Steve Turner
Former Editor, 5.0 Mustang & Super Fords
May 4, 2012
Photos By: Henry DeKuyper

Many of us get nostalgic about the cars we grew up dreaming about or grew up actually driving. It's easy to get swept away to a simpler, more carefree time by catching sight of a car we once owned or wished we owned. It's probably the most common reason that we buy an older car and turn it into a project. For Ryan Rikers, the motivation to create the Mustang of his dreams runs much deeper.

"Since I can remember, my father has been waking me up early on Sunday mornings and taking me to car shows and swap meets all over the island (Long Island, New York). His passion for cars definitely rubbed off on me because I absolutely love them," Ryan says. "Now I have to get him up in the morning for the shows."

Going to shows can certainly plant the seeds, but when you see your family members bust out the wrenches, it can leave a lasing impression too. "When I was around 10 years old, two of my cousins started building an '83 LX convertible; ever since then, I've been hooked on Mustangs," he adds. "My cousin used to give me old copies of 5.0 Mustang magazine, and I would fantasize about what parts to buy to build the car of my dreams."

For Ryan that passion for cars was a core part of his teenage years. "My mom would always mention how she loved that I had so much passion for Mustangs," Ryan confides. "In 2005 she passed away from ovarian cancer. It really took a toll on me at only 15 years old. So, I decided I wanted to do something in her memory, but I couldn't at the time because I was a kid with no money."

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When he turned 18, Ryan purchased a '95 Mustang GT and started down a familiar path for Mustang owners. He added the typical Trick Flow aluminum heads, Trick Flow intake, Ford Racing E303 cam, and such. However, the quirky EEC-IV in the SN-95 Mustang vexed Ryan with idle issues and the like. The combination made 280 hp, and Ryan thought he was done, but the nagging problems grew.

It seems, however, that Ryan's mom was looking out for him."...In early 2009, my father told me that I would be getting some money from my mom passing away, and I knew then that I could finally do something in her memory," Ryan says. "So I started to hunt for an '03-'04 SVT Cobra wreck. I brought one home after about three months of searching..."

Before he started the swap, Ryan realized that someone had removed the intercooler core from the lower intake manifold. While he was searching for a replacement, he shipped the stock supercharger off to Stiegemeier Porting Services for porting. In the meantime, Ryan swapped over the entire drivetrain and front suspension into his '95. He also added the six-speed transmisison, complete fuel system, and PCM and harness from the Termi.

In short, Ryan created a '95 Cobra that we all could only dream of owning back then—or today. It was surely the car of his dreams, and one that keeps his mom's feelings about his Mustang passion alive.

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"I drive the car every day, and enjoy every minute of it. The car has been done for a little over a year now, and I plan on keeping it forever," Ryan said. "...Now every time I get in my car, I think of my mother." 5.0

Horse Sense: Model year '95 marked the last year that our beloved pushrod 5.0-liter engine spread the shock towers of a Mustang. It also marked the second of two years that this engine motivated the refined version of the Fox chassis, known as the Fox 4, or more popularly, the SN-95 chassis. Ryan Rikers' example is a relatively rare variant, being one of only 1,625 Mustang GTs produced in Vibrant Red.

5.0 Tech Specs

'95 GT

Engine and Drivetrain

Block '03 Cobra iron
Crankshaft Stock Forged '03 Cobra
Rods Stock '03 Cobra Manley
Pistons Stock '03 Cobra
Camshafts Stock '03 Cobra
Cylinder heads Stock '03 Cobra Four-Valve aluminum
Intake manifold Stock '03 Cobra intercooled lower
Power Adder '03 Cobra Eaton M112 w/ Stiegemeier Stage 5 port
Fuel system Stock '03 Cobra fuel pumps, fuel lines, and injectors
Exhaust Stock '03 Cobra exhaust manifolds w/MAC ProChamber H-pipe, and Magnaflow mufflers
Transmission Stock '03 Cobra T-56 six-speed transmission w/Steeda Tri-Ax shifter
Rearend Stock '04 Mach 8.8-in w/3.55 gears

Electronics

Engine management Stock '03 Cobra PCM w/ SCT Tune
Ignition Stock '03 Cobra
Gauges Stock '03 Cobra

Suspension and Chassis

Front Suspension
K-member Stock '03 Cobra
A-arms Stock '03 Cobra
Struts Tokico
Springs Stock '03 Cobra
Brakes Stock '03 Cobra
Wheels Wheel Replicas 17x9-in '03 Cobra replicas
Tires 265/45-17 Nitto NT555
Rear Suspension
Shocks Tokico
Springs BBK Performance
Control Arms Tubular upper and lower
Brakes Stock '98 Cobra
Wheels Wheel Replicas 17x10.5-in '03 Cobra
Tires 315/35-17 Nitto NT555R