Don Roy
October 1, 2006
Photos By: James Pickett

Dave Stinson's 1992 Mustang GT convertible
Cherries are good for you. The dye that makes cherries red is known to reduce pain and inflammation. Cherries have also been shown to contain high levels of melatonin, which is a powerful antioxidant and important for proper immune system function. As it happens, the two main kinds of cherry grown in North America are Wild Cherries and Sweet Cherries. We were reminded of these fruity info bits when we first saw Dave Stinson's delicious 1992 GT convertible, because the car he calls the Sonic Cherry was both wild and sweet at the same time.

Dave told us that when he first brought this car home, it was "100 percent stock to the air filter and wires, with only 50K on the ticker." This 'vert replaced another that he'd had before - a 1987 econo-Pony that was quickly generating repair bills larger than its trade-in value. Now, Dave is a hands-on kind of guy and virtually all the work that has been lavished on this steed is his, with some significant help from his friends. He's learned a lot and is justifiably proud of the car. "Anyone can cut a big check to a speed shop and have them do the work, but that's not what the hobby is about," he says.

But, he wasn't always so much into the car scene. See, Dave grew up deeply immersed in sweet rides, courtesy of his father. "My dad was always building custom hot rods and cruisers, therefore I was always hanging out at all sorts of car shows and cruise-ins. There were always cars being chopped, painted, and customized at his garage and he had volumes of restoration and build pictures from years gone by." As can sometimes be the case, kids don't always think that what their parents do is cool. Thankfully, both for Dave and for the Mustang community, things worked out well in the end. "That instilled a deep love in me for cars although I wouldn't realize it until years down the road. But when it all came out, I went nuts!"

The signature Vibrant Red paint is complemented by the car's brilliant white interior and convertible top, but this is only just the beginning of a visual odyssey that consistently turns heads around town and drops jaws at car shows. As a member of the late Model Mustang Club of Connecticut, Dave enjoys hanging out with other members and cruising around the environs of Springfield, MA. You can see from our photos that this pony has good looks in abundance. Some of that comes from outside enhancements in the form of a Cervini's Stalker front bumper, their Stormin' Norman hood and Cobra rear bumper. Still, it would be a mistake to presume that Dave's Mustang is all show and no go.

Listen carefully when it pulls in and you'll hear the telltale signs of a Vortech A-trim supercharger, suitably equipped with a 2.95-inch pulley. This iron lung is connected on one side to an Anderson Ford Motorsports' 4-inch Powerpipe, SCT 90mm MAF sensor and Accufab 70mm throttle body. On the other side, it maintains intimate contact with a Typhoon intake manifold and Edelbrock Performer cylinder heads. Those heads are ably assisted in their function by Ford Motorsport's 1.6-ratio roller rocker arms and 42 lb/hr fuel injectors. A Walbro 255 lph fuel pump looks after feeding the pipeline, while a Crane Fireball ignition coil helps keep the home fires burning.

A commendable degree of attention has been paid to ensuring that this tricked out V8 will keep its cool under all challenges. The 2-core Fluidyne aluminum radiator is fed by a Summitt Racing high volume water pump, assisted when necessary by a billet overflow tank. An upgraded 3G alternator and BBK shorty headers were also added, along with a catted H-pipe, MAC Flowpath exhaust system and chromed Mustang LX tailpipes. That particular recipe delivers an estimated 380 RWHP. Before the heads, rockers and AFM Powerpipe were added, the Sonic Cherry had spun the dyno rollers.

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Young Mr. Stinson is a practical fellow, though. Equal attention has been paid to other portions of the car, and to excellent effect. The chassis sports a set of the now-classic 2001 Bullitt brake calipers with 13-inch cross-drilled and slotted rotors at the sharp end. The stern is kitted out with a set of 1995 GT brakes, both ends being fed from a 1995 GT master cylinder and balanced with a Wilwood adjustable proportioning valve. A set of MAC progressive rate springs, coupled to Bilstein HD struts and shocks, bring this cherry a little closer to earth and make sure that it stays that way. A set of custom, full-length subframe connectors, Steeda Autosports steering rack bushings and a set of Maximum Motorsports all work to ensure that this pony goes where it is pointed. Helping to ensure that this happens are a pair of Yokohama AVS 235/45R17 skins out front, with Goodyear Eagle 245/45R17 in the rear. The chromed 1999 Cobra 17-inch rims provide a visual exclamation point at all four corners of the Sonic Cherry.

When it comes to office furniture, none is outfitted as nicely as this particular mobile workstation. A pair of Cerullo XR seats, featuring custom stitching, look after the comfort of the primary occupants. When it comes to information technology, Autometer is the prime provider for this Pony. Phantom series water temperature and voltage gauges are featured in the A-pillar, while Ultralite vacuum/boost and air/fuel ratio displays do the honors at dash level. The custom dash pod was provided by Speed of Sound, LLC. Mach I billet pedals, an MGW shift knob and custom door panels round out the interior decorating. When it comes to tunes, theyare ably handled by a Pioneer EE8 head unit with satellite capability, feeding into a Kenwood Excelon 600 watt amplifier. Final delivery is courtesy of a Rockford Fosgate 12-inch HE-2 sub in the trunk, Infinity Reference speakers in the doors and JBL tweeters in the dash. Other high end bits, such as Stinger Platinum terminals and a Directed Audio 1 farad capacitor, support Dave's high quality approach.

