Dale Amy
June 5, 2012
Photos By: Drew Phillips

This was an average '12 Mustang GT when Ford Motor Company shipped it last fall to Creation n' Chrome's Valencia, California, headquarters. Yet to get it ready for its role in Ford's own booth at the '11 SEMA extravaganza, the spanking new 5.0-liter coupe was then stripped down to its metal shell by the Creations n' Chrome team, and lavished with over 600 man-hours of labor--and that was only for its body and paint work. As you can see, the resulting "chrome and candy" exterior finish is not only spectacular, but specular.

The man in charge at Creations n' Chrome (let's just call it CnC, shall we?) is a third-generation body and paint specialist. "The day after I was born," says Gary Watson, "I was at my dad's body shop." No word on what his mother thought of that, but his dad's paint shop's colors and fumes must have made a lasting impression on young Gary, who has had an affinity for refinishing stuff ever since. (He says he had a custom-painted tricycle at age two.)

Along the way, he became interested in the concept of "sprayable chrome," and ultimately in the relevant products of a company known as Spectra Chrome, operating out of Clearwater, Florida. As the surrounding photos clearly reveal, Gary has indeed mastered this challenging multi-step finishing process, which begins with a solid basecoat, followed by the "chrome" coat, then a specific clearcoat, on top of which goes a tinted candy coat, all wrapped in final clearcoats. Did we mention that each layer requires sanding, and that some layers require disassembly of the car, while others demand that it be all sprayed as one piece? Oh, and we put chrome in quotation marks because Gary says it's not really chrome at all but rather silver nitrate (used in making mirrors), but the reflective effect is plainly unlike any other finish out there.

As if this weren't enough in the way of bodywork, CnC's crew also cut out the GT's roof skin and substituted a real carbon-fiber replacement panel from Autosports Dynamics. Likewise, the hood and trunk lid are also some of Autosport Dynamics' flyweight carbon fiber handiwork. The balance of the coupe's body mods are from 3D Carbon, including that company's full Boy Racer kit, GT500-style rear wing, and urethane fender vents.

But this is way more than just a pretty face. Check out the cockpit that shouts race far more than show. Showing off more of CnC's capabilities, its carbon-fiber instrument panel was hand laid-up and fabricated in-house, as was the SCCA-legal, eight-point, chrome-moly rollcage. The GT's rear seats are gone, courtesy of a delete kit from Ford Racing, while the front seats are now Sparco Pro 2000 race buckets laced with five-point harnesses. Likewise, the quick-disconnect steering wheel is from Sparco. No less endorsement than Parnelli Jones' signature on the dash confirms that this is a competition-worthy cabin.

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The competition vibe extends underhood with an intercooled Vortech V3-Si centrifugal blower feeding into that instant-classic Boss 302 intake atop the otherwise stock 5.0-liter. Vortech's black powdercoat finish makes it look factory-installed, though the kit was in fact bolted on in CnC's own shop, as was the Nitrous Express plate system and N-Tercooler Spray Ring. NX also supplied a methanol-injection kit, though neither it nor the nitrous itself was engaged during the pre-SEMA dyno runs that netted 644 hp and 548 lb-ft at the GT's rear wheels.

The chassis, too, is prepped for action with Variant 3 coilovers--with full compression and rebound adjustment--from Germany's KW Suspensions. Hotchkis gets credit for subframe connectors, a K-member brace, and rear control arms, as well as front and rear sway bars. Caster/camber plates are from Maximum Motorsports, and the GT now stops with the assurance of Wilwood's 14-inch Big Brake Kit. Gary says he's taken some flak for using rims of "only" 18 inches in diameter (which seem to barely fit over those huge rotors), but he chose the HRE Comp 95s for their reduction in unsprung weight in comparison to larger hoops. A smart man, who obviously has the track in mind.

Overall, we'd have to say this GT's mirror-quality makeover reflects well (sorry) on the skills of the CnC crew--and we're not alone, as the reflective red coupe won an Outstanding Achievement in Design award from Ford at SEMA. More importantly, most SEMA cars have a theme and CnC's Boy Racer project was built in conjunction with the ALS Association, Golden West Chapter, to help generate awareness of Lou Gehrig's disease (Amyotrophic Lateral Sclerosis), with which Gary's good friend, Carey Hall, is afflicted. A laudable mission, to be sure. We guarantee this car will draw attention to its worthwhile cause. 5.0

Horse Sense: Gary Watson established Creations n' Chrome in 2005 as a custom paint shop, but has since expanded the business to include high-performance mechanical modifications and installations--especially on Ford vehicles--and is in the process of adding a Dynojet chassis dyno to his 11,000-square-foot facility.

CnC fabricated the carbon-fiber dash behind that quick-release Sparco 380 race wheel, and the center of a lucky driver's attention will be Racepak's IQ3 digital LCD display with OBD-II interface. But just so no one gets lost on the way to the track (or show), there's also a Pioneer audio/navigation head powered by 1,600 watts in the trunk. We also dig the purposeful switchgear lined up below the Pioneer.

5.0 Tech Specs

'12 Mustang

Engine and Drivetrain
Block Low-pressure cast 319 aluminum w/ pressed-in iron liners
Crankshaft Forged steel, fully counter-weighted, induction-hardened
Rods Powdered metal forging, I-beam, no balance pad
Pistons Hypereutectic, short-skirt, flat-top w/ four equal valve reliefs and moly friction-reducing coating
Camshafts DOHC, four camshafts w/ twin independent variable timing
Cylinder heads Aluminum, four-valve per cylinder
Intake manifold FRPP Boss 302
Power Adder Vortech V3-Si centrifugal supercharger w/ intercooler, Nitrous Express plate system, and N-Tercooler spray ring
Fuel system Stock w/ KB Boost-a-Pump and 72-lb/hr injectors
Exhaust BlowBy Racing 3-in crossover w/ Corsa axle-back Extreme System
Transmission Stock
Rearend 8.8 w/ Detroit Locker diff, 3.73 gears, and 31-spline Currie axles

Engine Management Stock w/ Vortech calibration
Ignition Stock
Gauges Racepak digital w/ OBD-II interface

Suspension and Chassis
Front Suspension K-member Stock w/ Hotchkis K-member brace
A-arms Stock
Struts KW Variant 3 coilover
Springs Hotchkis adjustable, 38.1mm
Brakes 14-in Wilwood W6A Big Brake Kit w/ six-piston calipers
Wheels 18x9-in HRE Performance Comp 95 w/ titanium hardware
Tires Falken Azenis RT615K, 265/35R-18
Rear Suspension
Shocks KW Variant 3 coilover
Springs KW Variant 3 coilover
Control Arms Hotchkis
Brakes 14-in Wilwood W4A Big Brake Kit w/ four-piston calipers
Wheels 18x11-in HRE Performance Comp 95 with titanium hardware
Tires Falken Azenis RT615K, 315/30R-18