Don Roy
September 1, 2007
Photos By: Tracy Stocker

Do you remember the Ford advertisement from a year or two ago? It showed a photo of a 2005 Mustang and was captioned: "For the last 40 years, every kid in America has wanted the same pony." Matt Chronister was certainly one of those kids, because he has wanted a Mustang of his own since his tender years. Once he turned 16, it wasn't long until the title for a Mustang had his name on it.

"I come from a Ford family and a Mustang is the car to have in my eyes. When I turned 16, I found an affordable 1994 V6 and when I found that I could actually own the car, the fact of it being a V6 didn't seem to matter," Matt told us. Indeed, many people take their first steps into the Mustang world on six cylinders, rather than eight. The benefits are strong, particularly if you use that car on a daily basis. Reduced insurance rates and better gas consumption are among the main reasons why a V6-powered Mustang is a reasonable choice ... until the power bug bites you in the ... never mind. You know what I mean.

Of course, we know now that 3.8-liter engines of that vintage suffered from head gasket challenges and this owner, unfortunately, found out about that particular malady the hard way. "Not until three head gaskets and a used motor later did that really become a problem for me." In fact, on his way home from having the used motor installed, Matt spotted his next Mustang. It was sitting in a used car dealer's lot and gleaming in the Pennsylvania sun like a black diamond. "Soon, I was rid of my problem-prone V6 and driving my dream car - the '95 GT that I currently and will always own."

Completely Different
Now, regardless of how bad-ass you think they look, black Mustangs are pretty much a dime a dozen and Matt knew this. "From Day One, it's been a goal of mine to have a different car than everyone else. Having a Mustang doesn't always make that easy, but it is an ever-changing project." On the outside, he started with a 2000 Cobra R front end, fitting the Cobra bumper cover with the R's unique splitter. Saleen side skirts and rear fascia were added as well, then a 3.5-inch cowl hood from ABC Exclusive and their Y2K Cobra R functional rear wing completed the body modifications. After the new components were painted to show level, Matt installed the silver vinyl stripes that add a lot of distinction to the GT. A set of DropZone sport springs lowered the car to where he wanted it, while the black Pacer 20-inch rims and some window tint completed the exterior renovations.

Although Matt had big future plans for power adders, his short term need for speed was going to have to settle for a nitrous oxide installation. A Nitrous Works wet system filled the bill, using a 15-pound bottle and a 150-175 hp shot. The nitrous controller is managed both by the driver, using an arming switch and a wide open throttle switch, as well as through a window switch that is built in to the Mallory HiFire 6 ignition controller. All of these components work together to provide a safe and competent nitrous system. Having added this capability led to a new upgrade opportunity, though perhaps not in the way Matt had envisioned.

Two years ago, he took the car to a dyno shop so that they could do a run with the NOS working. As he told us, "Going into third that day resulted in a loud bang and the loss of all transmission functions. The splines on the counter shaft, as well as third gear, had been stripped." Like any good Mustang owner, he saw this development as an opportunity to upgrade, rather than a mechanical disaster. A plan began to form in his mind and, so, the gearbox was replaced with a modern T-56, six-speed transmission. Challenges emerged with the T-56 installation, for example, having to fabricate his own transmission mounts to the new box, but in the end, they were all overcome.