Michael Johnson
Associate Editor, 5.0 Mustangs & Super Fords
August 23, 2011

Wes Ryan's three older brothers loved fast cars, and they took little Wesley wherever they went. His brother Randy's '86 T-top GT was the one that pushed Wes over the edge. "I soon followed suit, and my passion for Mustangs began," Wes says. This passion started out with an '83 GT Wes purchased at the age of 15.

Wes says the rest is kind of hazy, but roughly a dozen Mustangs later, he found himself married with children. His supercharged '91 notch seemed broken or in need of more supporting mods at every turn, so he turned his attention to finding a stock Mustang that he could once again enjoy on a daily basis. That's usually what happens in a Mustang owner's life. We modify a car so much that it's no longer fun to drive on the street, and when it's taken to the track, something always breaks. That's the point Wes had reached with the coupe.

In 2005, Wes stumbled upon an eBay ad for a stock '01 Bullitt. "I was in love instantly," Wes says. The listing featured the ideal descriptionù"one-owner, female-driven." That's a stretch the majority of the time, but in the Bullitt's case, it was actually true. There was only one problemùthe car was in Maryland, and of course, Wes was in Cortlandt Manor, New York.

"It made for a less-than-simple task of kicking the tires around," Wes adds. However, with his wife Michelle's blessing, off to Maryland he went. "I met two of the nicest people you could ask for when purchasing a used car," he says. The tag read "Yes Maam," and after one test drive, Wes realized the car was a perfect fit. "Here was my chance to get back into a stock Mustang and just enjoy it," Wes says. Tuck that little statement away for a second...

Since you're reading about Wes' Bullitt, you know he bought the car, but the previous owners actually encouraged him to drive the car home to New York using their plates and insurance. That drive home revealed the Bullitt's refined feel compared to a Fox Mustang. Of course, since Wes is used to fast Mustangs, the ride home also revealed the need for more power. And so it began...

Remember Wes planned to enjoy his new stock Mustang? Sure enough, he was at it again. He started with a Vortech S-Trim tuner kit. Next up was a Vortech T-Trim, a built engine, a full return-style fuel system, and ultimately, its current power adderùa Vortech YSi-Trim supercharger. At least Wes stuck with the Vortech theme. "So much for keeping her stock," Wes says, "but to my surprise, the Two-Valve engines seemed much more mod-friendly than the old pushrods. The car is just flat-out a thrill to drive."

With sufficient power underhood, Wes set his sights on the exterior. "Although I liked the sleek and simple design of the Bullitt and truly subscribe to the less-is-more theory," Wes says, "I felt it needed to be a little different." Wes kept it in the family by going with an '03-'04 Cobra front bumper cover, but then he stepped outside the department by adding a Cervini's Auto Designs heat-extractor hood and 18-inch Saleen replica wheels. "I opted to retain the GT fender badges and rear bumper to be clear that this car is still just a lil' Two-Valve," Wes says. However, once someone peers at the Glenn's Performance sumped fuel tank and MagnaFuel pump, his cover is blown.

It's not all about the car, though. "I was fortunate to encounter some good people along the build and made some lasting friendships that make the car that much more important to me," Wes says. Tim Barth, formerly of Modular Powerhouse, helped Wes set up the ideal engine combo needed for boost-friendly horsepower, while Kevin Hand worked his tuning magic to make the car feel and drive like a stock grocery getter. Our boy Jeff Harris of Mo's Speed Shop has been Wes' right-hand man with his countless suggestions and support. "All of these gentlemen are what makes this hobby worthwhile and have given me a wealth of knowledge," Wes adds.

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