August 17, 2010

Blake Hartman’s DCF500gt Mustang
Among the themes reported by people under study by dream scientists, flying is one of the more common topics. Actually, Blake Hartman was flying when he saw a magazine ad for restyled Mustangs from a place called The Dream Car Factory. Shortly after landing, Blake called the company on the phone and got some questions answered. He also booked an appointment to visit DCF in Streetsboro, OH, which is about 20 miles northeast of Akron. DCF, which is tied into Kepich Ford in Garrettsville, used to do restoration work before expanding in to the burgeoning field of building modified Mustangs.

Three cars were in process of being built at the time Blake arrived and he was able to drive a demo model to experience the results. Blake pretty much knew what he wanted when he got there and some of that was influenced by the 1971 Mach I he'd had during high school. Since each car is custom built for the owner, he was able to switch wheels, as well as specify interior and performance options. When it came to picking an exterior color, luck would have it that a car already sitting on the lot came resplendent in his choice - Vista Blue.

He had previously been set to pick up a 1968 or 1969 Shelby, but was swayed to the DCF product once he saw it. For about the same cost as a better-than-average 1968 4-speed, 428 cid, G.T.500 fastback, he took delivery of a more powerful car, with all modern conveniences, full warranty, unique styling and his own personal adaptations. So, what held him back from closing the deal? Absolutely nothing.

Nothing Subtle Here
If you see this car coming at you in the rear view mirror, there's going to be little doubt that this is a Mustang of breeding. The aggressive front fascia allows plenty of air flow to the car's intercooler, while the signature fiberglass hood evokes memories of famous classic Mustangs. The dual fresh air inlets and heat extractor vents in the hood were opened at Blake's request. Underneath that hood, you'll find a massaged version of the 3-valve Ford V8. This one sports a Procharger P-1SC that pumps the crankshaft output to 518 horsepower and 503 ft-lbs of torque, running on 93 octane go juice. Inside the polished housing, you'll find that the centrifugal blower is gear driven and self lubricated. An internal oil pump, actually designed to create an oil mist, is used to lubricate the high speed internal bearings and gears.

The Procharger folks supply an extremely high quality synthetic oil which is specifically engineered for the conditions inside their product and only needs changing every 6,000 miles to maintain peak performance. This combination of design differences means that the compressor runs cooler and suffers less parasitic loss, resulting in higher operating efficiency. That means that the benefit of an intercooler can be more fully realized and that heat exchanger is fed by 3-inch piping to support the air flow. Blake was impressed with the level of customer service he experienced after the car was delivered. Since it was the eighth DCF500GT built, there was still some improvement in tuning going on. "They ended up sending me a reader/programming unit to install the newest settings. As with any new product, there are items that need to be addressed. DCF has been very responsive to all of my questions and requests."

That responsiveness extends back to the original buying process. Blake hadn't cared for the original wheels and asked that the Diablo Lionhart wheels you see here be found and installed. Done. Wrapped in 275/30-20 Nitto 555 tires, these 20- by 8.5-inch Lionharts provide a signature 5-spoke design that is updated to modern standards and feature a beyond-show grade chrome finishing. Anticipating future sporting activities, Blake had the Big Brake option installed as well. This consists of a set of 14-inch brake disks and 6-piston calipers that replace the original hardware up front. Back brakes remain the same, as they provide more than enough capability for the car. Obviously designed with superior handling in mind, this dream car is built with Tokico shock absorbers and struts, Eibach Sport springs and sway bars.

Birmingham Adventures
In September last year, Blake and his wife headed south for the Mustang Club of America's 30th Anniversary celebration. There, at Barber Motorsports Speedway, both became more than a little enchanted with hot lapping. Blake has since done another open lapping session at Putnam Park, west of Indianapolis, and intends to do a lot more this year.

Now, it's a bit of a drive from Blake's home in Indiana to Brimingham and back, so we're sure he was pleased with some of the other options he loaded into the car. Among them were custom leather upholstery for the Mustang's seats, along with a very retro walnut rimmed steering wheel that still accommodates the driver's air bag. Custom Dream Car Factory door panels also help create a new atmosphere inside the car. To keep in touch with the inner workings of the Pony, the builders installed Auto Meter's boost pressure, air/fuel ratio and oil pressure gauges.

Departing from the normal complement of audio equipment, Blake specified his preferred list on in-car entertainment facilities. That list included a Kenwood Excelon DDX8017 dual DIN display sceen with DVD player, an Alpine MRV-F545 4-channel amplifier, MRO-M1005 mono amp and Alpine R10 subwoofer. Doubtless, that combination was more than sufficient to keep the tunes pumping all the way to Alabama and back. It may be that Blake has a different track visit in mind for some time in the future. He told us that another non-standard addition to his car was a line lock. You sure won't find a good time or place to put that to use when you're hot lapping!

Presentation Skills
These days, it's pretty easy to dress up a modern Mustang and sell it off as a special edition. Some are accomplished by skillfully mixing and matching components from several vendors and some just use a common body kit, perhaps preferring to invest their uniqueness in other portions of the vehicle. For the folks at Dream Car Factory, developing their specific "look" came from designing and producing their own fiberglass body parts. These include the hood, front and rear bumper covers, C-pillar scoops, side scoops and rear ducktail spoiler.

As a result, much of the car gets refinished during the build process and more so when you consider that the LeMans-style stripes on this car are painted on. Additional identification graphics are added in the form of rocker panel stripes and windshield banner, to ensure that you'll never say to yourself, "Gee, was that a ?"

So, how does it get any better? You've got big power. You've got handling and braking performance to match the best out there. You've got audio entertainment quality to match the Grand Ole Opry. The final test has to be to pinch yourself and just make sure this Dream Car doesn't disappear.

Interior / Exterior
Blake Hartman's DCF500GT Mustang

Chassis
Wilwood 14" brake rotors, 6-piston calipers; Hurst Line Lock with control on shift knob

Exterior
Dream Car Factory 500GT body kit, including hood with functional heat extractors, front fascia, side and quarter window scoops, rear wing, custom painted LeMans stripes

Interior
DCF leather seat covering, modified door panels; Auto Meter gauges, including boost pressure, oil pressure, air/fuel ratio, walnut steering wheel with air bag; Kenwood Excelon DDX8017 head unit with DVD and Dolby support; Alpine MRV-545 4-channel amp, MRO-M1005 mono amp, R10 base speaker

Suspension
Eibach springs, rear sway bar; Tokico gas presurized shock absorbers and struts;

Wheels And Tires
Diablo Lionhart 20 x 8.5" wheels; 275/30-20 Nitto NT555 tires all around

Specifications
Blake Hartman’s DCF500GT Mustang Engine Ford 4.6-liter, 3-valve V8

Engine Modifications
ATI Procharger P-1SC supercharger, blow-off valve; DCF 3" intercooler piping

Driveline
Hurst short throw shifter

Numbers
518 flywheel HP on 93-octane, 503 ft-lbs flywheel torque