September 1, 2007

When the 2005 Mustang came out, there see-med to be a renewed interest by the mass media in all things Ford and Pony related. As far as the Mustang went, tons of print both physical and virtual was fostered on the new steed, how it combined the past with today's technological whiz-bang gadgetry. Amidst all the fanfare however, one could not help but wonder if the mainstream had decided to ignore just about every Mustang built between 1970 and 2005. Posters, advertisements and editorials hinted at it and some went as far to state that a lot of Mustangs built between these years were little more than afterthoughts. Clearly however, this was not the opinion taken by many die-hard Pony fans, including people like Francisco Martinez.

Growing up in Mexico, Francisco's family didn't even have a car, but being an impressionable young lad, the sights and sounds of automobiles would forever leave their mark. "I remember, even when I was about 10-12 years old, the American muscle cars that used to be brought across the border - Corvettes, Trans Ams, they were cool, but I always remember the Mustang." Francisco ultimately fell in love with the 1987-93 Fox 5-liter cars (man after my own heart -Ed) and swore that one day, he'd own one. Some years later, Francisco moved North to the United States and settled in the Detroit area. Although it was a bit of an adjustment in both culture and climate, Franciso forged his own path, ending up running a successful finishing business. When you're self-employed, the road isn't always and easy one to travel, but Martinez decided he wanted a toy and started putting money aside to get one. "My uncle, Salvador, is a big car guy. He was always buying and selling fast cars, so I guess you could say he encouraged me to go do it."

In 2001, after toiling and saving, Franciso took the plunge. "This [1990 Mustang GT] convertible came my way and it was a deal I just couldn't pass up." After waiting for so long to own one of these cars, the day Martinez picked it up was, understandably a very significant one for him. "It was a great moment. It was fast and it had some power. I'd owned a 1998 [Pontiac] Grand Am and then a supercharged GTP, but they didn't compare to the Mustang." Glad to have the car, Francisco kept it stock and drove it during the warmer months, making the most of any opportunity to cruise with the top down. A few years down the line and his uncle bought a 2003 Mustang GT which he started playing with, something that didn't go ignored by Francisco. "My uncle got this car. He was the one who educated me about exhaust upgrades, power pipes and superchargers - he got me hooked. I knew that was what I wanted to do to my car, so I started saving for some performance modifications."

His uncle hooked Martinez up with Dave Nelson of Nelson's Performance. "He's a great guy. I met up with him and I told him what I wanted to do with my car. I wanted to supercharge it. He gave a list, but also suggested suspension, brake and chassis upgrades to go with the increase in power I was looking for."