Along the way, Dave has had plenty of help, in part because that's what the Mustang community does. One of the resources he mentioned was Dave Gagnon, whom he calls 'The Walking Mustang Encylopedia,' crediting him for his "never-ending knowledge on everything that possibly came up in my build of the car." Another mention goes to Joe Pelletier, "for teaching me to weld and paint for my engine bay project." What engine bay project, you ask? Well, look a little more closely at our photos. Perhaps you are transfixed by the polished underhood components, all of which became so at the hands of the Cherry's owner. Look behind the glitter and notice what you don't see - wiring, for example, as well as the myriad holes once used by Dearborn Assembly Plant workers to assemble and align the body of this Mustang.

A couple of winters ago, Dave removed the engine and cleaned out 12 years of accumulated grime. He then set about smoothing dings and dips, as well as filling holes, so that under the hood would look just as lovely as above the hood. When spring arrived, he was ready to paint and then put the motor back in place. We'd say that he did a fine job. It is also the part of the car that Dave is proudest of. He loves "...popping the hood at shows or the gas station when someone comes up and ogles it. They think it's just a hot looking 'Stang on the outside and that's all, like many others, but they really are in for a surprise when they see what it's all about."

All this hard work has consistently been recognized by others. The Sonic Cherry has brought home multiple Best in Class and Best Mustang awards, from its appearances at the Maple Grove NMRA event and several Fun Ford Weekend events. More than a dozen other trophies from local clubs and events line the shelves of Dave Stinson's residence. Being recognized by your peers is gratifying, but there's plenty more planned for the future of this Pony. Already in the works is an original 1993 Cobra intake manifold that has been treated to the extrude honing process, as well as a trip to the chrome plating spa. An upgrade to a new S-trim Vortech unit is also going to enable between 12 and 14 pounds of boost for the Sonic Cherry. There likely is an SN95 electric fan coming shortly, and a built automatic transmission by Lentech or Art Carr is actively being considered.

Of course, future plans aren't just for this Pony. Dave has a pretty good grip on the reins of his future and told us - "Next up is to get into school for Computer Information Technology, buy a house and some more Mustangs! At this time I'm planning either a sleeper Notchback with an '03 Cobra drivetrain or a '67 fastback to be restomodded." It sounds to us like there's a bunch of cherries in Dave's future!

1992:The Rarest Of The Plentiful
It often seems that the Fox Mustang generation was among the most prolific over the last four decades. Certainly, when you go to a car show, Mustangs built between 1987 and 1993 are hugely popular. In its 12-year production run, around 1,750,000 of these Ponies were sent out into the world. From that generation, not even 500,000 were GT models. In 1992, just over 20,000 GTs were built, but the actual number of convertibles isn't well documented. Typically, convertibles represent about one-third of total Mustang production, so we could hazard a guess that Dave Stinson's Sonic Cherry might be one of about 6,500 cars originally produced. Of course, no Fox-bodied convertibles were built until 1983 and volume production didn't start until the next year.

In recent years, convertibles have enjoyed a resurgence. Mustang claimed the title of Convertible Sales Leader last year when sales of 44,065 drop top Ponies were reported by Ford. This represented an increase of over 11,000 from the prior model year.

Specifications
Dave Stinson's 1992 Mustang GT convertible

Engine
Ford 5.0 liter V8

Engine Modifications
Vortech A-trim Supercharger with 2.95" pulley; AFM 4" Powerpipe; SCT 90mm MAF, Custom chip and tune; Edelbrock Performer cylinder heads; FMS 1.6 Roller rocker arms, 9mm Ignition wires, 42 lb/hr Fuel injectors; Typhoon Intake; Accufab 70mm throttle body; 3G Alternator; Crane Fireball igntion coil; Kirban Adjustable fuel pressure regulator; Walbro 255 lph fuel pump; Fluidyne 2-core aluminum radiator; Summit high flow water pump; Billet overflow tank; BBK shorty headers, catted H-pipe; MAC Flowpath catback exhaust, Chromed LX tailpipes

Driveline
1995 Cobra Rear Axles; FMS 3.73 Gears

Chassis
Ford 2001 Bullitt brake calipers, 13" Rotors, 1995 GT spindles/hubs, 1995 GT rear disc conversion, 1995 GT Master Cylinder; Cross-drilled, slotted, zinc-washed rotors; Wilwood adjustable proportioning valve; FMS braided stainless steel brake lines

Interior/Exterior
Dave Stinson's 1992 Mustang GT convertible

Exterior
Cervini's Stalker front bumper cover, Stormin' Norman 2.5" hood, Cobra rear bumper; Vibrant Red Paint; Design Concepts Cobra wing; Custom fiberglass cowl; Diamond clear headlight set; 1993 Cobra tail lights

Interior
Cerullo XR seats with custom stitching; BBK White face gauges; Autometer Phantom gauges in the A-pillar, Ultra-Lite gauges in the dash; Custom dash gauge pod from Speed of Sound, LLC; Ford Mach 1 billet pedal kit; MGW billet "GT" shift knob; Custom door panels; Custom Sub/Amp enclosures in trunk; Kenwood Excelon 600w amp; Rockford Fosgate 12" HE-2 sub in trunk; Pioneer head unit; JBL tweeters in dash; Infinity Reference speakers in doors; Stinger Platinum terminals; Directed Audio 1-farad capacitor

Suspension
Bilstein HD struts & shock absorbers; MAC Progressive Rate Springs (1.5" drop); Custom full-length subframe connectors; Steeda steering rack bushings; Maximum Motorsports caster/camber plates

Wheels And Tires
1999 SVT Cobra 17.8" chrome wheels, with Yokohama AVS 235/45R17 in front, Goodyear Eagle 245/45R17 tires in the rear

Numbers
300 RWHP, 330 RWTQ before addition of the heads, rocker arms and Powerpipe.Current estimate is 380-400 RWHP