-hatch when Joe was just 16. Wrenching began almost immediately, and when he eventually went to work at his uncle's service station, the shop was fair game after hours as long as the bay floors were washed at the end of the day. As Joe describes it, "In the early years, I raced the GT quite a bit, and built it with that purpose in mind. Then as time passed, I started making it nicer and raced it less and less. I started taking it to car shows, and kinda transitioned into focusing on that-but it's no trailer queen. In fact, it's never been trailered in its life. I haven't been to the track since it's been done, but I'm hoping to find some time this year to race it at the Friday night Street Legals."

When Joe speaks of being done with his GT, he means the latest-and best-of many iterations during his years of ownership. With the bar taking all his time and an eye for detail that was honed by viewing innumerable show cars, Joe realized several years ago that he didn't have the time or talent to take his Mustang where he wanted it to go. Fortunately, several cars turned out by a local shop impressed him, and after speaking to the man responsible, Brett Halbert, it was easy to turn the project over to him and Creationz Speed and Sound in nearby Langley.

Creationz basically tore the '89 apart and, reusing many of the parts that Doyle had acquired over the years, refreshed and reassembled the car with the cleanliness and detail the owner was striving for. Clearly the visuals were paramount, and to that end, the body was massaged to perfection in preparation for the ICI Vivid Blue two-stage paint, sprayed by Bodycraft Collision. While the hue is anything but subtle, the body upgrades are comparatively low-key, consisting of a 2 1/2-inch cowl hood, and '93 Cobra rear wing and fascia.

Inside, Creationz bent up a four-point rollbar, installed Auto Meter Cobalt gauges on a custom dash panel, and recovered the existing APC racing seats for a cockpit that is prepared for most anything Joe might want to do.

The fact that a thumping Alpine/JL Audio stereo takes up the entire rear hatch area tells us something about Joe's current intent, but then again, there's a healthy Paxton-blown 347 underhood. There, Brett performed his signature hidden-wiring and hole-filling repertoire, freeing the Trick Flow-topped small-block from surrounding clutter.

Lordco Machine was tapped to prep and assemble the stout stroker, which receives approximately 8 psi from the '90s-vintage Paxton ball-drive supercharger. The origin of this blower design goes waaaaay back. While no longer state of the art, it still gives a nice boost when Doyle puts the pedal down. It looks good too, which is no small matter when building a car that is all about being seen. Behind the whole affair is a fresh World Class T5, and the expected beefed-up 8.8 spinning 3.73 gears.

With the '89 now done to his liking, Joe is not only enjoying the Pacific Northwest show-car scene, but most assuredly the frequent summertime drives. Remember his no-trailer mantra.

Our competitive spirit halfway hopes Joe will eventually come full circle in his interests, ditch the heavyweight stereo gear, swap out the Foose 20s for a set of Bogarts, and return to the dragstrip on a regular basis. On the other hand, we know Joe is doing what makes him happy with a really great Mustang. That's plenty special in our book!

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